Camps that develop responsibility

Take ownership of thoughts and actions, and develop an awareness of consequences

Responsibility is:
• Awareness of the relationship between behaviour and consequences
• Willingness to take ownership of consequences, good and bad

Camp encourages responsibility in kids, “[getting them] to the point where they start seeing things that need to get done [without the] need to ask it,” in the words of Audrey Monke. "Ultimately, kids feel better knowing that they can be responsible for themselves." Below the list, read definitions of independence from camp leaders like Monke, as well as parents and campers, and learn how experiences at camp foster this trait. Read more




List of camps and programs that help kids learn and grow in responsibility

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  • Dance (multi)
  • Music (multi)
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual arts (multi)
  • Computer programming (multi)
  • Academic / Tutoring
  • Science (multi)


FEATURED

Glen Bernard Camp   

Huntsville

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

A traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, swimming and lifesaving, arts and many other activities! Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,325
guitarmusicmultivocaltrainingsingingartscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingpaintingphotovideopotteryceramicswoodworkingbronzecrossfirstaidlifesavingboardsailingaquaticscanoeingkayakingseakayakingsailingmarineskillsswimmingarcherygolfhikingmountainbikingrockclimbingsoccertennistrampolinevolleyballziplinetraditionalmultiactivityaquaticsovernightcampallgirls13254-16HuntsvilleOnlineOntario2021-07-01
FEATURED

InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Big Clear Lake   

Hamilton; Huntsville; Land O' Lakes Tourist Region

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

Circle Square Ranch is a life changing Christian summer camp for kids and teens ages 6-17. We offer a wide range of activities including horseback riding and water sports. Your summer adventure with friends starts here! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $499
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FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

Overnight and day camps, with activities including horsemanship, swimming, high ropes, climbing wall, archery, campfires, tomahawks, and much more. Leadership and horse specialty camps also offered. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $240
ropecoursesartscraftsvisualartsmultileadershiptrainingleadershiparcherybadmintongagahorsebackridingequestrianrockclimbingsoccertrampolinevolleyballtraditionalmultiactivityleadershipovernightcampcoedallgirlsallboys2405-16BrantfordOntario2021-07-01
FEATURED

Radiant Girls   

Burlington; Tillsonburg

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day Camp, Virtual Program

Girls Wellness & Leadership programs, with prof. coaches, chef's and trainers. Featuring Yoga/Pilates, Outdoor Adventures, Art, Leadership Games, Relationship Building, Self Care, Coaching, and More! Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 18
  • Girls
  • from $180
artscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingfilmmakingpaintingpapiermachephotovideocitlitprogramleadershipleadershiptrainingsocialjusticeempowermentsupercampnatureenvironmentpublicspeakingdebatewritingjournalismmeditationmindfulnesstrainingnutritionpilatesstrengthandconditioninghikingyogacreativewritingweightlossprogramtraditionalmultiactivityleadershipdaycampvirtualprogramallgirls1807-18BurlingtonTillsonburgOnlineOntario2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-01
FEATURED

ePrograms   

Richmond Hill

  • Arts (multi)
  • Virtual Program

Online group programs and private lessons in Music, Art, Cooking, Finance 101 and more taught by Superstar instructors from Canada's most prestigious orchestras and institutions. Perfect for kids and teens ages 10-18. Read more...

  • Ages 10 to 25
  • Coed
  • from $240
gleemusicmultiguitarjamcampmusicrecordingmusicalinstrumenttrainingpianostringvocaltrainingsingingartsmultivirtualprogramcoed24010-25Richmond HillOnlineOntario2021-01-012021-02-01
FEATURED
  • Arts: Visual arts (multi)
  • Virtual Program

The McMichael provides an unmatched backdrop for children, youth and family programs. For details on Virtual Programs, Children's Camps, Art Classes, Accessible Studio Workshops and Family Days visit mcmichael.com today! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $90
artscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingpaintingphotovideonatureenvironmentartsartsmultivisualartsmultivirtualprogramcoed905-15VaughanOnlineOntario
FEATURED

