20+ years spent crafting a summer technology experience that’s out of this world has provided insights and knowledge beyond what any single blog post could pass along.
And sure, we teach students the STEM skills needed to thrive in our ever-changing college and career landscape, but there is more that makes up the benefits of summer camp.
These life skills will help your child make friends, excel in school, and confidently take on any challenge that comes their way.
What Does Summer Camp Teach?
Summer camp teaches children independence, social skills, and teamwork, but can also help participants with perseverance, while improving their self-confidence along the way.
Here are the details on five big things summer camp teaches.
If your child has been to our STEM summer programs before, you know how much fun kids have as they compete in epic gaming tournaments, pie their instructors, and learn exciting new STEM skills.
But a fun and engaging learning environment doesn’t mean that the entire week is rainbows and butterflies.
As students put the skills they’ve learned into practice, they encounter problems: perhaps making a mobile game app is presenting unforeseen hurdles, or they can’t program their bot to navigate a particularly tight turn, or maybe their 3D model isn’t stable enough to survive the 3D printer.
In other words, they experience adversity, and it can be frustrating.
That’s where awesome instructors come into play.
If you’re lucky enough to have your kids at a camp where the staff is trained to provide encouragement, optimism, and tech know-how - and cares enough to coach - your child can learn to push through the discomfort of a hurdle and find a solution.
Big or small, these challenges teach your child to keep trying, whether it’s a tech problem or an issue with a friend at school.
Why it matters: We all encounter problems, but it’s how we face them that determines the impact those problems will have. With a strong sense of perseverance, children can seek out creative solutions to a number of issues, and not cower from them. (Learn more about our thoughts on coaching and teaching.)
2. Social Skills
When camps like iD Tech go to great lengths to keep class sizes small, every student receives one-on-one, personalized instruction. What’s great is that children will also have the chance to participate in group activities both in and out of the computer lab, giving them plenty of opportunities to meet new friends and interact with students they don’t usually spend time with.
One of the things we hear most from parents is that campers find “their people” at iD Tech and finally feel like they fit in.
Overnight campers, in particular, get to spend “bonus” time with other students as they play together in gaming tournaments, go on local excursions, or hang out in the university dorm rooms after a long day in the labs. Whether your child is shy or outgoing, they’re sure to leave camp with polished social skills.
Why it matters: We all like to be liked. It’s human nature. As your child improves their social skills, they’ll build stronger relationships with peers and feel more comfortable making new friends.
On the first day of camp, everything is new, and your child might feel a little nervous. Will she make friends? What if he can’t program the robot correctly? Will the dorm bed be as comfy as the one at home?
Experiences that make us nervous help us grow as humans. As your child faces each of these insecurities (with the support of an encouraging instructor), they’ll become more independent and confident. Many parents see this shift as early as checkout on day one, when their child begs to stay at camp a little longer. By the end of the week, they’ll be so immersed in the camp experience that those initial hesitations will be a long-lost memory.
Why it matters: As much as we’d love to get our kids through every problem and hardship, at some point they’ll have to tackle their struggles alone. Plus, an independent kiddo will feel empowered to continue learning on their own, eventually getting to the point where they’re confident enough to do something greater like start a robotics club at school, or even become an entrepreneur!
As students share project ideas with peers, work together to solve challenges, and lean on each other for advice, they build a strong sense of responsibility and teamwork. We see this most in our robotics courses, where students work together to assemble a cool robot and then program it to complete complex tasks and challenges. Then less formally, it's also evident when campers are getting familiar with the different parts of a computer and building their own laptops, and can't help but bounce questions and thoughts off classmates.
Why it matters: Independence is an essential trait, but working well together is also an important skill at every stage in life: community in the classroom, on the baseball field, at the workplace, and even at home with siblings. When kids are team players, they’re more likely to build good relationships with peers and accomplish more than they would alone.
At the end of each session, campers present their final projects to parents and peers. At iD Tech Camps, our weeklong program offering, this happens during Friday Showcase, whereas Alexa Café students pitch their ideas at Concept Café, and Academy teens show off their portfolios during Launch Party.
At these lively end-of-session events, students’ self-confidence and pride are at an all-time high. As they share their new mobile app or walk you through their prototype of a wearable electronic that could make the world a safer place, their newfound confidence shines through.
They did it: they learned new skills, put them into practice, and are now sharing them with their favorite people.
That excitement is both palpable and extremely contagious. We live for it season after season, and it’s part of what makes iD Tech such an incredible place for so many campers.
Why it matters: Tech executive and bestselling author Sheryl Sandberg says it best: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Even as adults, there are often things we avoid because of the fear of failure, or looking silly, or not being good enough. Kids aren’t immune to these feelings either. So, as we build them up and give them the confidence to accomplish any task they put their minds to, they’re more likely to push past the fear and reach for the stars. For proof, just check out how summer camp can lead to life-changing successes.
There’s still time to join us this summer
Invest in your child’s education with a summer at iD Tech. They’ll learn foundational STEM skills in a ridiculously fun environment and leave camp with tons of life skills that will help them in school, college, and future careers. Camps are selling out daily, but there may still be space left at a location near you.