Camp Provides Critical Skills:
The Great 8

WARNING: Steve Sir can be a serious Camp Geek. Of course he likes to ponder traditional camp stuff—activities, food, counselors, etc.—but what he really enjoys thinking about are all the ways that camp can impact children. This section is all about that.

Susie Ma’am

Recent research suggests that children have a deficit of many skills that are critical for success and contentment. These are not the academic skills in which we invest so much time, energy, and attention. Instead, leading educators, researchers, and employers are all focusing on “non-cognitive skills” like communication, collaboration, creativity, grit and empathy.

We think this is very exciting. If some children truly are lacking in certain critical skills, then we can help them learn and become more successful.

At Camp Champions, we call these skills “The Great 8”:

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Creativity
  4. Critical thinking (yes, camp develops problem solving skills)
  5. Leadership
  6. Grit/tenacity
  7. Self Control
  8. Optimism

We deeply believe that a child who develops these skills will be primed for success and happiness in life – from the home to the college campus to the workplace. The sections below describe the recent research that helped us create this list of outcomes for your child.

Before we describe the research, it is worth noting two aspects of Camp Champions that makes us a rich environment in which to learn these skills.

First, we are a tech-free community.

As their screen-to-screen time grows, kids spend less time cultivating face-to-face skills. At camp, we reconnect without the electronic umbilical cord. In fact, camp is the only place I know where 8 year-old boys will put down their game consoles and teen girls will put down their phones AND be happy about it!

Second, we hire our counselors for their ability to care about your child, connect with him/her and be a powerful mentor. In other words, we hire for character and caring above all else.

Key Skills: Oral Communication, collaboration, work ethic, critical thinking, creativity

To navigate a rapidly changing world, these are the skills that companies want to hire for in the 21st century.

Camp & 21st Century Skills

How Children Succeed, Paul Tough

Key Skills: Curiosity, Grit, Self-control, Zest, Work Ethic, Empathy

Paul Tough’s NYT bestselling book asks if we have the right focus.

Character Skills & Camp

The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor

Key Skills: Optimism

Optimism is not just about seeing the glass half full. It the skill of seeing problems as solvable challenges rather than insurmountable barriers.

Understanding Optimism

Teach Your Children Well, Madeline Levine

Key Skills: Self-control, Self-Esteem, Enthusiasm, Resourcefulness, Creativity

Madeline Levine shares 7 predictors of success, contentment, and fulfillment.

Camp & Success

Homesick and Happy, Michael Thompson

Key Skills: Resilience, Friendship, Accomplishment, Independence

Michael Thompson addresses the importance of summer camp to prepare children for life beyond parents, and 8 things you can’t do for your kids.

Your Kids & Camp

ACA Research

The American Camp Association has conducted multiple studies documenting the positive effects of camp.

Camp Research