Category: Summer Adventure Camps

The youth of today is in dire need of a collective summer camp adventure. Why? Simple; in our interconnected and wired world, our children (and adults) are increasingly tethered to their digital devices, working tirelessly to maintain digital profiles. As social as these exercises seem, they are in fact becoming more of a way to isolate oneself and stunt social interactivity, rather than a tool to encourage it.

According to a summer camp research study done by Troy Glover at the University of Waterloo’s Healthy Communities Research Network in Canada, kids who attended a summer camp experienced significant growth and positive change in many key areas.  Glover said:

“Sending kids to camp allows children to grow and learn good citizenship, social integration, personal development and social development, exploring his or her capabilities and being in a safe environment where they can grow, gain independence and take risks.”

Overcoming Over-protection

In this age of 24-hour news, many parents are bombarded with stories about child endangerment in our communities, leading to a tendency to over-protect with a vigilance bordering on paranoia. The truth is, our communities are generally safe, and while parents should still take reasonable precautions, the dangers of over-protection are just now being realized. The unintended consequence of digital isolation may have a negative impact on early childhood development.

Self-Esteem Development

Summer adventure camp shifts the focus away from the individual, and teaches campers to be more selfless and become better team players. Learning team and individual goal setting, conflict resolution, and overcoming challenges lead to improved individual confidence and self-worth. Campers have expressed feelings of increased self-confidence, and a stronger sense of their own individuality.

We have all heard children proudly exclaim, “Look what I can do!” This proclamation of accomplishment comes from doing something they hadn’t done before, and gaining the confidence to do it again. Children and adults alike build self-esteem and confidence by challenging their fears and doubts, and winning.

The Value of Play

It has been reported that children spend four to six hours a day in front of TVs, computers, and cell phone screens. Children lack the time to play in natural settings. These activities (or rather, lack thereof) have led to increased childhood obesity, anxiety issues, and social inhibitions that manifest themselves silently.

Actually playing in an outdoors setting versus virtually playing is profoundly different. The exhilaration and sense of accomplishment experienced by reaching the top of a climbing wall can only be felt by actually climbing it. Flying along on a zip-line and feeling the rush of adrenaline cannot be duplicated in a virtual setting.

The Benefit of Leadership

The leadership skills that are learned in a summer camp adventure are irreplaceable. Many current leaders in government, education, and business point to summer camp as a pivotal and instructive point in their lives. Best-selling author Seth Godin wrote, “Camp does two things at once. It lets kids be kids, and it encourages them to solve interesting problems.”  Solving interesting problems in life is what separates the leaders from the followers in our society.

“Making” Friends (Not “adding” friends)

The popular social networking site Facebook encourages users to make friends, seek out others, and add to a growing list of personal contacts in a sort of popularity tally. The line between “acquaintance”(someone you have met, but do not know very well) and “friend” (someone you really know, care about, and can rely on) may have been forever blurred.  There is a huge difference between “adding” friends and “making” friends.

A summer camp adventure allows campers to forge real, long-lasting friendships and contribute to more meaningful relationships that support, nurture, and add diversity of opinion to the social development of children.

Consider a summer camp adventure for your own child or a youth that you know could benefit from the experience. Extraordinary changes and lifelong lessons are the two results most often recounted by summer camp veterans. The benefits of a summer camp adventure are immeasurable!

Summer adventure camps can be socially rewarding experiences, as well as educational and exciting. By setting goals and working together with teams, campers learn how to trust each other and work together to accomplish common objectives.

According to the Experiential Learning Center at the University of Colorado Denver, experiential learning is “a process through which students [people] develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting.” The Experiential Learning Center website continues to explain that, “Learning that is considered ‘experiential’ contains all of the following elements:

  1. Reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis.
  2. Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results.
  3. Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically.
  4. A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.”

Summer adventure camps provide an atmosphere ripe with opportunities for children to engage in experiential learning. This type of learning allows kids to take the information and lessons they have learned and apply them in real world situations.

At Deer Creek camp, cabins rotate together through a series of high and low ropes, adventure based, and team-building activities that we feel are age appropriate for campers in that cabin. We teach them realistic goal setting and give them something to look forward to next summer through our program.

