Sibling rivalry might be a fact of life, but one place your kids are sure to find some common ground is at summer camp. At camp, arguments over who got the bigger piece of the cookie or what movie to watch are nothing but distant memories and children are instead able to focus on building confidence, independence, and fostering positive relationships- including those with their brothers or sisters. Every sibling dynamic is different, so every sibling camp experience is equally different, but camp is often a place where sibling relationships can grow and flourish.
For some siblings, going to camp together carries feelings of excitement and joy. Every step of the camp preparation process- from selecting a camp to packing up the bags and loading the bus- provides opportunities for siblings to come together and share their enthusiasm. While at camp, kids have the chance to spend time together while also finding time to be independent. Many campers carve out a special time to meet up with their sibling each day to catch up on the latest events and share the excitement of the day. Having a sibling at camp means you are sure to have someone cheering you on at the talent show, someone to share your pride with after scoring a goal on the soccer field, and someone to proudly wear the friendship bracelet you have been working on all week. Sharing a camp experience can teach children to appreciate their siblings unlike they ever have previously. Siblings with a positive relationship going into camp are likely to leave camp with a stronger relationship than ever after some time away at camp together.
For other siblings, the idea of going to camp together may be less endearing. It might seem counter-intuitive to send kids who often argue and fight away to camp together, but camp is the perfect environment for siblings who have a tumultuous relationship. Camp enables children to be as independent or dependent from each other as they choose. At home, a certain amount of “forced togetherness” can create tension between siblings, but at camp, children have the freedom to choose how and with whom they spend their time. When kids gain the ability to hangout and spend sibling time on their own terms, we often find that kids are much more open and willing to build positive relationships with their sisters or brothers. Oftentimes, kids who normally cannot stand to hangout with their little sister or older brother at home actually choose to spend bonding time with their siblings when they head off to camp.
First time campers often find comfort in knowing that their sibling is accompanying them to camp. Even though campers spend much of their time with other children in their bunk or age group, having a familiar face and someone to check in with at meals and camp events can make being away from home a little easier. The passing hug between activities or special lunch periods that many camper siblings plan together help kids to support each other and build strong sibling bonds that are able to withstand anything that comes their way.
Regardless of the type and strength of the relationship that siblings share outside of camp, a summer at camp is an experience that provides some common ground for kids to share and build a stronger relationship from. While at camp, your kids will become a part of something special that they have been through together, over which they will able to reminisce over for decades to come. After returning from camp, you might find that your kids suddenly have a lot more in common than they did when they left home- inside jokes, stories of wild camp events, and a little more respect for one another than you ever would have dreamed of before time at camp together.