Camp Wenonah   

Bracebridge

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

Trusted by families from around the world, Wenonah is a popular overnight summer camp in Muskoka Ontario for children aged 5 - 17 years old. Experienced and caring staff team, including full-time medical staff. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $1,155
firstaidlifesavingarcherycanoeingaquaticsfishinggolfhikingkayakingseakayakingsailingmarineskillssoccerswimmingtennisvolleyballrockclimbingpingponggagaartscraftsvisualartsmultipaintingdrawingpotteryceramicsguitarmusicmultiwildernessouttrippingwildernessskillstraditionalmultiactivityleadershipovernightcampcoed11555-17BracebridgeOnlineOntario2021-07-012021-08-01
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

An award winning Christian summer camp in Muskoka for ages 5 to 17 featuring dozens of awesome activities, teen programs in leadership development and wilderness adventure & unforgettable experiences for every camper! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $450
ropecourseswildernessouttrippingwildernessskillsvocaltrainingsingingmusicmultiartscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingpaintingphotovideonatureenvironmentarcherybaseballsoftballbasketballbmxmotocrossboardsailingaquaticscanoeingcheercyclingdivingfishingfootballhikingkayakingseakayakingmountainbikingrockclimbingskateboardingsoccersportsinstructionalandtrainingswimmingvolleyballtraditionalmultiactivityovernightcampcoedallgirlsallboys4505-17HuntsvilleOntario2021-07-012021-08-01
FEATURED

Outward Bound Canada   

North Toronto, Toronto; Algonquin Park; Huntsville; Kananaskis; Vancouver Island

  • Adventure (multi)
  • Overnight Camp

Outward Bound Canada provides challenging adventures in the outdoors across the country that develop self-respect, awareness of others, interpersonal skills, and a sense of accomplishment. Read more...

  • Ages 12 to 99
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $779
travelwildernessouttrippingwildernessskillscookingphotovideovisualartsmultiinstructorleadgroupacademictutoringleadershiptrainingleadershipsocialjusticeempowermentnatureenvironmentwritingjournalismfirstaidlifesavingmindfulnesstrainingcanoeingaquaticsswimminghikingadventuremultiovernightcampcoedallgirlsallboys77912-99North Toronto, TorontoAlgonquin ParkHuntsvilleKananaskisVancouver IslandAlberta, British Columbia, OntarioUptown2021-07-01
FEATURED
  • Education: STEM
  • Virtual Program

30+ STEAM activities, academic courses to develop each child's inner innovative thinking. Robotics, AI, Coding (Java, Arduino, HTML, Python) Math, Abacus, University prep courses, open to the world and Canada Fr/En. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $190
mathstemtestpreparationeducationeducationmultistemvirtualprogramcoed1904-18MississaugaOnlineOntario2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-01
FEATURED

TAC Sports - Toronto Athletic Camps   

Don Mills, Toronto; Hogg's Hollow, Toronto; Thornhill; Vaughan

  • Sport (multi)
  • Day Camp

TAC Sports, TAC Aquatics and Lifetime Skills Academy (LSA) specialize in sports, swim and S.T.E.M programming. Ages 4-16, Co-ed. Year round Camps, Lessons, Academy and House Leagues across the GTA! Grow, Learn, Lead! Read more...

  • Ages 3.5 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $250
storytellingballetdancemultihiphopjazzartscraftsvisualartsmulti3dprintingjavacomputerprogrammingmultiscratchvideogamewebdesignentrepreneurshipfinancialliteracyleadershiptrainingleadershipsteamswimmingaquaticsbasketballcyclingsoccertenniscookinglanguageinstructionnutritiongymnasticssportsinstructionalandtrainingsportmultidaycampcoed2503.5-16Don Mills, TorontoHogg's Hollow, TorontoThornhillVaughanOntarioNorth-York2021-06-012021-07-012021-08-01
FEATURED
  • Education (multi)
  • Day Camp

Transformative experiences learning in and through the outdoors—academic, athletic, for credit or enrichment. Spend every day outdoors on the water, in the forest, or at our farm—learn, have fun and stretch yourself. Read more...

