Long-held conventional wisdom suggests camp offers a powerful growth experience for young people and a connection to nature. As Charles Elliot, former president of Harvard University noted in 1922, “I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work.” A 2005 research study, led by Philliber Research Associates in collaboration with the American Camp Association, supports Elliot’s conviction, finding strong scientific evidence that camp is a positive force in youth development. The study proves that camp experiences benefit youth in the following ways:
- Youth become more confident and experience increased self-esteem.
- Youth develop more social skills, which helps them make new friends.
- Youth grow more independent and show more leadership qualities.
- Youth become more adventurous and willing to try new things.