As a result of COVID-19, most kids lost an entire year of social interaction and organized activities. Remote learning deprived kids of the chance to be around friends and peers at school. Cancelled sports left kids without a structured way to practice their sport—and get active with fellow players.
In 2020, 88% of parents saw COVID-19 as a major reason not to send their children to summer camp. Now, after a year spent being largely indoors and inactive, kids (and their parents) are experiencing harmful impacts to their physical, mental, and even emotional health.
As vaccines continue to roll out and COVID-related restrictions are lifted, this summer is the perfect time to get active again. Here are some of the benefits of enrolling your child in a summer camp this year.
The biggest benefit to sending your child to a summer sports camp is the physical activity. The CDC suggests that kids ages 6 to 17 get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. Summer camps provide the perfect opportunity to get your child active in a fun and rewarding way.
Not only are summer camps a good form of exercise for your child right now, they also lead to healthier lifestyles in the long term. Summer camps allow kids to develop a healthy lifelong foundation for exercising and staying fit. Some camps even offer nutritional classes that teach kids about the right foods to maintain great physical health. By starting kids off on the right track with health, it’ll lead to more clean, active lifestyles through life.
During the pandemic, the amount of time people spent staring at an electronic screen increased significantly. In fact, screen time for children and teenagers more than doubled during the pandemic, which means collectively, kids spent more time in front of a TV, computer, tablet, or phone than ever before in history.
Even prior to the pandemic, surveys have shown that Americans only spend 8% of their time outdoors. That’s a low number, especially when considering the positive benefits being outdoors can have on overall wellbeing. Research shows that there’s a strong connection between being in nature—and relishing lower levels of stress and anxiety.
After a significant amount of time spent indoors as a result of quarantine, kids need to get into nature now more than ever. The outdoors is also the most COVID-safe method of conducting a summer camp, as the CDC continues to encourage outdoor socializing to slow the spread of COVID.
Just like time spent outdoors, exercising also improves mental health, lowering the risk of anxiety and depression. In a May 2020 survey, 56% of parents agreed that youth sports are important to the mental and emotional health of their child. After a long period in isolation, getting your kids back into sports really kickstarts that feeling of normalcy.
Playing sports also helps with overall mental development. Studies have also found that kids who play sports have better cognitive function and memory.
Adolescence is a critical time for kids to learn how to navigate different social situations. But COVID stopped the clock. 22% of parents reported that, as a result of the pandemic, they felt their children were behind where they should be in terms of socialization and communication. Not only were kids separated from their usual friends, they also missed the chance to make new friends.
After a year of not being able to interact with peers, it’s crucial to get your kids back out there. Consider doing so at summer sports camp.
Summer sports camps allow your kids to learn from people who are experts in their sport and know how to develop athletes at every level. Whether camp counselors and coaches are from the local high school or Division I sports programs, your child will learn from qualified and enthusiastic professionals.
Camp counselors can also serve as role models for impressionable, admiring kids—whether intentionally or inadvertently. You’re responsible for shaping them into who they’ll become, but some extra help from these camp instructors will just add more to your child’s confidence and overall personality.
When you play a sport, you learn what hard work and practice can do. Attending a summer sports camp is a great way to get kids inspired—and to show them that hard work leads to measurable improvement. There’s always a new skill to learn, or an old skill to improve on, and working towards a goal is a great way to teach your kids agency and responsibility.
Playing a sport also creates more structure in a child’s everyday life. This helps them with their time management skills and teaches them valuable lessons about balancing different priorities. In turn, this keeps kids more organized and more focused.
Playing a sport infuses confidence, even for supporting players. If a child plays a sport well, that builds confidence. If a child experiences a bad game, but feels the support of their peers, that builds confidence, too. Even surrounding kids with other like-minded kids can build confidence—and a sense of security, too.
Most importantly, summer sports camps allow kids to be kids: relaxed, having fun, and laughing.
Memories of carpools to and from camp with their best childhood friends will last forever. They’ll think of the Gatorades you packed for them each morning, or how good that post-camp PB&J tasted. The smell of the gymnasium or the field where they ran their first relay race will float back to them at challenging moments, and they’ll smile..and laugh.
As a final note, the CDC’s most recent guidelines (at the time of publication) advises summer camps to encourage outdoor activities, social distancing, and vaccines for all attendees and camp staff. At US Sports Camps, we adhere to these guidelines and follow local protocols, too. As the CDC continues to update these guidelines, so will we, creating the safest and most beneficial camp experience for your kids.
Interested in learning more about US Sports Camps? We offer camps in 24 different sports. Explore your options and learn more about our mission at ussportscamps.com.