  • Ages 13 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $450
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Prestige School Summer Programme   

Willowdale, Toronto; Richmond Hill

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program

A day camp with weekly themes that incorporate adventurous outings, artistic creations, scientific experiments, and much more. Read more...

  • Ages 3 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $350
instructorleadgroupacademictutoringcreditcoursesmathzoologyanimalssciencemultiinstructorleadoneononetestpreparationlanguageinstructionreadingwritingjournalismtraditionalmultiactivityvirtualprogramcoed3503-12Willowdale, TorontoRichmond HillOnlineOntarioNorth-York2021-07-012021-08-01

Oxford Learning High Park   

Bloor West Village, Toronto

  • Education (multi)
  • Virtual Program

Oxford means a personalized learning experience for your child. Veriety of programs for the students of all ages. Learning takes a fun turn. Our students are excited to learn! Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $100
instructorleadgroupacademictutoringlanguageinstructionwritingjournalismeducationmultivirtualprogramcoed1004-12Bloor West Village, TorontoOnlineOntarioWest-End

Ryerson Day Camps   

Bay Street Corridor, Toronto

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program

Ryerson University offers safe and fun experiences for kids and teens. Programs include architecture, basketball, engineering, film, graphic design, robotics, science, soccer, and more! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $270
leadershiptrainingleadershipsportsinstructionalandtrainingtraditionalmultiactivityleadershipvirtualprogramcoed2706-17Bay Street Corridor, TorontoOnlineOntarioDowntown2021-07-012021-08-01

Top Class Edge Learning   

Bayview Village, Toronto; Markham; Richmond Hill

  • Education: Academic/Tutoring
  • Virtual Program

We strive for strategic tutoring and proven methods to help students master English, Math, and Sciences. Expert tutors combine challenging lessons and personalized feedback with excellent habits and learning skills. Read more...

  • Ages 11 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $55
instructorleadgroupacademictutoringinstructorleadoneononelanguageinstructionmathreadingstemtestpreparationwritingjournalismeducationeducationmultiacademictutoringvirtualprogramcoed5511-18Bayview Village, TorontoMarkhamRichmond HillOnlineOntarioNorth-York2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-01

Bytown Brigantine Tall Ships Adventure   

Harbourfront, Toronto; Brockville; Ottawa

  • Adventure: Travel
  • Day Camp, Overnight Camp

An outdoor adventure camp on a tall ship: building leadership, good citizenship & lifelong friendships. Ages 12-14 on Black Jack in small team-building groups & ages 14+ on Fair Jeanne, earning HS credit on select trips. Read more...

  • Ages 12 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $900
sailingmarineskillsaquaticsadventureadventuremultitravelaquaticsdaycampovernightcampcoed90012-18Harbourfront, TorontoBrockvilleOttawaOnlineOntarioDowntown2021-07-012021-08-01

Eco Camp    

Orangeville

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day Camp

If you want your child to have fun, learn about the earth and be outside ... you are sending them to the right place!! Your child will come home tired, happy, and probably a little dirty - which we think is perfect!! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 14
  • Coed
  • from $350
wildernessskillsartscraftsvisualartsmultipaintingcitlitprogramleadershipleadershiptrainingcanoeingaquaticsfishingarcheryhikinglacrossemountainbikingsoccertraditionalmultiactivitydaycampcoed3505-14OrangevilleOntario2021-07-01

Rooks to Cooks   

Downsview, Toronto; Vaughan; Whitby

  • Arts: Cooking
  • Virtual Program

Engaging, educational and fun! We offer unique, intensive virtual cooking programs for kids, ages 7+. Kids learn to cook, but they also learn about nutrition, team-work, problem-solving and much more! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $175
bakingdecoratingcookingnutritionartscraftsvisualartsmultiartsartsmulticookingvirtualprogramcoed1756-16Downsview, TorontoVaughanWhitbyOnlineOntarioNorth-York2021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-01
  • Sport: Sailing/Marine Skills
  • Day Camp

