Self reliance is more than remembering to brush your teeth.
It wasn’t until I saw the book, How to Raise an Adult, did I realize we’ve had the wording wrong all along. As parents, we’re here to raise adults, not kids! Such a simple change of words drastically shifts the perspective. Self reliance is a key component in getting our kiddos ready for the real world. This is one of many ways camp prepares kids for life.
Self reliance is deeper than being able to navigate yourself through a daily routine. It is knowing how to process your emotions, having a reign on your behavior, making decisions, and communicating effectively.
We believe in sending off more developed campers than first arrived. Cultivating independence is the first step in inspiring campers to bloom into their potential. When campers experience the repercussions of their actions- such running back across camp to change for horseback- they begin to hold themselves accountable. They realize their decision making has effects, and so they take thinking for themselves more seriously.
It’s impressive seeing the little six year olds navigating themselves around camp, with help of course. Kids are capable of so much, if we just give them the opportunity to prove themselves.
But it’s not necessarily their adults that kids need to prove self reliance to, it’s themselves. When people know they can achieve something, they’re more likely to pursue it. So, when kids have had years of practice taking care of themselves at camp, going away to college seems less intimidating. They know how to live without their parents next to them, they know how to share living quarters, and they know how to hold themselves accountable. They know all of this because they’ve lived it already at camp.
Freedom comes from strength and self reliance- Lisa Murkowski