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As a leading authority for summer camps and youth development, ACA works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience.

Summer Camp Positively Impacts Youth Mental Health: According to Psychology Today

May 31, 2023

For thousands of children, adolescents, and staff, camps across New England cultivate a “happy place” where individuals are encouraged to be themselves and flourish in a safe, nurturing environment.  These qualities of camp are difficult to quantify. However, there is something simply natural about camp that Constance Scharff Ph.D. noted in an article for Psychology Today. Get the Kids Outside tells us “outdoor adventures and physical activity” is beneficial towards the mental health and healthy development of our youth.

With post-pandemic screen time still on the rise,  it is more important than ever for youth caretakers to provide fun opportunities to reconnect with nature and a community of peers. Dr. Scharff also lists four tips that we have “campified” which caretakers should consider this summer to address this concern:

  1. Lead by example: Camp counselors and frontline staff embody role models for young children and adolescents. Camps train staff to both challenge and comfort campers during their summer adventure.
  2. Offer choices: Camps offer both structured and unstructured formats for outdoor exploration and physical exercise. The key to building a foundation of longevity with healthy activity is to…
  3. MAKE IT FUN: Games, hiking, swimming, climbing, land and water sports, are just a handful of the amazing array of activities campers might choose this summer. Fun activities lead to fun memories.
  4. Limit screen time: To counter the effects of de-socialization and isolation that the pandemic played upon our youth, camps provide a chance to reclaim the connection with nature by limiting or restricting screen time, yet one more way camps help youth grow out of their comfort zone and promote holistic health.

Executive Director of the American Camp Association, New England, Michele Rowcliffe champions the need for mental health benefits – “With the month of May representing Mental Health Awareness Month and serving as a crucial time of preparation for our camps, we are excited to enhance opportunities for supporting campers and staff, both naturally and intentionally through mental health training and expert intervention.  Outdoor fun and exercise does a world of good.”

Caretakers have the chance to share a summer full of activity, fun, and healthy development that will help prepare them for the classroom in the fall. How can the American Camp Association, New England help? Give us a call, email, or visit us at to get started and connected with a camp for you!

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