Looking for a fun and affordable camp on Toronto's waterfront? Learn to sail, make new friends and enjoy Lake Ontario. Join the National Yacht Club Sailing & Racing School and get out on the water this summer! Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $303
travelartscraftsvisualartsmultinatureenvironmentengineeringsciencemultifirstaidlifesavingsailingmarineskillsaquaticsswimmingsportssportmultisailingmarineskillsaquaticsdaycampcoed3037-18Harbourfront, TorontoOntarioDowntown2021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-012021-09-01
  • Sport: Golf
  • Day Camp

This summer your child can learn the fundamentals of GOLF at Salazar Golf Academy, where having fun is our number one rule. We have many returning campers every year, and we look forward to greeting new campers. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $379
golfsportssportmultigolfdaycampcoed3797-16MarkhamOnlineOntario2021-06-012021-07-012021-08-01

Laurus Summer Camp   

Throughout Quebec (6)

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day Camp

Montreal, Laval and Beaconsfield's #1 Lifestyle Summer day camp! We blend fun, education & specialty training in arts, academics and sports! Weekly program for kids ages 3 - 15! Registration is open in November for 2020! Read more...

  • Ages 3 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $150
puppetrystorytellingbakingdecoratingcookingbreakdancingdancemultihiphopjazzfantasysuperheromarveluniverseavengerspercussionmusicmultisongwritingvocaltrainingsingingmagicperformingartsmusicaltheatretheatreartsplaywritingartscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingpaintingphotovideoroboticsvideogamewebdesigninstructorleadgroupacademictutoringentrepreneurshiplanguageinstructioncitlitprogramleadershipleadershiptrainingsocialjusticeempowermentsupercampmathnatureenvironmentmarinebiologysciencemultisafarispacezoologyanimalsstemfirstaidlifesavingmindfulnesstrainingnutritionstrengthandconditioningbasketballhockeysoccersportsinstructionalandtrainingyogatraditionalmultiactivityleadershipdaycampcoed1503-15BeaconsfieldLavalMontrealWestmountOnlineQuebec2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-01
  • Education (multi)
  • Program

Quills and Quotes is an after-school education program that teaches public speaking and writing skills in one class! It includes essay and creative writing, literary analysis and comprehension. Summer/online classes. Read more...

  • Ages 8 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $250
instructorleadgroupacademictutoringlanguageinstructionpublicspeakingdebatereadingwritingjournalismeducationmultiprogramclasscoed2508-15MississaugaOnlineOntario2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-01

CASMA Camps   

Bridle Path, Toronto; Lawrence Heights, Toronto

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day Camp

High quality instruction in sport, art, music and more! Special guest speakers. All Ministry of Health health and safety measures in place. Our small group summer camp was sold out and we had zero Covid-19 cases. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $200
cookingguitarmusicmultimusicrecordingtheatreartsperformingartsartscraftsvisualartsmultidrawingpaintinginstructorleadgroupacademictutoringlanguageinstructionmathpublicspeakingdebateengineeringsciencemultistembadmintonbasketballcyclingmountainbikingsoccertennistraditionalmultiactivitydaycampcoed2004-16Bridle Path, TorontoLawrence Heights, TorontoOnlineOntarioNorth-York

Camp Hurontario   

Mactier

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

A traditional overnight camp with a variety of activities and sports including sailing, arts and crafts, leadership building and more. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Boys
  • from $900
firstaidlifesavingleadershiptrainingleadershipcitlitprogramarcheryboardsailingaquaticscanoeingfishingkayakingseakayakingsailingmarineskillsswimmingdivingrockclimbingziplineartscraftsvisualartsmultipaintingcookingjamcampmusicmultidrawingguitarpianowildernessouttrippingropecourseswildernessskillstraditionalmultiactivityovernightcampallboys9006-16MactierOnlineOntario2021-06-012021-07-01
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Program

