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Camp Is My Summer Home

By: Beth Segal, JCC Camps at Medford Director

Many years ago, when my children were just 4 and 6 years old, the brother of a friend of mine was looking to hire an aquatics director for his summer camp. I applied and got the job, so I was off to camp with my children for the first time in my life. I wanted to give my children the opportunity to be a camper – an experience I never got to have as a child.

In the first few days, I witnessed my kids having the time of their life. They come home at the end of the day tired and sweaty from the day of activities but so eager and excited to head back to camp  the next morning. My motto has always been: that’s the sign of a good day!

As that first week of camp went on, I noticed my children didn’t want me to walk them to their bunks…off they went without me. In such a short amount of time, their sense of independence had grown so much.  By the end of the summer, not only did I see more change in my children, but there was a change in me. I became an ambassador of summer camp for children because among the fun they were having each and every day, so many of the things I wanted for my boys were instilled in them – all in just 39 days. I spent thirteen years at that camp, and now I am so happy to be back in the world of camping as the Director at JCC Camps at Medford.

Through my years of being a part of summer camp, I’ve come up with my top reasons to send a child to summer camp:

Play. Children spend a lot of time inside and mostly sitting down, and often on an electronic device or in front of the TV. When they unplug at camp, children see how much there is to do. They engage in the real world with real people. Kids feel free outside, moving, running, climbing, swimming and exploring, and that’s what they do at the JCC Camps at Medford every single day.

Build self-confidence. Campers will build self-confidence and self-esteem with diverse activities and opportunities to succeed. Campers will have an accomplishment every day whether it’s trying a new sport or completing an art project.

Develop grit. We have been hearing a lot these days how grit is what determines successful people. Kids receive so much encouragement at camp which in turn creates a great environment to endure setbacks, try and try again for success. Kids learn to persevere and good things happen. Try new things, and see that improvement comes when you give something another try is so valuable.

Discover. Campers can discover what they really like. Camp provides the right instruction, opportunities and equipment for kids to enhance their sports abilities, artistic talents, and adventure skills. The variety of activities offered at camp make it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to do.

Grow to be more independent. Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves in the safe, caring environment of camp.  Kids develop independence and a sense of inner strength.

Learn social skills.  Camp is a close-knit community where everyone is encouraged to cooperate and respect each other. Campers meet new friends, learn about differences, resolve conflict and develop better social skills.

Connect with nature. The great outdoors helps kids see the beauty around them and appreciate the world in a wholesome way.

Make true friends. All the fun at camp draws everyone together— singing, laughing, talking, and playing together all day. Every day, camp creates friendships.

I am so proud of the JCC Camps at Medford. As I watch our campers flourish under the leadership of our amazing staff, I see so many changes in the campers as the week’s progress. We provide the perfect environment for growth. I invite parents to come out to camp for a tour and talk to our super staff about the benefits of a summer camp experience. Join us this Sunday, March 19 at our Open House from 11am-2pm. We hope to see you this summer!

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