There’s a growing conversation revolving around children and grit and resiliency. During the COVID pandemic, kids became afraid of doing normal kid things—going to school, touching and exploring the world, spending time with others, and playing at the park. For an extended period of time, the world was cooped up, isolated, and limited. In the years that have followed, we’ve seen an uptick in anxiety among children and a decreased ability to navigate stressful situations on their own.

Grit or resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a challenge. An entire generation of kids started their journey to developing grit with a handicap. They were stunted by the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Summer camp can help.

The key to building grit is to offer challenges in safe spaces. A child joins a new team, uncertain that they will do well, but they feel safe because they know their parent’s love for them isn’t based on their performance. A teen puts themselves out there and auditions for the school play because their peers are encouraging and supportive. When we feel safe, and when we know we are in a safe place, we feel more able to take on a new challenge or try a new thing. The more we try, the more we develop grit.

Summer camp is ripe with opportunities just like this. It is a safe place, a place where your counselors relate to what you’re going through, where you can ask questions without being ridiculed, and where everyone comes from the same community of faith. It is a place that encourages curiosity and risk, but always provides a safety net of people and friendships to fall back on.

Take on the challenge of the rock wall, knowing that your belay partner will catch you if you fall. Go down the mud slide in the creek, knowing that all of your friends are cheering for you at the bottom. Crawl into the dark cave because your counselor is right beside you holding the light. Try a new food. Face a fear. Make a friend. Day in and day out, summer camp is all about providing a safe place to be challenged. Summer camp makes gritty kids.

Every parent wants to protect their child from things that are difficult. However, as we let them choose to be challenged, reminding them that we have their backs the whole way, we will see kids blossom into young adults ready to tackle life and whatever may come. So we invite you to come get gritty with us at summer camp! Take the risk. We’ve got you.