New England Base Camp Fall 2015 - Page 5

See Kids In Their Natural Habitat! There is some serious playing going on at New England Base Camp. Base Camp is not about providing entertainment; rather it is about providing an urgently needed environment for children, young adults and families. It is about health. In the outdoors, parents and caregivers don’t have to “make” their children curious or “push” their children to learn. It happens very naturally. In today’s world the effects from nature deficiencies coupled with a sedentary lifestyle has serious implications for the long-term health and well being of our Nation’s children. Several scientific and medical studies predict that the next generation of children is expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Being outside and playing in an unstructured environment plays a pivotal role in childhood development. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics playtime is important to the healthy development of the brain: Undirected play helps children learn how to work collaboratively, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills; When play is child-driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover areas of interest on their own, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue; When adults control play - such as in organized sports - children have to follow adult rules and concerns (like winning) and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership and group skills. Play offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with their children, Play offers an unscheduled time that allows for peer interactions an important component of social-emotional learning; and Free, child-driven, creative play protects against the effects of pressure and stress. That’s why there is a New England Base Camp