Those of us with camp experience will tell you that camp isn't only about sunshine and recreational fun. Camp is a unique venue to teach kids responsibility, cooperation, and how to exist in a mini society. Several studies show that over the summer, students can lose up to the equivalent of 2.6 months of what they've learned during the school year. By keeping kids' brains active and alert, camp offers the chance to stem summer learning loss. Oasis Summer Day Camp works hard to create a stimulating community of peers, because campers often learn more effectively from one another rather than from adults.
The learning experiences at camp are positive, which creates powerful opportunities for acquiring and retaining knowledge, says Stephen Fine, chair of educational research for the Ontario Camping Association. "Camp is a learning setting that is often motivational through the fun and camaraderie of peer and staff interaction, interesting settings and physically dynamic activities," Fine wrote in his thesis. "A camp setting is an ideal educational environment as it provides optimal challenges, right sources of stimulation and a context of autonomy."
As owners of Oasis Summer Day Camp we believe strongly in Fine’s assessment of the benefits of high quality camp experiences. Although the lessons learned at camp might not have everything to do with academics or school curriculum they are equally important. Acting in front of the camp during a costume contest, partaking in a choreographed routine during the folly presentation, volunteering during a special guest’s performance, or simply befriending a new camper are not such trivial activities. These moments contribute to kids gaining self-confidence in front of a group and maybe discovering something they might not have known about themselves. In Oasis Day Camp’s safe environment campers are set up to succeed when met with challenges. They learn they are able to do things on their own, without their parents holding their hands and they feel good about their accomplishments. This can be seen when a camper rushes to tell their mom about a first time off the high dive or how fun it is learning to milk a cow! By taking responsibility for themselves, their belongings, and to a certain degree each other their self-concept and self-esteem flourish. At Oasis we are helping build good citizens, teaching campers how to be successful leaders and allowing them to figure out their special talents in a supportive micro system where everyone is valued.