“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question we often ask kids. Maybe the question is a way of us remembering and dreaming. Maybe it’s a way for us to get to know a young person in our lives.
Parents long to see their kids succeed and pursue their dreams. In the extreme, this can mean pushing them to do more, get better grades, apply for competitive programs academically or athletically. But what if by giving them opportunities to “just be kids” we can help them unlock the tools to becoming who they were meant to be? Temple Grandin, a renowned scientist, autism activist and author of “The Outdoor Scientist” believes nature, time spent exploring and playing are critical to a child’s development. She said, “I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, a question that grown-ups are fairly obsessed with. I also had no idea that all the stuff I loved doing as a kid would come to inform my life’s work.”
Grandin encourages adults to get kids outside, provide youth with unstructured play time and time to explore creation. She argues that the pursuit of answers in nature can help develop critical thinking and even scientific reasoning. While some may see kids interested in STEM as indoor kids, she argues that her childhood experience in nature at her aunt’s farm prepared her for a career in the sciences.
At camp kids are exposed to natural beauty they may never encounter at home. Whether it’s rock formations or flora and fauna that have been preserved at camp, or interactions with animals many camps have on property, or a close-up examination of the natural world through outdoor education at camp, kids get an immersive experience that could help pave the way for their future.
A week at camp may captivate your child’s imagination and, like Temple Grandin, this time in nature may play a role in a fulfilling future. The power of camp – it’s science and so much more.