As more and more Floridians get vaccinated, parents may be ready to send their kids to summer camp. But if you're still apprehensive, a camp director explains why children need camp after this long period of isolation during the pandemic.
"It's not just about learning to shoot a bow and arrow. It's about a chance to just process what's happening in here," said Chris Witt, the Senior Director of Winshape Camps, as he pointed to his chest.
After working with kids for over 30 years, Witt told ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan that children need camp now more than ever.
"It gives them a place to play, shoulder to shoulder, doing life together, and then a chance to process. This is what I've been feeling. This is what I've been thinking," he explained.
COVID-19 has impacted all of us but especially our youth, creating heightened anxiety and depression.
Therapists say all the extra screen time and social media exposure haven't helped either.
"Sometimes we lose the value of play. And what that does for a kid and playing through a two-dimensional screen is one thing. But when I play with someone outside in a game and environment, a sport, I'm learning social skills. I'm learning how to interact in a way, where there are consequences for what I say. I can't just say it and turn off my screen," Witt explained.
Even an overnight camp can really help a child grow.
LIST: Tampa Bay area summer camps
"Living in a cabin together at a camp is that whole new social dynamic. I can't walk away from school. We get up. We share a bathroom. We learn to serve each other. So I think that's one of the other benefits of going to a camp," Witt said.
And camp can offer kids the physical, mental and emotional benefits they really need right now after living through a stressful pandemic for over a year.
"Camp is the cure for the COVID blues. I just think it's the thing that you can do this summer. That's more than getting a little sun, more than having a little fun. It's intentional, purposeful play that you can't find anywhere else," Witt said.
Witt also said when children are challenged at camp to learn something new, it helps build their self-esteem.
Winshape Camps are located all across the country, including right here in Florida.
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