Higher Training Basketball Academy, offering: group, private and semi private skills based basketball training. During the holiday's we offer large group basketball classes and travel for tournaments too! Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $36
basketballtennissportssportmultibasketballprogramclasscoed364-18BurlingtonOntario2021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-012021-09-012021-10-012021-11-012021-12-012022-01-012022-02-012022-03-012022-04-012022-05-012022-06-012022-07-012022-08-012022-09-012022-10-012022-11-012022-12-012023-01-012023-02-012023-03-012023-04-012023-05-012023-06-012023-07-012023-08-012023-09-012023-10-012023-11-012023-12-012024-01-012024-02-012024-03-012024-04-012024-05-012024-06-012024-07-012024-08-012024-09-012024-10-012024-11-012024-12-012025-01-012025-02-012025-03-012025-04-012025-05-012025-06-012025-07-012025-08-012025-09-012025-10-012025-11-012025-12-012026-01-012026-02-012026-03-012026-04-012026-05-012026-06-012026-07-012026-08-012026-09-012026-10-012026-11-012026-12-012027-01-012027-02-012027-03-012027-04-012027-05-012027-06-012027-07-012027-08-012027-09-012027-10-012027-11-012027-12-012028-01-012028-02-012028-03-012028-04-012028-05-012028-06-012028-07-012028-08-012028-09-012028-10-012028-11-012028-12-012029-01-012029-02-012029-03-012029-04-012029-05-012029-06-012029-07-012029-08-012029-09-01

Camp UofT Scarborough   

Highland Creek, Toronto

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program

Camp UTSC provides a virtual program for ages 5-12. Children's April Break Camp: Baking, Cooking, STEAM Lego, Magic Show, Magic Workshop and Robotics! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $26
bakingdecoratingvirtualrealityinstructorleadgroupacademictutoringtraditionalmultiactivityvirtualprogramcoed265-12Highland Creek, TorontoOnlineOntarioScarborough

LOGIMIX   

Mississauga

  • Education: Academic/Tutoring
  • Virtual Program

LOGIMIX offers enhanced and regular math, science, physics and chemistry programs all year long. Prepare students for SSAT, SAT tests, Pre-U and University levels. Dedicated help with IB math and science. Read more...

  • Ages 10 to 20
  • Coed
  • from $40
instructorleadgroupacademictutoringinstructorleadoneononefinancialliteracymathstemtestpreparationeducationeducationmultiacademictutoringvirtualprogramcoed4010-20MississaugaOnlineOntario2021-01-012021-02-012021-03-012021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-012021-09-012021-10-012021-11-012021-12-012022-01-012022-02-012022-03-012022-04-012022-05-012022-06-01

YMCA Camps Belwood, Ki-Wa-Y, Wabanaki and Day Camps   

Fergus; Guelph; Huntsville; Stratford; Waterloo

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight Camp

The YMCA of Three Rivers 3 overnight camps and 10 day camps offer a range of activities including, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, ropes and rock-climbing, BMX biking, drama, archery, and more. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 15
  • Coed, Girls
  • from $250
survivalskillswildernessskillsstorytellingcomedyfantasysuperheromarveluniverseavengersartscraftsvisualartsmultipaintingpotteryceramicscitlitprogramleadershipleadershiptrainingbronzecrossfirstaidlifesavingcanoeingaquaticsfishingkayakingseakayakingsailingmarineskillsswimmingarcherybaseballsoftballbasketballbmxmotocrosscyclinggagagymnasticshikingmountainbikingsocceryogatraditionalmultiactivityovernightcampcoedallgirls2504-15FergusGuelphHuntsvilleStratfordWaterlooOntario2021-07-012021-08-01
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program

Explore unique science and tech programs at Ontario Tech, including LEGO, Coding, Minecraft and more! Virtual camps will require minimal parent support once the camp site has been successfully accessed. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $90
animation3ddesignpythoncomputerprogrammingmultiminecraftroboticstechnologyvideogamewebdesignwebdesigndevelopmentcitlitprogramleadershipleadershiptrainingsupercamplegomakerspacemathengineeringsciencemultisteamtraditionalmultiactivityvirtualprogramcoed906-17OshawaOnlineOntario2021-07-01

