Stories from camp: How adventurers are made
May 16, 2016 | Emily Moeschler
One of the most incredible things about kids is their hardwired willingness to try new things. But as they approach their teens, that enviable disposition can sometimes be interrupted by feelings of self-consciousness or self-doubt. Avid4 Adventure awakens that innate try-new-things mentality, creating an environment that makes it comfortable and fun for kids of all ages—even tweens—to try something new.
A few years ago, Allison signed up her 11-year-old son, Cole, for an Avid4 Adventure multi-sport camp, hoping he would learn some new outdoor activities and build some confidence. “Before he went to camp he was really nervous, because he had never done any of the activities besides hiking before,” she said. “He was especially worried about mountain biking because his bike skills were not very strong and rock climbing because he is afraid of heights.”
Fortunately, Avid4 Adventure is designed to meet kids of all confidence and ability levels right where they are, whether they’re already skilled athletes or, as is more often the case, first-time adventurers. And that was exactly what Cole discovered on his first day of camp. “The instructors helped him realize that everyone is at different skill levels and that is OK,” Allison explained. “That was the whole point. To learn more and increase their skill.”
Of course, the road to proficiency isn’t always smooth. On rock climbing day, Cole got a few scrapes and felt too scared to keep going. Instead of pushing him further, his instructor put him in charge of taking pictures and holding the rigs for his fellow climbers. That way, he felt like an important part of the group without having to do anything he wasn’t ready for. And the next year at camp, his mom told us proudly, “he was ready to climb all the way to the top!”
According to Allison, this type of thoughtful, personalized instruction had a lot to do with Cole’s success at camp. “The instructors really know their stuff,” she told us. “You can tell they are passionate about the outdoors, their sports and sharing their knowledge. They are very encouraging and positive and take pride in seeing the campers improve and excel.”
As Cole’s skills grew, Allison watched his comfort level and confidence follow suit, not only in the realm of adventure sports, but in all areas of his life. “Outside of Avid4, we have seen his confidence come through in Boy Scout advancement and achieving his black belt last year. He has also made the honor roll all year this school year. He has a great sense of goal setting and perseverance and the confidence to try new things.”
And try new things he has. In his second summer at Avid4 Adventure, he went back to multi-sport camp, where he found success rock climbing, a sport he told us he never thought he’d like, but now really does. His third summer, he added a week of single-sport kayaking camp, where he got immersed in what he now says is his favorite sport. And that same year at multi-sport camp, he developed the confidence to embrace his inner mountain biker: “We went on a 13-mile ride and I was able to do it! After that, I bought a mountain bike from the Avid4 sale so I could keep riding.”
This summer, Cole is trying yet another new thing: Colorado Mountain Camp, Avid4 Adventure’s overnight camp. He says he’s looking forward to “making new friends, learning to sail and fly fish and making great memories.” When we asked him what he would say to other kids considering coming to camp, he said, “I think they should try it because they get to have new experiences and discover hidden passions they never knew they would find”—something this biking, climbing, kayaking kid knows plenty about.
Tagged: Avid4 Adventure Outdoor Adventure Camp, benefits of outdoor activities, Confidence building, getting kids outside, healthy families, Healthy Kids, kids and confidence, kids outdoor activities, outdoor skill building, summer camp