About a year ago, when you signed your kids up for camp, it seemed like a no-brainer. Kids have fun, you get a relaxing summer, what could be bad?

But now you have a big pile of clothes making a mess in your home, you need to label every single thing your child owns or has ever thought of owning, you’ve taken every suitcase out of storage and discovered that none of them are big enough, and you’re wondering why you send your kids to camp.

So here are 5 reasons that sending your kids to camp is such an important experience:

An Opportunity to Develop New Interests and Skills

One of the things camps do really well is expose kids to a wide variety of activities they may not have a chance to experience during the school year. Arts and crafts, boating, hiking, archery, and cooking are just some of the interests that can be developed over the summer. When children find new activities that they excel at, they build self-esteem and take pride in their accomplishments.

An Opportunity to Reinvent Themselves

When children go to school with the same kids for years, they are often labeled as shy or boisterous or troublemakers. But when they get to camp, where most of the staff and kids are strangers, these labels don’t matter and they can be anyone they want to be. A child who is shy at school can suddenly be the life of the party at camp, and a kid who rebels against the strictures of school may be a stickler for the rules at summer camp.

Friendships That Last a Lifetime

There’s something about living together in a bunk, eating meals as a group and spending 24/7 together that creates long-lasting bonds. Kids meet other kids who have similar interests and values from all over the country and even the world. So many adults are still in touch with friends they made in camp and value these relationships highly.

Experiencing an Old-Fashioned Childhood

You may remember what childhood used to be like: hours spent playing outside with other kids, lots of sports and running around, inventing imaginative games and getting dirty without worrying about our clothes. These days, it seems like cell phones and video games have replaced outdoor activities and social interaction between children. But most camps don’t allow electronics and they take kids to basics. If we can’t drag our kids away from their devices during the year, at least we can provide them with a device-free summer and a return to the good old days.

Independence and Confidence

At home, our children depend on us for almost everything. But at camp, they are on their own. They need to make their own decisions about things like how often to shower, whether to brush their teeth and whether to participate actively or stay on the sidelines. When kids make their own decisions, they develop confidence in their abilities and increase their independence. When they get home at the end of the summer, they will definitely be more mature than when they left!

We can’t help you with the big mess that packing for camp has caused, but we hope this post has reminded you that it’s all worthwhile. Sending your kid to camp may be a lot of work, but your kids will gain so much that you will happily do it again next year. We promise.

About the author

Hadassah Levy is the VP of Marketing for Pack for Camp. She attended sleepaway camp for a number of years and wishes she could have gone for longer. She has also sent her children to various camps, and knows first-hand how stressful packing for camp can be and how essential it is to make this process more efficient and streamlined.