Remember when summer was so simple? We’d wake up, Dad would already be at work, Mom would be home, and we would spend our days outside—in the streets, backyards, parks and pools. In today’s world, our kids have so much more to distract them—hundreds of TV channels, limitless Internet, iPads, XBox Live, and, of course, central air.
Yet these wonderful technological advances create a void of life skills that come from the old-time basics. Instead of learning life exploring outside, kids are learning life through multiple screens. Instead of scraping their knees and learning life lessons, technology indirectly shelters them from reality. One way to give our kids the childhood experiences and life skills that we learned is to experience Liberty Lake.
So put on your shorts, pack your bathing suit, lather on the sunscreen, and leave the electronics home. Liberty Lake is a step back in time to a simpler time when if it rained, we got a little wet. And we learned how to socialize and make friends, because our relationships weren’t based on texting, “liking” photos, and accumulating Facebook “friends.” At Liberty Lake, young people learn how to actually talk to one another, relate to older and younger people, and learn the life skills that colleges and employers are looking for in the 21st century.
What are 21st-century skills, you may ask? They are not computer programming and technology skills, nor the “3 R’s,” which most schools’ standardized tests are based on. They are the skills and competencies required to work with people, so that issues can be resolved quickly, and tasks can be tackled and conquered efficiently. Check out P21.org and see how the top corporations and education organizations have come together to identify the essential skills relevant in today’s world. Meanwhile, there is a place where more than 1,000 kids continue to gain these skills every summer—Liberty Lake.
So while most schools still focus on reading, writing and arithmetic—Liberty Lake is working on what the P21 organization calls “the 4 C’s”—critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity. These are social and behavioral skills such as work ethic, communication, teamwork, collaboration, and the No. 1 deficiency amongst young people: leadership.
Camp is more relevant and important than ever before. According to the CDC, 17 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are considered obese. The Kaiser Foundation found that children ages 8 to 18 spend approximately 4.5 hours watching TV, 1.5 hours on the computer, and more than an hour playing video games. As they turn into tweens and teens, they send an average of 60 text messages per day, and spend an inordinate amount of time updating their social media profiles. Young people may feel that they are super-connected, but they are actually less connected than ever—they have less close friendships, they have less “face-to-face” social skills, and they are less capable of coping with the challenges of life.
Meanwhile, the American Camp Association conducted a study with more than 7,600 campers from more than 80 camps to gauge the outcomes of their summer camp experiences. Parents, staff and children all reported significant growth in self-esteem, peer relationships, independence, adventure and exploration, leadership, environmental awareness, friendship skills, values, decision-making, social comfort and spirituality. These are life skills which transform children into successful adults and contributors to society who are inspired to one day change the world.
Summer Camp at Liberty Lake is a transformative experience, where children find their passions for life, make lasting friendships, and feel that their potential is limitless. At Liberty Lake, the “curriculum” is life, and they enrich hundreds and hundreds of them each summer, for ages 4 to 15, without cell phones or electronics. With a customized elective program of more than 60 weekly activities, Liberty Lake creates the optimal environment for children to grow and enjoy their summers. Check out the website, and come by for a visit to see what it’s all about.
Liberty Lake Day Camp
1195 Florence Columbus Road
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 10 (December, 2012).
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