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Anxiety in children can be scary. They often don’t have the words or experience to know or explain what is going on inside their brains, and it can lead to loneliness and self-isolation. It’s hard to know how to explain anxiety to a child.

The benefit of camp for a child with anxiety can be incredible. Many studies cite time outdoors, new experiences in controlled settings, and finding new ways to develop friendships as beneficial for people with anxiety. All of which are core tenants of most summer camp experiences.

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Time spent in nature encourages movement and can provide a sense of awe for kids not used to the experience. According to a number of studies, time outdoors can be essential for improving physical and mental health. In addition, it can make the creative side of our brain fire in ways that it doesn’t in a city. A game can grow from a single stick in the grass, and a story can be born around a campfire with s’mores in your teeth.

For most of the year children are used to the routine of going to school on time, potentially going to an afterschool activity like a club or sports practice, doing their homework, and then heading to bed. Leaving only the weekend for them to spend time with their friends or find new passions. But at camp a child can learn a new skill every day, test out whether or not they like new activities, and most importantly, camp allows time daily for simple spontaneity.

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Camp is also a place where children can meet friends that will be with them for the rest of their lives. In addition to building a love of new activities or skills, a bunk environment or an age group at a day camp can help a camper to develop new friends, and by many accounts of past campers they are friendships that follow campers throughout their life. While they spend a fewer number of months together than children do with friends at school, camp friendships are forged over the course of weeks spending entire days together. Going through the ups and downs of every day together and growing through it with each other.

Above all else a great camp is a place of inclusion and really feels like one big family. Campers can develop new skills or interests in a wide variety of areas be it in art, music, sports, or the outdoors. They can make lifelong friends, and find new ways to solve old problems.