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5 Ways Kid Campers Become Adult Leaders

Kids may think that they are coming to camp to have fun, but along the way, they are also growing into wonderful, confident, and compassionate men and women.According to a report from Harvard Business Publishing “Leading Now: Critical Capabilities for a Complex World,” leadership traits most desirable for business include: managing complexity, acting strategically, fostering innovation, leveraging networks, inspiring engagement, developing personal adaptability, and cultivating learning agility. The summer camp environment has many elements that foster leadership skills in the children and youth who attend. This is why so many summer campers grow up to be leaders in their workplaces, churches, and communities. 

1. They are away from home.

Campers also benefit by being in an environment away from home, which can help them to become independent. If they are capable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves, they soon learn that they are also capable of having valid ideas, of being able to step in and comfort their friend who is homesick, and of engaging in conversations and decisions that affect the whole group.

2. They get inspired. 

Counselors teach campers about the activities within the camp, encourage skill development, and model values day in and day out. Children learn what a true leader looks like when observing their counselors, how they interact with kids and adults and how they communicate.

3. They help others. 

Every member of the camp has responsibility to help others, whether that means comforting a fellow camper, or working together as a team in an exercise. This opportunity allows children to see themselves as a valuable part of a community and encourages them to step up and help when they can. They soon take on the role of a leader, taking the initiative to step in and meet the needs of others.

4. They are challenged. 

Many (if not most) camp activities are designed to teach and foster leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. When the group is on a challenge course, campers will learn about listening to everyone’s voices and ideas, sharing the workload, and supporting members who are struggling. For every activity completed, campers are actively taught how to take initiative, ask questions, work with others, and gain confidence in their own abilities.

5. They grow organically. 

Children in camp are learning their way through a new environment with new friends and activities.

There are a multitude of facets of camp that inspire leadership in the children. Perhaps this is why so many campers grow up to be leaders in their workplaces and communities. While having fun is a large part of camp (they’re kids after all!), camp also harvests and integrates empathic traits and valuable skills.

At West Ohio Camps, we encourage responsibility by creating expectations for campers, rather than rules. Campers gain the skills to act with confidence, courtesy, respect and responsibility at camp, home and school. Campers at Camp Otterbein, Camp Wesley and Camp Widewater are future leaders. We have a variety of camp lengths and options to fit all families. Find out more by visiting us at