Family Camps: Connecting in the outdoors
Re-print from AFABC
Family camps can be highly motivating and empowering experiences for families (Lewicki, Goyette, & Marr 1996) and can act as a tremendous catalyst for forming healthy attachments in a family system.
Camping offers a unique atmosphere for gathering families and children with similar experiences together to share their perspectives on adoption, families, culture, diversity and, perhaps, heritage. Adoptive families often find family camps are also a good way to strengthen their relationships and create more meaningful bonds with one another. Giving kids a chance to be with other adoptees is one way to support them in their lives, and adoptive family camps make it fun and enriching for the parents at the same time. Old friends and new share regular parenting stories and adoption stories, and have a great time together. Large families and small families, some who’ve adopted locally and those whose children joined them from afar join together. The common denominator, of course, is adoption.
The top five benefits of a family camp experience
- A family camp experience brings together not only immediate family members, but also provides the opportunity for multiple generations and extended family members to spend time together, share stories around the campfire, and to just have fun.
- Many families discover that, for younger children, a family camp experience serves as excellent training wheels for a later residential camp experience.
- Every family is unique, and sometimes finding a family vacation that fits the needs and interests of each individual family member may be difficult. Families can arrive at camp for a weekend, a week, or more, where a variety of activities are available to suit nearly every interest.
- Children and adults alike are more plugged in today than ever, and communicating less. Camp gives families a chance to unplug and to unite, thereby opening the lines of communication.
- Camp provides children and adults a relaxed, safe and nurturing environment to learn new things and take healthy risks. At camp it may be Mom’s first time to ride a horse or Dad’s first time to go canoeing. Families share learning experiences, allowing them to view one another in a different light and bring them all closer.