Camp teaches kids vital lessons. . . and we do it really well at the Work-Family Connection day camps in Chatham and Clinton, New Jersey. So well, in fact, that the kids have no idea they are learning! Camp is a kid-tested and parent-approved program with a curriculum that delivers daily lessons in flexibility, diversity, problem-solving, collaboration, communication (the kind that doesn’t happen through a device), flexible thinking, and so much more. We build a community where kids can be confident that they belong, be respected, and be among friends.
“I have spent many years running summer day camps and have seen so many kids grow so much throughout the summer. One story that still sticks in my head is when after running a teen camp one summer, in which the children were exposed to new adventures and experiences. We were able to have them see the world from a different angle.
We had one child attend a board meeting in which they shared how, because of camp, they now understand what it means not to have the resource to survive. His parents not getting him the latest Gameboy is not a real problem (compared to what problems many people in our world face every day). This camper and many others shared how the summer they spent in camp changed their lives.
I, on occasion, run into old campers, some that I had 10+ years ago, and they can’t wait to talk about the old memories we created and how camp has changed their lives for the better.”
— John Kane, Former camp director and Project Manager for Work-Family Connection
Camp prompts a sense of community among those lucky enough to participate in the traditional camp experience. Camp is the kind of community that is not defined solely by proximity with one another but rather by genuine connection, shared interests and experiences, a shared sense of purpose, and respect among its members.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the sense of community and genuine connection that our kids have been able to derive from things like school, religious organizations, and sports teams has been dramatically diminished in recent months, if not altogether eliminated due to COVID-19. This has left a significant gap in an area fundamental to our kids’ sense of social-emotional health and overall wellbeing. Schools, religious organizations, and sports teams all build a sense of community and connection as a secondary goal behind learning, skill-building, etc.
At the Work-Family Connection day camps or any day camp, a sense of community and connection is our primary goal.
The other learning and social-emotional outcomes of camp can then follow organically and seamlessly (or at least that’s how it feels to campers).
I want you to think about that feeling in your stomach when you walk into a meeting, social gathering, or any other situation where you just knew you didn’t belong. Like most people, including myself, this feeling did not make you want to try something new, openly share something personal, or engage in just about anything that would resemble a pro-social behavior. A sense of belonging is a basic human need and vital importance during our kids’ developmental years.
When this opportunity for a sense of belonging happens at our camps, your child is more likely to:
- Have the confidence to try new things
- Display resilience in the face of adversity
- Be comfortable being themselves and demonstrate respect for others doing the same
- Show empathy toward their peers
- Act selflessly to support the goals and needs of the group
For children, a sense of belonging is even more critical during periods of transition (e.g., beginning to emerge from a pandemic-driven quarantine) or if they identify with a group that they feel is unfairly or underrepresented. Ensuring that our campers feel a sense of belonging is foundational to the WFC day camp experience. Our staff model, coach, and reinforce behaviors that support inclusivity, kindness to others, respect for our differences, and empathy.
At camp, not only will your child be made to feel like they belong, but they will be given the tools and opportunity to practice the skills necessary to make others feel the same.
The choice of whether to send your child to camp is more personal than ever. The deciding factors for the summer of 2021 extend beyond finances, schedules, camp programs, and where friends are going. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to reach out to the WFC main office and speak to someone regarding all your summer camp questions.
Our camp is warm and welcoming, and the WFC staff are always free to answer your questions!
Hope to see your child at camp this summer!!! Click Here to register!