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Camp Defines and Develops Character

Building tomorrow's leaders

May 2012

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines character as one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. Many families want to ensure that their children are developing a strong character — including aspects like honesty, integrity, and empathy for the world around them. So where can families turn to help provide the right environment for character development? Families can go to Camp.

For over a century, millions of families have been benefiting from the positive, supportive environment provided by the camp experience. At camp, children and youth feel safe and nurtured, allowing them to take healthy risks and develop character organically. Supporting mentors model positive character traits and lead by example. And camp is filled with teachable moments — it is a place where a disagreement about the rules of a field game actually becomes a lesson on integrity, honesty, and fair play.

"Camp is a unique educational environment," said Peg Smith, chief executive officer for the American Camp Association (ACA). "Developmental growth significantly contributes to a young person's ability to develop 21st century skills. Skills such as character building are inherent in the camp environment. More importantly, research tells us this growth lasts well beyond the camp experience and becomes a lifelong attribute."

Camp builds character and is critical to a child's development. For millions of families, camp has long been the answer to the character development question. For families who are new to the camp experience, or interested in learning more about camp and character development, ACA offers an online resource with helpful hints, expert advice, and information on child and youth development at www.CampParents.org.

Camp is more than fun — the experience develops character and builds the leaders of tomorrow. Camp — it's good for life.

About ACA

The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,600 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.

Tags: Camp, Enrichment, In This Issue, Parenting

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