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Kids making art at Summer camp

Summer and the Importance of Structure


Nine months out of the year, children are on a very structured schedule with very structured activities.  What happens when they don’t have that you might ask? When children don’t have structure, they become stressed.  That sense of security they had with the structure, knowing what to expect, goes away. Behaviors that you normally wouldn’t see, may begin to show due to unpredictability.  Summer time can be a very stressful time for parents as they figure out how to give their children this needed structure, and can be very stressful for children as this transition from school to the unknown.  YMCA Summer Day Camps are a solution to this stressful time of year!

YMCA Summer Day Camps are all about giving children this needed structure, while still providing them with those loved summer memories we all cherish.  YMCA camps provide children with organized activities, amazing staff, physical activity, teamwork activities, and so much more.  This provides children with everything they lose when they leave school.  Children have amazing role models for them at school who teach them not only academics, but also teach them how to work with others and how to manage their emotions. Summer Day Camp focuses on the same areas, but in different ways and gives them new experiences to put in their toolbox! Things they wouldn’t always get during an unstructured summer. 

In my extensive experience with children and education, I have seen amazing things in YMCA Summer Day Camps.  One of the biggest things I have seen is the growth in children’s social interactions, as well as their self-regulation.  Summer Day Camp doesn’t have all the academic requirements of a school, so we are able to help children heavily focus on these very important life skills more often and in different ways.  One of our campers who came from our Early Learning Center, is a great example of the growth you can see from a child during the summer when they are given the structured time to practice these skills.  This camper, like many, can become very over stimulated quickly.  When this camper would feel this way or feel frustrated would display many different behaviors.  At times he may have run out of the room, he may have become physical, he may have hidden, etc.  Over his first summer, the staff worked hard with him to recognize when his body would feel that way and gave him strategies to use instead.  This camper was given times to practice this during activities with the help of caring staff, and he was able to feel safe doing so because of the structure put in place during camp.  He knew what to expect, which allowed him to focus more on his growth than trying to understand what he would have to do next and how to do it. 

This is just one example of the many children who benefit from the structure of YMCA Summer Day Camps.  There are so many more children that benefit in so many ways because they feel safe while in our care, giving them the opportunity to practice so many different skills.  When contemplating how to give your child that much needed structure over the summer, YMCA Summer Day Camps are a great place to look.  Your child will be safe and cared for while growing into the amazing person that we know they are! All while making amazing memories at the same time!


Amanda Belt, Charles E. Lakin YMCA

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Category: Youth Development

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My name is Amanda Belt and I am the Youth and Family Manager at the Charles E. Lakin YMCA. I am also a junior at the University of Nebraska-Omaha majoring in elementary education with an endorsement in early childhood education. I chose this field because I have a passion for watching and helping children grow and prosper into the best that they can be, it is a great feeling when you see a child achieve things they work so hard towards. In my free time some things I like to do include baking and anything outdoors, especially biking!