Camp Kodiak has always been good at boosting up kids who felt let down by the social and academic challenges of school. These were the kids who didn’t get invited to birthday parties, who weren’t the class helper, and who didn’t bring home As. Many of our campers come to camp each summer feeling less capable, less popular, and less successful than they should because they have had a hard ten months at school. But by the end of the summer, they are bolstered by their successes and ready to take on whatever the next year may throw at them.
Schools in the fall of 2021 are messy and the number of kids who are struggling is soaring. The fact is, children and teens have spent too much time at home in front of screens, and many of them have forgotten how to be at school. They have missed out on practicing waiting, sharing, solving problems. These skills are rusty, and a lot of work needs to be done to hone them. Kids have not had to negotiate play, take turns, or consider a peer’s feelings for a long time, and virtual interactions do not adequately simulate the real thing.
This is not the kids’ fault. It’s not the parents’ fault. It’s not the schools’ fault. It is a by-product of a global pandemic that has turned the world quite upside down. And the education system is having a tough time adjusting.
Suddenly, almost all of our kids are feeling less capable, less popular, and less successful than they should.
You know that going to camp is not a replacement for a full school program, nor was it ever meant to be. But what camp can do—and always has done—really well is build kids up when school has been hard. Kids get 50 successes for every mistake. They become part of a community and are immersed in real-time relevant social skills lessons. They can catch up on schoolwork without report cards or high-stakes tests. They learn new skills and gain independence and self-esteem.
And they get ready to go face school again next year, armed with the confidence and skills to succeed.