The Character of Courage

As parents we take every precaution to protect our children from injury.  Weight lifters must add a little more resistance to increase strength, runners must add a little more distance to gain endurance, and character development requires at least the perception of risk to gain courage and to test faith.

An article on this subject in a parenting magazine alluded to the fact that summer camps serve as a place for children and adolescents to participate in supervised activities where the perceived risk is higher than the actual risk.

For example, at CampHorizon we offer a rock climbing wall.  The actual risk is quite low (or our insurance company would prohibit it), but put an eight year old camper thirty-two feet in the air and ask them if the risk is real or perceived.  There is a small actual risk associated with archery, riflery, sailing, canoeing, and waterskiing.  However, when a camper faces their fear and fires the gun or stands on water-skis, they develop the courage to go outside of their comfort zone and to try other new things.

Some of the typical reasons that parents and children do not choose a week of summer camp include the fear of separation (home-sickness), the fear of relationships (shyness), and the fear facing new challenges.  Over the past three decades we have seen campers face those fears and develop the courage to travel on mission trips, to make new friends from among strangers, and to do things they never thought possible.

Talk with your child now about getting ready for camp.  Prepare them for a week of separation. Encourage them to make new friends and to try new activities.  Perhaps this summer your child will strengthen both their faith and their courage.