By learning and sharing adventure camp experiences, campers gain knowledge on how to encourage one another in a healthy and safe environment.  Led by a committed team of counselors from colleges and universities, the camp staff ratio is 1 staff member for every 4 campers, thereby facilitating strong relationships that last well beyond summer. To learn more about Deer Creek, and how a child (or adult) you know could experience a summer adventure that provides life-long lessons, visit www.deercreekcamp.com or call: (830) 589-7123.

You can find day camps in the middle of any city, but the charm of overnight camps is their rugged surroundings. Hills, deserts, creeks, and open prairies await campers from all over the state. Exploring the outdoors has tempted children for centuries, and for almost as long adults have instilled the necessity of safety. At Deer Creek Camp, we know how captivating wilderness ventures can be, and we also know that they’re safest when campers are prepared for survival. Before letting anyone embark on even a short hike, we instill time-honored information to ensure they’re entering the wild as safely as possible. Whether you’re an experienced outdoorsman or have only encountered nature through your television, these survival tips will make the most out of all wilderness ventures.

  1. Never go alone. Bear Grylls’ Discovery Channel show should really be called Man and Well-Supplied Camera Crew vs. Wild. There’s a romantic, courageous notion of experiencing the great outdoors on your own. There are also immense dangers that can harm the most equipped and knowledgeable adventurer in the world. Carrying compass, box of matches, canteen, and food supplies won’t negate the fact that the wilderness remains unpredictable. Rattlesnakes can strike; floods can literally appear in a flash; and one misstep over a boulder can result in a broken limb. Those scenarios are certainly rare, but they’re possible, and they’re much less dangerous when you’re venturing into the wilderness with a hiking partner.
  1. Stay on the path. Trails are never built to keep hikers from seeing the good stuff; they’re designed to give people as full an experience of a mountain or forest as possible. Following a path, then, is a surefire way to really see the sights on wilderness ventures. It’s also a surefire way to keep from getting lost. Unless America acquires Canada, Texas will forever be the second-largest state. The hill country around Deer Creek is one of its most expansive regions. It doesn’t take a long route off the beaten path to forget your way back. Though you’ll find civilization eventually, if you get lost around dusk, the more dangerous night is a harder time to navigate.
  1. Trust the Scouts: be prepared. We don’t issue our campers a survival kit with flares, rope, and dehydrated foods, and we don’t expect them to bring all of that from home. It isn’t a bad idea, though, to bring and carry a few essentials to prepare for worst case scenarios on wilderness ventures. Three simple items, in particular, can prove lifesaving in dire moments: a flashlight, whistle, and bottle of water. More than snakes or cacti, dehydration proves to be the greatest peril you can encounter. A bottle of water will keep you safe during a hike and sustained during an emergency. In the event that you do get lost or severely injured, a flashlight and whistle can help others find you—in the dark and without killing your voice.

Of course, this list could continue for ages. These three tips don’t amount to much compared to the training that Boy Scouts and Navy SEALS receive, but they’re a good starting place for safety. Wilderness ventures will always appeal to our campers, and we’re always thrilled to let them experience the great outdoors. Safety, though, remains among our highest priorities. Hiking with friends, sticking to the path, and carrying a few essentials will lead to a much safer encounter with the wild world.

It takes years, sometimes an entire lifetime to really know yourself. Humans are incredibly complex, and every experience, tragic or seemingly insignificant, changes and develops people in some way. Many marriage counselors know that the root of many relationship problems comes not from infidelity or abuse; it’s the simple fact that couples don’t just have to understand themselves but their spouse too. With kids, work, and something of a social life, many married couples can’t find the time to fully get to know each other. The pressures and duties of life can naturally create distance in marriages, which is why group retreats can prove so enriching.

Group retreats come in many forms, but at their core, they’re a kind of escape, a weekend or single day respite from routine and responsibilities. They benefit anyone, but married couples often need this the most. One date night a week is rarely enough to really know and understand a spouse. Humans are constantly changing and growing, so husbands and wives need time, focus, and energy to continue to learn about each other. Group retreats allow all of that, and many are catered specifically toward couples. These concentrate on learning cues, building a stronger foundation in communication, and just taking the time to revel in each other’s company. Everyone can agree those things are extremely important for a healthy relationship, but careers, kids, and social pressures regularly hinder them from happening. The benefits of a group retreat may appeal to everyone, but they can be absolutely vital to a married couple that just needs some time together.

