We recently saw a great article from the Today Show on the 8 life skills that every 18-year old should have. As we were reading through the list, we were reminded, yet again, how many of those skills are learned each summer right here at Vista.
According to Julie Lythcot-Haims, the author of the article and author of How to Raise an Adult, 18-year olds must be able to accomplish the following skills:
- An 18-year-old must be able to talk to strangers in the real world.
First year campers drive into camp on opening day sometimes not knowing a soul. That quickly changes as they are introduced to their new cabin-mates and counselors. Over a course of 2 or 4 weeks, those new friends undoubtedly become sisters and brothers. All of our campers learn to not only communicate with people they have just met; they also learn to communicate and befriend people of all ages. Through our special “Tribe-families”, the campers are constantly engaging and growing with campers age 6-16. Someone that they may never approach out in the real world due to an age gap can easily become a very special friend. I know this to be true from my experience at Sierra Vista. Some of my closest friendships of all time were formed right here at SV and are with people who were at the time.. SO much older than me. When a 14 year old camper gives you a piggy-back ride from the dining hall to your cabin, and when you yourself are the 14 year old carrying the little Hawks Hilton cutie, special bonds are made. There are generations of strangers turned sisters/brothers that started here at Vista.
- An 18-year-old must be able to find his way around a campus, the town in which her summer internship is located, or the city where he is working or studying abroad.
The Vista Bubble may not be the Big Apple, but for a 6-year-old trying to find the archery range after rest period, it can seem that way! There are always counselors and office staff ready to help direct the sweet campers to their next activity, but for young’ns, it can be quite an adventure and lesson in independence. Even though we provide the support that our campers need to find their way around camp, they are able to build this skill by navigating their way from activity to activity. Learning their bearings at camp is a great warm-up to finding your way around a college campus!
- An eighteen-year-old must be able to manage his assignments, workload, and deadlines.
At Vista Camps, our campers learn to manage their own schedules as they go between activities and special events. Many of our campers are managing their daily schedules for the first time while they are here, because they are often used to teachers and parents telling them exactly what to do hour by hour. With guidance from our incredible Vista staff, our campers learn how to manage their days with confidence.
- An 18-year-old must be able to contribute to the running of a household.
Living in a cabin with 8 to 16 other people gives our campers the skills they need to contribute to any household! They learn basic chores such as sweeping, cleaning the showers and tidying up their space, as well as how to respect others’ property and personal space. We often hear parents say that their children return home more helpful than ever and even willing to take on extra chores.
- An 18-year-old must be able to handle interpersonal problems.
Another valuable lesson learned while living in close quarters with 8 to 16 peers is how to get along. We always encourage our campers to work together to solve minor disagreements or small problems that arise. It’s amazing to see the growth in our campers when it comes to problem solving and learning how to best communicate with each other.
- An 18-year-old must be able to cope with ups and downs of courses and workloads, college- level work, competition, tough teachers, bosses, and others.
While camp is a very nurturing and warm environment, there will always be opportunities to practice endurance, patience, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Our campers get many chances to learn how to work with others and compete in a way that is fair and with great sportsmanship. Learning to handle the small ups and downs that can come with a summer at camp gives our campers the confidence and grace to handle anything back home.
- An 18-year-old must be able to earn and manage money.
While campers don’t earn or manage real money here at Vista Camps, we do have a “Vista Bucks” reward system that they enjoy. Each camper has opportunities throughout the term to earn Vista Bucks that they can use in the camp store. They may earn 50 Vista Bucks for getting a bulls-eye in archery or for helping a younger camper find their way to an activity. Any Vista Bucks not used during a term will be rolled over to the next summer. Some campers save them up to purchase larger items and some campers spend them very freely. It’s pretty fun to watch the 6 year olds trying to decide if they should spend their VB’s on a chocolate bar during the camp carnival or if they should save it up for that stuffed animal in the store. Decisions, decisions!
- An 18-year-old must be able to take risks.
Believe it or not, Vista Camps is the perfect place for campers to take risks! Campers have the space to try something new without the fear of failure! Many of our campers take the challenge to reach the top of our rock wall each summer in the Ropes and Rappelling class. With our trained staff safely guiding them, our campers realize they can accomplish anything with hard work and determination.
We could hardly believe it when we saw this list! There are so many great skills that our campers learn at Vista Camps that help prepare them for life in college and beyond. Which of these skills did your child develop at camp?