You’re a 12-year-old girl. Your parents signed you up for a week at Muskoka Woods and you don’t know anyone. You’ve just walked into your cabin for the first time and you’re staring at all new faces as you meet your cabin mates.
You’re a nine-year-old boy. Sure, you’re a little smaller than the rest of the boys in your class but you can run fast and do pretty well in gym class. But right now, you’re staring up at the ropes course at Muskoka Woods that you’re absolutely positive is higher than the trees… right?
Fast-forward to the end of the week and you’ve not only blended in with your cabin mates, but you’ve made best friends and exchanged numbers so you can text on the daily when you get back to the city. And you got to the top of the ropes course because you had the encouragement of your cabin mates/new best friends.
This is just one example of how summer camp — and Muskoka Woods, specifically — can help build your child’s confidence.
Adolescence and mental health
According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, girls ages nine to 13 experience sharp declines in self-confidence and are more likely to experience depression. In a study the foundation conducted, 36% of girls in Grade 6 said they were self-confident, however by Grade 10, that number plummeted to just 14%. Moreover, both boys and girls reported the same level of depression — about once a week — in Grade 6, yet by Grade 10, girls jumped to three times more likely than boys to feel depressed. For adolescent girls, depression can stem from low self-esteem, negative body image and feelings of helplessness.
Boys are not immune, either. According to the Liahona Academy, boys ages 12 to 17 often go through a period where they feel intense insecurity, while they struggle to find their place in the world.
How Muskoka Woods can help
Every day at camp, your child will enjoy a variety of activities with their cabin mates — from tubing on beautiful Lake Rosseau through reaching new heights on our high ropes course with instruction tailored just for their age group. Pushing their limits in a safe environment shows them that they can achieve anything they put their minds to, which has a lasting effect long after camp is over.
Meeting new people and making new friends is also a great way to boost your child’s self-confidence. Being able to unplug and surround themselves with like-minded guests will foster friendships that can last a lifetime as they bond over shared experiences, often for the first time.
Lastly, because Muskoka Woods has a staff of over 350, it allows the camp to maintain a four-guest to two-staff ratio. This is important because it means staff always have a colleague close by to help with the guests of the camp and a partner is never far away when they need supporting their guests’ emotional and physical needs. Plus, it gives guests that one-on-one attention they often need to foster communication and feel inspired to ask questions they might not have the confidence to do in a bigger group.
This post was updated on January 20, 2022.
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.