What Schools Could Learn from Summer Camp

A Stanford University study shows that summer campers gain a love of learning that lasts.

A large group of students in the woods performing a coordinated dance at Partners for Youth's Power of Hope summer camp
A Stanford University study shows that young people thrive at summer camp in ways we’d like to see them thrive in school. The study followed a group of students for nine months before, during, and after their summer camp programs. At camp the youth made a strong shift towards enjoying learning for learning itself, rather than learning simply to pass tests and make good grades. The best news, however, is that the students maintained their new attitude toward learning well into the school year, even six months after camp ended. Though the study was published in 2014, the findings remain pertinent.

The powerful transformations we see in youth from spending just one week living in a supportive, creative, caring community has motivated us to run youth camps for over 21 years and share our model with communities around the world. During the academic year, parents and teachers tell us about the lasting changes in confidence, motivation, and social skills they observe in the young people who have attended camp. As one parent said, “We have heard about ‘bits’ of her experience, but even without hearing a whole lot, it is obvious that some sort of light within her has been kindled. She is more positive, more free in her communication, lighter in her attitude to life.”

“To have one’s own teenager ‘wake up’ like this in a week is beyond what I thought was possible,” said a parent after a Power of Hope summer camp. “He is truly changed, his heart is wide open to me and others in a way I had not thought possible for his age.”

Read the full study here.

To learn more about summer camps based on our Creative Empowerment Model or to sign up a young person, see powerofhope.org.

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