Camp: One Solution to Parenting Challenges – Part 3

Written by Audrey Monke for Gold Arrow Camp

Parenting Challenge #3:  Everything’s a Competition

From the first conversation about whose child learned to walk or talk first, parenting today (and life in general) seems to have become one giant competition.  Who’s in the top reading group?  Who made the “A” soccer team? Who’s top of the class?  Who got elected class president?  Who got picked for cheer leading?
In trying to help our kids keep up, and leave opportunities open for them, we often end up pushing too hard for our kids to do well in too many areas.  Many kids are taking challenging course work at school, competing on high level sports teams with demanding practice schedules, learning a musical instrument, and being involved in clubs (to make sure they are “well rounded”).  Often, finding something they are passionate about or truly enjoy goes on the back burner.  With little free time to explore and try new things, many kids don’t even know what they like.  And, much of the time, kids feel badly because they are not the one picked for the team or deemed “the best.”  Most of us aren’t.

Everything you do is made into fun.  There is no competitiveness.  There is this sense that I am able to let my kids experience some of what it was like to grow up in safer, less congested, slower times, where they have independence and low-tech fun.

Stephanie Kaufman
Pacific Palisades

Gold Arrow Camp offers kids the unique opportunity to relax and have fun in a non-competitive environment.  All of the camp programs are recreational activities where campers support each other to improve their individual skills.  Whether cheering each other on to get up on water skis or a wake board, or learning to skipper a sailboat together, Camp is all about enjoying life, learning new outdoor skills, and enjoying the company of friends.

Parenting Challenge #4:  Good Friends are Hard to Find

We all want our children to be happy and find good friends, but it’s often not as easy as it seems.  With kids competing for the same spots on teams, and eventually the same spots in colleges, many friendships become competitive.  Some children simply don’t have time to spend building strong one-on-one relationships.  Often, time spent with friends is in a very structured settings.  Some kids are shy, socially awkward, or get bullied at school or online.

I learned how to be a good friend and how to be social and outgoing.
                                                                                       -2009 Camper

At Gold Arrow Camp, our focus is on building community and helping campers develop close friendships.  Campers are assigned to cabin groups of 8-10 similar-aged kids.  Two counselors serve as cabin leaders and help campers get to know each other.  Team building games at the start of camp, similar to what corporations use to build teamwork, are used to help foster good communication and teamwork.  Gold Arrow Camp is unique in that we have a structured camp program, which differs from the “free choice” programs most camps offer.  While “free choice” sounds good on the surface, it requires campers to individually sign up for activities.  With our structured program, campers do activities as a group and do not have the pressure of finding kids to sign up for activities with or trying new activities for the first time without the support of cabin mates and their counselor.  Many kids at “free choice” camps simply choose not to try things they haven’t done before, for fear of embarrassing themselves.  At Gold Arrow, all of our campers try everything in a supportive, group setting.  Through all of their shared experiences, they form close bonds with their camp friends.