How Camp Builds Better Students
May 24, 2019
Sure, summer camp is all about fun and games, but did you ever think that it can also help your child do well in school? At Chelsea Piers, campers not only learn how to play and excel at their sport of choice, they also acquire life skills that will endure long after the game is over.
Summer camps have come a long way from arts and crafts tents and macramé belts. Some of today’s summer camp programs offer high end sports training for every child from the beginner athlete to the gold medal winners. At Chelsea Piers Summer Camp in Stamford, CT, fun is a serious subject and the options are mind-blowing. Located in a state-of-the-art indoor environment, today’s campers ages 3 to 14 have the opportunity to try over 15 sports under the tutelage of world class coaches.
From the Gym to the Classroom
Children at Chelsea Piers Summer Camp are encouraged to take risks that foster tolerance, patience, problem solving, and sportsmanship. These qualities are reinforced in a fun, structured setting.
“There is a great connection between the mind and body,” says Lindsay Bistis, Director of CP Kids Early Learning Center. “When children are able to move and exercise their bodies, they are then able to focus their mind on a task at hand better. You may find that after a session of movement it is then easier to sit and work on something. The same is true for children. They receive sensory input, gain muscle and joint awareness, and build their core strength. Being able to sit at a desk or a class meeting/circle time requires a lot more body awareness and strength than we often realize.”
"I GOT TO TRY ICE SKATING FOR THE FIRST TIME AND LOVED IT!. IT WAS PRETTY COOL TO PLAY SOCCER, ICE SKATE AND GO SWIMMING IN THE SAME WEEK AT THE SAME PLACE. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU DO THAT?"
Katey, 7, Soccer Camper
“IT WAS SO FUN! YOU GET TO CLIMB AND JUMP OVER STUFF. IT’S A LITTLE HARD SOMETIMES BUT THE COACHES HELP YOU TO KEEP TRYING. I GOT A LITTLE BETTER EVERY DAY, IT WAS AWESOME!”
Andrew, 9, Ninja + Parkour Camper
The social skills and self-regulation that come from camp experiences are also very important in the classroom setting. Bistis, who works with camp coaches on program development shares, “Children learn to interact with one another in a fun environment that promotes teamwork, which helps them be able to work in groups in an academic setting. Self-regulation is gained in so many ways in camp, particularly during its physical demands. Teaching your mind and body to turn on and off your energy is super helpful for the classroom setting.”
David Flower, the Director of the Soccer & Sports Academy Camps, couldn’t agree more. “The structure of the day is the main areas I have seen carry over to the academic setting, especially for the younger children,” adds Flower. “Being in a structured setting where they need to be in certain places at certain times, have a set lunch, and recreation period helps them prepare for the structured days at school while having fun playing sports.”
"THE KIDS COME FOR SOCCER CAMP, BUT WHETHER THEY REALIZE IT OR NOT, THROUGH OUR DRILLS, GAMES AND WORKING AS A TEAM WITH PEOPLE THEY JUST MET, THEY ARE BUILDING CONFIDENCE, NEW SOCIAL SKILLS AND A MORE INCLUSIVE MIND-SET."
David Flower, Director of Soccer & Sports Academy
In this less pressured atmosphere, children learn more readily what positive things to say and do when they make mistakes and face challenges. At Chelsea Piers, the coaches are focused on creating programs that emphasize encouragement and reach without unnecessary pressure. Jamie Barone, Director of Aquatics and Head Coach of the Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club, champions this philosophy with camp coaches. “The kids learn from how we teach. We give a lot of support and guidance.” Positive reinforcement and supporting the whole athlete in both their sport and in life are at the crux of Chelsea Piers’ coaching philosophy.
As a parent, the main objective in sending your child to camp is not only for them to unplug, try new sports, and interact with new friends, but for them to be exposed to new and unexplored challenges that will help them thrive as an individual without fear and judgement.
One parent wasn’t quite sure how his son would take to Chelsea Piers Summer Camp because he was more interested in the chess team than the football team. But when he attended Chelsea Piers Summer Camp, he reached outside his comfort zone. “It was amazing for him to have the opportunity to dive into sports that he might otherwise have been intimidated by during the school year. He had a blast and gained the confidence needed to try new things.”
Confidence, perseverance and the opportunity to take risks, even if you fail, are what Chelsea Piers Summer Camp teaches campers on a daily basis: All are valuable and enduring life lessons—learned with a smile.