Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Why Kids Need Nature & Camp

Pendalouan Day Campers showing the frogs they found during an activity called Pond Study

Time and time again, research has shown the numerous health and social benefits of spending time in the outdoors. However, in the fast-paced urbanized world most of us live in, today's youth are missing out on those many benefits. Instead of playing tag outdoors, they are spending hours in front of television, computer and cell phone screens. 

There are several ways to get kids engaging with the natural world around them - camping trips, time at local parks and beaches, family field trips to state parks and nature centers, just to name a few.

But, here at Pendalouan, our specialty is Camp! And while all those other ideas are great, we think that having kids spend a whole week (or more!) in the outdoors at camp provides them with benefits that other experiences can't offer. Luckily, camp has been effectively connecting kids to the nature and the outdoors since camping first started in the mid-1800s! In fact, it's part of what makes camp Camp.

See below to read about the main ways Pendalouan gets kids engaging with the natural world around them.


We think our beautiful waterfront is one of the aspects of Pendalouan that makes us unique.
1. During our Summer Camps at Pendalouan, kids are only indoors for a few hours of each day (not including sleeping). Those hours are for meals, rest hour, and if an activity calls for being inside.

2.Surrounded by Manistee National Forest and the Owasippe Scout Reservation, Camp Pendalouan is a beautiful setting that includes uninterrupted forest shoreline, dirt roads and paths, and natural forest ecosystems to explore, learn and play in.

3. Several of our activities are nature-based! Hikes to Sleepy Hollow, Nature Class, Pond Study, Swim Lessons, Fire Building Class, Lake Swim, Survival Lessons, our Horse Program, and more!

4. We encourage curiosity. Here at Pendalouan, we don't just allow for kids to play in and explore mother nature, we encourage it! Whether it is working with campers to investigate the pond ecosystem during Cabin Time or playing a game about camouflage during our Nature Activity, our counselors know how to create teachable moments and take advantage of a child's curiosity about nature.

At Camp Pendalouan, kids don't just live in the outdoors, they experience it.

Looking for More Information on Child Development, Nature & The Outdoors?
Check out these links that we recently read and enjoyed:

Psychology Today - The Need for "Wild" Play: Let Children Be The Animals They Need to Be

Richard Louv: Want Your Kids To Get Into Harvard? Tell 'em To Go Outside!

Study Finds Access to Nature Improves Health

Summer Camp: An Antidote to Nature Deficit Disorder

Outdoor Education and Play Benefit All Children

YMCA Camp Pendalouan is a fully accredited resident and day camp. While at Pendalouan, kids and teens make friends, create life long memories, and learn new skills all the while having fun in a safe environment. At Pendalouan, you are a part of a family and campers are lead by highly qualified and trained staff.  If you would like to learn more about Camp Pendalouan, check out our website, the Camp Blog and our Facebook page.

1 comment:

Dom Paschal said...

Read up on Nature Deficit Disorder. Who needs medications when all you need is a good dose of the outdoors and some imagination.

Here is a short Wikipedia article, but its also a book!