Everybody makes mistakes – in fact, that’s a crucial part of growing up. And at camp, when kids spend several weeks sharing a cabin with other campers, at some point or another they’re bound to step on someone’s toes. But this conflict isn’t a bad thing, in fact it’s one of the most important parts about spending a summer away. At camp, kids learn to pay attention to others as well as understand themselves better. They invest in their relationships, which includes lots of fun times together, as well as learning how to resolve conflicts and say I’m sorry.
There are any number of small things that can cause a confrontation at camp – common “offenses” include sitting on someone’s bed or using their toy without asking, not helping during clean-up, or saying something hurtful in the heat of the moment. But while you may think that these prickly moments are something camp would be better off without, they are in fact crucial jumping off points for summer growth.
Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps do a tremendous job of hiring staff who can help kids navigate these challenging social situations. When a conflict like this arises, counselors do an amazing job of working with the kids to help them see things from the other’s perspective. For example, if a child sits on another’s bed without asking, and the other yells “get off my bed!,” both campers may feel that the other is in the wrong.
It is a counselor’s job to work with each kid to help them understand where the situation went awry – they may explain to one child that, even though they don’t mind when people sit on their bed, they need to respect others’ personal space and ask before they enter someone else’s area or sit on their bed. And to the other child, they might explain that, even if someone is doing something they don’t like, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to be bossy or use disrespectful language. The goal when helping kids iron out a disagreement is not to get them to begrudgingly say sorry and shake hands – though of course sometimes this is a victory, too – but to help campers really understand what they are apologizing for, and why their actions merit an apology.
This helps campers become more empathetic and understanding of others. The close confines of camp life mean that kids have to be really aware of those around them – their bunkmates, friends, and counselors – and have to develop crucial group living and social intelligence skills. And this kind of development will be of paramount importance as they grow older and more independent.
At camp, the goal isn’t for any camper to be perfect – it is for every camper to be the best version of themselves. A huge part of this involves campers learning to understand the impact their actions have on those around them, and to genuinely apologize when they upset someone in the camp community. At camp, we learn to swim and to waterski, to make friends and friendship bracelets; but one of the most important things we learn to do at camp is to say sorry, a skill that only grows in importance as the years go on.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.