From the development of social and daily living skills to simply experiencing opportunities to have fun and make new friends, our programs are designed to maximize each camper's potential. For children who are not thriving in a traditional school setting, there is nothing like the relief of summer programming and school-year adventures. Summer Matters is active learning at its best. Participants find themselves in a non-traditional, warm learning environment that is inclusive, encouraging, enriching and supportive.
The simple experience of making s’mores around a campfire, for example, teaches cooperation, collaboration, sequencing, motor planning, how to handle sensory issues, turn-taking, storytelling and singing. For children who struggle with social skills, sitting around a fire as part of a group is a non-threatening social environment that lends itself to making connections with peers.
If every day were a camp day, children would gain independence. At camp, children become more responsible for themselves and gradually become more capable of taking care of daily-living skills like showering, remembering what they need to bring with them and keeping track of their possessions.
Children also gain social skills and a sense of social connectedness. A recently-published longitudinal study found that “adolescent social connectedness” matters more than grades and academic achievement when it comes to predicting happiness in adulthood. We have seen kids whose demeanor changes dramatically during the camp session. Camp helped them to become more confident, more grown up, more connected to their community and more invested in their own education. That feeling of being capable and self-worth stayed with them after the summer was over.
We see that kind of growth frequently. We hear over and over again from parents that when their child returns from one of our programs, they are more able to take care of their possessions, organize themselves, try new things and fulfill their responsibilities at home and school. Our children deserve to be happy and to live, learn and grow in a compassionate and supportive environment.