Camp Old First – 2018

Imagine Old First overrun with pre-teens; imagine Old First bringing youth from across the Philadelphia area participating in gardening, wood-work, cooking, personal fitness, and much more! All of this could happen and more. As you once remember, Old First hosted a camp with numerous participation from members of the congregation, the Dept. of Recreation of Philadelphia, local churches, and many others. So what will it take for this camp to happen again…just your participation!

So why day camp? Well here are six reasons.

  1. Campers obtain the life skills needed to become successful adults

  2. Camp educates the whole child.

  3. Camp allows kids to unplug from technology.

  4. At camp, there’s plenty of time for play, which helps children with social and  emotional development

  5. Children can reinvent themselves at camp.

  6. Camp promotes independence.

At day camp, kids gain valuable life skills. In fact, an organization called The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (comprising a group of businesses, education leaders, and policymakers) has found there is a large gap between the knowledge students learn in school and the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. After extensive research, the organization determined that some of the skills necessary to become successful adults are communication, collaboration, creativity, leadership, socialization, and problem solving. All of these areas are fostered in the camp environment. At camp, kids develop in a community of their our peers.They’re always communicating with each other, either on the field or in the bunk, learning to work together as a team and as part of the community.

They also get to be leaders at camp, whether through guiding a first-time younger camper or managing their camp Olympics team. Campers learn to navigate on their own and solve problems by themselves. They engage in many creative outlets, too. Day camp also provides children with the opportunity to try new activities. When children succeed at these activities, they build self-esteem. Children also build social skills and problem- solving skills by being part of a supportive community and partaking in activities together. Campers are challenged and encouraged to grow every day.

F.Y.I. Did you know today’s children spend more than 7.5 hours a day engaged with technology? They often miss out on vital hands-on activities and socialization opportunities. The majority of day camps ban most technology, including TV, smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Taking a break from technology over the summer allows children to communicate face to face. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that children who participate in free and unstructured play is healthy and essential for helping children to reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones. It also helps kids manage stress. Traditional day camps give children plenty of play time, which leads to healthy emotional and social development.

So Old First, please consider participating in forming and organizing a day camp for the summer of 2018. Members and staff of Old First like Tim Robinson and Alesha Thompson are already committed to a committee dedicated to researching grants and speaking to others to make this camp possible for youth in our city unable to afford summer sleep-away camp or other academic camps. If interested, contact John Owens (programassistant@oldfirstucc.org).

Blessings,

John Owens, Program Assistant