How outdoor adventure camps can teach your kids confidence, leadership skills and resilience
There has been a lot of talk about going back to nature, and drawing on its diversity to school our children.
The thought of children roaming in forests and letting their senses be heightened by the smell, sight, and sound in our natural environment may sound appealing indeed – especially in this day and age where children spend more time on television and gadgets than on physical activities outdoors.
Children taking a break with drinks from our sponsors!
But what are the benefits of letting children freely (and safely) explore the outdoors?
This article in The Telegraph makes a few important points. It states that the brain has a play and seeking system, as discovered by Professor Jaak Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist at Washington State University.
The play system is stimulated every time you engage in rough-and-tumble play with your child or bury his feet in the sand, while the seeking system is exercised when exploring a new place or forest together.
In the Singapore context where much of our land is developed for urban use, family holidays and regular romps in the outdoors may be even more important for your child.
Such activities release “well-being neurochemicals” such as oxytocin and dopamine, which reduces stress and activates a general sense of wellness in the child, as well as the parents.
Over time, such play and exploration can lead to the maturation of the frontal lobes, the “part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence and well-focused, goal-directed behaviours that may last a lifetime.”
In other words, letting kids play outdoors and bringing them on a vacation can help them develop their intelligence and build a sense of confidence and independence.
Sounds good already?
But there’s more.
Nature supports the development of children in some very key ways:
It enhances a child’s ability to focus
It supports creativity and problem-solving
It improves academic performance
It reduces stress
It reduces rates of myopia in children
It reduces (Attention Deficit Disorder) ADD symptoms
“It’s important for children to experience nature. Having an adventure in the great outdoors is an excellent way to teach children about the diversity of our natural world,” says Daniel Ang, MYMCA’s senior programme coordinator. “You also get to stretch their confidence through outdoor obstacle courses and team events, and help them develop a resilience that naturally comes with overcoming small challenges.” (Source)
“In other words, letting kids play outdoors and bringing them on a vacation can help them develop their intelligence and build a sense of confidence and independence.”
Life and learning should always be an ADVENTURE
What is unique about Metropolitan YMCA’s children camps is its focus on equipping children with the skills to explore and learn from nature, and tackle challenges with a can-do attitude.
The adventure camps cater to the abilities of the very young, even preschoolers as young as four years old.
Daniel explains, “Our organisation believes in training and mentoring our youths to become compassionate and caring leaders of tomorrow. We have been working with a group of youths and providing them with training to handle young children.”
“For example, there may be occasions where we have to care for and encourage a clingy or fearful child. In such a situation, the child usually finds one facilitator whom he feels an affinity with, and follows that person around. What we’d usually do is have that facilitator introduce that child to another facilitator in a gentle way. So that by the time it’s the end of the first camp day, the child would have already been exposed to two to three different facilitators, thereby increasing his comfort level by day two.”
Another way the youth volunteers are trained is in the art of asking questions that prompt young children to reflect upon their actions and lessons from the events.
This is important in promoting the critical and reflective thought process in a child. For example, how have I cared for another person today, and in this way contributed as a team member?
Each activity then becomes more meaningful and memorable for the child, and is not just a touch-and-go event.
“Our organisation believes in training and mentoring our youths to become compassionate and caring leaders of tomorrow. We have been working with a group of youths and providing them with training to handle young children.”
Youth Volunteers! Guardians, Mentors & Leaders!
SORRY DUE TO OVERWHELMING RESPONSE OUR 2017 CAMPS REGISTRATION HAVE CLOSED
MYMCA 2018 Learning & Adventure Camps
Please note that the registration for 2018 MYMCA Camps have not open. These dates may be subject to change.
DAY CAMPS Every child has unique talents and smarts! Whether it’s Picture/Word/Logic/Body/Nature/Sound/People/Self Smarts, we believe that they should explore all the Multiple Intelligence and discover more about themselves!
Beside their exciting children camps, they also provide Swimming and Basketball programmes for 4-12 years old.
The Aquatic Education Programme (AEP) offers children a systematic and customized learning experience in swimming.
The Basketball Club offers children professional basketball training in non-competitive pace.
Their non-competitive learning environment helps the instructors to focus on the character and value development; a discipline attitude, a strong will, a positive mindset, the courage to take up challenges, and the strength to accept failures. While the children explore his/her own potential in fun and engaging training, all the progression will be based on their ability and competency without the pressure to excel.