COOKSMART   

Bloor West Village, Toronto; Mississauga

  • Arts: Cooking
  • Virtual Program

Get the kids cooking and learning more life skills! Our program has gone virtual and the kids are loving cooking together to make tasty foods for their family. Easy meals, healthy snacks make this the best Zoom class. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 99
  • Coed
  • from $5
cookingmathnatureenvironmentmindfulnesstrainingnutritionartsartsmulticookingvirtualprogramcoed54-99Bloor West Village, TorontoMississaugaOnlineOntarioWest-End2021-04-012021-05-012021-06-012021-07-01

Reidmount Discovery School   

Harbourfront, Toronto; Brampton; Burlington; Mississauga; Vancouver

  • Education (multi)
  • Virtual Program

Virtual Saturday classes, for all students who needs to excel, enhance or accelerate their academics. Our teachers will work to improve your child's grades from JK-Grade 12 for Math, English, Science, Writing and Coding. Read more...

  • Ages 3 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $600
webdesigndevelopmentcreativewritinginstructorleadgroupacademictutoringentrepreneurshipfinancialliteracylanguageinstructionleadershiptrainingleadershipsocialjusticeempowermentsupercampmathnatureenvironmentpublicspeakingdebatereadingarchitecturesciencemultiengineeringhealthsciencemarinebiologymedicalsciencespacezoologyanimalssteamstemtestpreparationwritingjournalismdrawingvisualartsmultisafarieducationmultivirtualprogramcoed6003-18Harbourfront, TorontoBramptonBurlingtonMississaugaVancouverBritish Columbia, OntarioDowntown2021-07-012021-08-012021-09-012021-10-012021-11-012021-12-012022-01-012022-02-012022-03-012022-04-012022-05-012022-06-01

Defining responsibility

“Responsibility in kids,” begins Audrey Monke, consists of “learning to do tasks for themselves without requiring constant supervision, needing to be reminded, needing to be watched or needing someone else to keep track of things for them.” It could be simple tasks they complete on their own, like brushing their teeth, knowing their routine, or keeping track of their belongings. “It’s really just learning to do it for yourself. It’s contributing and helping out with your family and community, without having to be ... externally reminded.”

The author of Happy Campers draws on impressive personal experience in her understanding of, and helping children develop responsibility. She’s owner and director of Gold Arrow Camp, a youth summer camp in California. She also operates SunshineParenting.com and runs a podcast wherein she interviews parenting experts, authors and youth development professionals. Happy Campers is an acclaimed parenting guide that offers parents nine secrets from summer camp they can implement at home. Her professional insight comes from over 30 years of first-hand experience with thousands of children, young adult staff, and parents, work that began with a Masters in Psychology focused on youth wellbeing and social skills. 

She sees her job now as “working with parents, teachers and camp counsellors and giving them simple tools to create the connection and happiness that we create at camp.” 

How to develop responsibility

Responsibility is a skill children develop over time. Typically, they’re taught responsibility by watching their parents, counsellors and teachers model this trair. However, children learn even more fully, when given duties of their own. 

Monke illustrates from Gold Arrow Camp how responsibility can be developed within a child. One summer, she saw that whenever camp counsellors told campers to grab their bathing suits to go swimming, many campers didn’t know where their bathing suits were or couldn’t find them in their bags. “It was there,” she explains, “but it had been very carefully packed by their parents who weren’t there.” From then on, she’s requested that parents let children pack their own bags. Parents can coach, support and check their children’s bags to ensure they have everything they need, but this simple task will begin to develop responsibility within a child.

“It’s a very unsettling feeling,” she says, “to not know where your things are or to feel like you can’t find something. Ultimately, kids feel better knowing that they can be responsible for themselves.” 

