Your summer family vacation: How a quality children’s program benefits your child

As you plan your family’s summer getaway, you may see children’s programs on the activities menu at the destinations you’re considering. Enrolling your child in such programs usually opens up some time together for mom and dad, but keep in mind that quality programs offer far more than a childcare service. Programs can offer your child long lasting benefits, which are wrapped up in a kid-friendly way through the program’s daily fun and games.

To shed some light on what kids can gain from such programs, we checked in with one of the pros at our Summer Fun University (SFU), which develops and manages our children’s camp programs. These programs for ages 3-17 are well known for establishing friendships and introducing new experiences to thousands of kids during their family vacations at the resort.

Jeff Spring, the operations director for SFU programs, has 10 years of experience in outdoor education. He identifies two valuable benefits that children receive from a vacation program specifically crafted for kids:

Experiencing the joy of discovery. Summer camp at a vacation destination offers many children a clean slate, a place away from their day-to-day routine and a sanctuary where they can be themselves in a new environment, Jeff notes. Camp can be a time when kids are more apt to try new things, setting them up for an experience that may be life-changing. Many lifelong passions for adults can be traced back to a camp setting in childhood.

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Jeff says, “In our programs at Smugglers’, we recognize this possibility for every one of our campers. Our counselors strive to provide the positive and enriching environment that encourages discovery, whether a child is learning to play disc golf or checking out a stream with an underwater camera. That moment of discovery is when special memories are made!”

Children's camp Smugglers' Notch Vermont

Connecting with the natural world. Jeff observes that a connection with nature has many positive effects on kids that have been well documented through the years:

  • Active outdoor play encourages overall fitness, plus coordination, balance, and agility. Children's camp Smugglers' Notch Vermont
  • Not only do children show a better ability to concentrate after contact with nature, but exposure to natural environments can benefit children’s cognitive development as well by improving their awareness, reasoning, and observational skills.
  • Time spent in outdoor environments contributes to children’s development of independence and autonomy.
  • Early experiences with nature  and the creatures that inhabit the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and sense of wonder for the world around us.

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  • A relationship with nature encourages a child to recognize the value of quietness and space that can be found in many natural settings.
  • Last but not least, immersive experiences in nature encourage a positive environmental ethic in children that can lead them to be  responsible stewards of the natural world.

Whether your family chooses to visit Smugglers’ or another vacation destination, we hope Jeff’s insights have given you food for thought as you consider a vacation program for your child.

Read more about Smugglers’ summer programs for kids ages 3-17


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