The woods offer a special reprieve from daily life at the same time that they present unusual challenges, and it’s this combination that makes camping such a wonderful avenue of growth. Beyond the fun and fresh air, camping can teach teens and pre-teens valuable life lessons and a wide range of experiences opportunities for self-discovery, learning and physical and mental wellness.
The unfortunate truth is that you need to be responsible for yourself at all times. This has always been the top if not second to none, lesson while camping.
Camping builds and strengthens bonds. When you camp with friends, you rely on each other in ways that are important. If you’re hiking to your campsite for the night, the world is reduced to your campmates. Suddenly your tribe is small.
The best conversations happen around that campfire. The conversations and interactions while camping often has a deeper, more playful, and more soulful timbre. You’re not distracted with the million banalities of life; you can focus on this night, this fire, this group of good people.
Spend a few consecutive nights in nature, away from artificial sources of illumination, and you’ll find yourself reverting to the natural cycles of light. You’ll wake when the sun rises instead of when the alarm clock chimes. Without the artificial input of a thousand devices and the glare of a thousand light bulbs, you’ll find your circadian rhythm kicking in.
Camping shouldn’t be an unpleasurable or overwhelmingly uncomfortable experience, but you may have to face life without padded walls for a few hours. This is a good thing. The point isn’t to suffer, but your sleeping arrangements don’t need to include a memory-foam mattress. You may feel chilly, so step closer to the fire. You may not have your favorite snack on hand, so you’ll appreciate what you do have.
Go into the tiny discomforts with gratitude, and they’ll melt away by the light of the campfire.