At camp, she always encourages children to ask, “what else can I do?” She’s seen campers finish up an activity then leave their supplies behind without cleaning up. Rather than assuming you’re done with an activity and can leave, it’s important to ask the person in charge what else you can do to help. “What eventually happens [after asking this],” she says, “is that [kids] get to the point where [they] start seeing all the things that need to get done and [they] may not need to ask it anymore.” At camp, she sees children adopt and develop these responsible behaviours for themselves. 

Camp gives children models they can follow. They’re given tasks and they see consequences of not following through with responsibilities. A welcoming environment is necessary to ensure that the child feels supported as they navigate through their decision-making processes. 

What is an example of responsibility?

Sherri Cully, parent of a camper at Radiant Girls camp, agrees with Monke that responsibility is “key in life.”  

She believes it’s necessary to be accountable for your own actions to function in society. Her daughter, Hailey, has become more responsible since attending Radiant Girls. There, she was made aware of the repercussions of her actions, and developed a sense of accountability. 

“Because [Hailey was] given specific things [she] had to do,” she learned responsibility, “not only for specific chores … but also to own her actions.” Camp focused on the notion that every action had a reaction and Sherri believes this mentality helped her daughter foster and nurture her own sense of responsibility. 

Why is responsibility important to children’s development? 

“Probably the most important thing is that you’ll have a better life,” Monke begins. The benefits of responsibility are endless. “Kids will have better relationships, they’ll do better in their career, they’ll be able to manage their home, their finances, everything.” When parents teach children  responsibility from an early age, they have a solid foundation to grow on, as they get older. 

Responsibility is a key trait people look for when they’re considering someone to work with or someone to be friends with. Monke attests to the fact that people are drawn to “someone [who] is dependable and responsible and will follow through on something that is their job or duty, whatever that may be.” This can, in turn, be foundational to developing other valuable traits. 

When a child learns responsibility, they learn about perseverance, patience, hard work, time management, accountability, and more. They learn the importance of following through with their tasks, developing this as a habit, without being told. In turn, they develop independence and feel needed as others recognize their reliability. 

What we teach camp counsellors ... is to allow the kids the time they need to figure it out. It’s really hard to do this as a parent.

When they develop responsibility at an early age, children gain experience in thinking through options in challenging situations. They learn personal accountability, grow problem-solving skills and improve decision-making. These all help children later, in real-world scenarios, as they face academic challenges, navigate the workforce and grow into adulthood. 

Monke sees that when children exercise responsibility in camp, it gives them empowerment and confidence. She believes that, “increased responsibility and becoming more capable [helps kids] gain confidence by actually doing things.” Give children independent tasks like vacuuming or putting their toys away, and they “feel so grown up ... they take the task so seriously.” 

How do social environments accelerate the growth of responsibility? 

The singular aspect about camps that encourages responsibility “is that your parents aren’t there,” says Monke. Knowing they can’t run back to their parents for help, they learn to figure things out on their own. “And also, the adults in charge have more children that they’re watching so by default, kids need to do more for themselves. It’s actually really good for kids to be in environments where they’re asked to be responsible for more than themselves.”

Something as simple as hanging a sweatshirt is an act of responsibility. At home, a parent might be more likely to do a task like this for them. “A default behaviour for parents is to just do [things] for [their] kids, especially when it’s expedient,” Monke explains. Of course, “default behaviour for kids is to wait ... and see if someone else is going to step in,” she adds. “What we teach camp counsellors ... is to allow the kids the time they need to figure it out.” She emphasizes that these tasks might then take longer to complete, but that’s necessary, to give children personal lessons in responsibility. ”It’s really hard to do this as a parent,” that’s why it benefits them to let children go to camp, she says. The thing to remember, though, is that these "experiences are really helpful for kids," as unique opportunities "to take responsibility.”

Want your child to enhance their responsibility?

If you find it difficult to step back and allow your child to learn responsibility, camp is a great teacher. At camp, children learn on their own, listen to instructions, work as a team, develop leadership skills, work as a team, and follow through with duties. The independence of camp fosters responsibility as they respond to situations without parents present. 



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