Professional athletes often devote their whole summers to personal training: adhering to a strict regimen of exercise either on their own or with a trainer. Many members of the military do something similar before they serve on active duty. Really, any participant in a physically strenuous pursuit will prepare himself beforehand. Preparation for wilderness ventures might not be as intense as athletic or military training, but it never hurts to be a bit experienced and ready.

Wilderness ventures probably sound more extreme than they actually are. It’s a vague term that could describe anything from nature walks to something that resembles Man v. Wild. In a camp setting, these ventures usually fall somewhere safely in between. True naturalists believe that the world and nature can’t be sufficiently appreciated unless they expend a lot of effort expended to see it. They hike miles into a desert to witness a perfect sunrise, or tread through endless acres of swamp to photograph a rare flower. God has made a violent and beautiful planet, and experiencing it really does become much more real with a little effort. Hikes and bouldering provide a visceral encounter with His creation—something a nature book or National Geographic Special can’t recreate. Wilderness ventures, then, allow participants to more fully appreciate and enjoy Creation. They require a bit of sweat and some cardiovascular activity, but their reward is great. Preparing for them hardly means anything more than conditioning yourself to walk long distances, and sometimes at elevation. You don’t have to go to boot camp to be ready, but they’re better enjoyed if you’re in sufficient shape to hike and explore.

A lot of parents go through separation anxiety when they send their kids to camp in Texas, but they should look at the time as fun for them too. Any sadness or fear is completely normal: you’ve spent endless hours with your children, and if camp is the first time you’re not there to protect them, that’s understandably hard. Psychiatrists will tell parents not to let their lives revolve around their kids, but it happens pretty naturally anyway. Rather than fear camp as the first time your children could get hurt without you, look at it as the first week in years you’ve had time to yourself.

Kids develop friendships while they’re at camp in Texas, so there’s no reason you as parents shouldn’t too. Instead of spending your mornings and afternoons in a carpool lane, grab coffee with a neighbor—or the parent with another child at camp. Raising kids has plenty of joys, but it can absorb every second of your day, and camp can be a week for you to socialize with other adults, or reconnect with old college friends. Juggling the tasks of homework monitoring, work, soccer games, and cooking, you might not usually have a free moment to sit down and write a letter, but you can with an empty house.

Family trips together, too, can be a lot of fun, but they’re different than vacations with just you and your spouse. Time alone together becomes a rare treat, and the opportunity to travel together even rarer. After you’ve sent your kids off to camp in Texas, there’s no reason you shouldn’t leave the house too. Even one night at a bed and breakfast can be a romantic experience you’ll remember forever. It might be hard to send your kids away, but if you take advantage of the time alone, it might be a bit hard to bring them back.

Unless you’ve outlawed all electronics from your home, you know that television is a curse and a blessing. On rainy days when everyone’s trapped inside, it can harness a lot of your kids’ energy; on warm sunny days, though, it can be addictive and keep children from actually enjoying the beautiful world. Finding a balance is difficult, and in summers, without the routine of school, boredom can glue kids to the television. There are a number of ways to keep your kids active during summer break, but sending them to adventure camps is one of the best.

Off-season sports and summer retail jobs may be a standard way to absorb free time, but they can prove as monotonous as school: wake up early, leave for work or training, come home and decompress in front of the TV. That might be a traditional summer schedule, but breaking the norm tends to be more memorable. Attending adventure camps can create a summer kids will never forget, and while they might make more pocket change at a summer job, these camps can develop them better for the future.

Unless they attend a college close to home, almost every high school senior moves out of their house after graduation. That separation can be hard for parents and young adults alike, but it’s easier if your kid has experienced independence already at adventure camps. Temporary separation, even at a young age, will prepare kids better for life, and they’ll learn to appreciate more of the world early on too. Encountering the outdoors, socializing with strangers, and breaking out of comfort zones all occur in a camp environment—and all of them develop personal strength and character. There are a lot of ways to absorb free time and prevent summer lethargy, but adventure camps can end up being the most developmental for the future.