July 25, 2017
Since only 17% of camp programs accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA) allow campers to use the Internet, summer camps have been a great way to help children disconnect and enjoy their surroundings.
But according to camp counselors and directors, that disconnection can cause parents a lot of anxiety. In an article published by NPR, camp workers tell the stories of “helicopter” parents and the lengths they go to in order to stay on top of what happens to their children.
Barry Garst, a researcher in youth development, says “The No. 1 concern is the separation that parents feel, and the difficulty in accepting a different type of communication with their child when their child is at camp.”
While many camp programs, including those belonging to the YMCA of Metro Chicago, post photos and videos online for parents to view, many guardians still struggle with feelings of uncertainty and worry at the thought of their child being out of the reach, both physically and through digital channels.
Some advice for parents dealing with separation anxiety is to remember that camp programs are run by professionals who are well-equipped to care for children in all types of situations. Camp staff members always carry phones with services and internet in case of emergencies, so they can get in contact with anyone at any time.
Camps are still one of the best forms of nurturing creativity and independence in children and is now, more than ever, essential in exposing campers to lives beyond their phones. Parents should take advantage of these opportunities to allow for growth, both in their children and as well as within themselves.