Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient

We recently ran across an article by Michael Ungar, Ph.D., who is a family therapist, a researcher at Dalhousie University, and the author of “The WE Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids.”

Dr. Ungar says that summer camps are perfect places to help children optimize their psychosocial development and where they get the experiences they need to bolster their range of coping strategies. There are the simple challenges of learning to do new things, but there are also the more complex challenges of getting along with a new group of peers, learning how to ask for help from others, or taking manageable amount of risks without a parent following after you.

He goes on to point out seven things a camp should have to help children develop coping strategies:

  1. New relationships, not just with peers, but with trusted adults other than their parents.
  2. A powerful identity that makes the child feel confident in front of others
  3. Help children feel in control of their lives.
  4. Kids get what they need to develop physically.
  5. Make sure that all children are treated fairly.
  6. Camps offer kids a chance to feel like they belong.
  7. Camps can offer children a better sense of their culture.

Summer Salmon Day Camps at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery are by design small groups of children. Activities focus on the salmon life cycle and taking care of the environment so that salmon can thrive. Because the group is small (eight to twelve children) we are able to design activities to be flexible and focus on the interests of the specific group of campers in any given week. There is more opportunity to meet the needs of each individual child. And a small group allows children to get to know everyone, forge new friendships, and provides opportunity for campers to test out their interests and strengths.

In addition to interacting with a group of children their own age, campers also interact with Celina Steiger, the FISH Education Coordinator who is also our Camp Director, and with our adult summer staff counselor and teenage camp helpers who also work with the children throughout the week. Children learn how salmon are important to our cultural heritage here in the Northwest and have the opportunity to talk about their own history and culture. And children are active outdoors as they explore the hatchery and Issaquah Creek, play games and act out the salmon lifecycle.

To learn more about our Salmon Summer Camps: CLICK HERE and you’ll be redirected to the page to sign up.

To read more of the article by Dr. Ungar, CLICK HERE to be redirected to his website.