As a school psychologist during the school year, I experience the amazing social and emotional growth that occurs in our wonderful yeshiva day schools. In addition to the academic skills that our students are being taught, attention is focused on their emotional and social development as well. As a Camp Director at Camp 613 I have seen how the day camp environment provides a growth opportunity for children to develop socially and emotionally in a number of unique ways.
Day camps bring together students from different communities and schools, providing an opportunity for all children to experience inclusiveness. Everyone belongs regardless of their background, similarities or differences. In an ungraded, non academic environment, children are able to see each individual as unique and special and to embrace each other’s differences. Our camp has participated in multiple fundraisers over the years, whether it has been a camp-wide color run, swimathon or danceathon, the children not only had a blast, but also learned about the importance of teamwork as well as inclusion.
In camp, children have a multitude of teachable opportunities.Throughout the day a camper will typically participate in sports, bunk time, creative pursuits and interactive programming activities to practice resolving conflicts in a relaxed setting with their peers. They learn how to communicate honestly and kindly to each other—even when they are upset. They also have counselors to serve as role models for how to handle disagreements and difficult social situations.
Campers come to camp with previously developed friendships, but leave camp with many more, as camp is the perfect friendship incubator. On a daily basis, campers learn to share, take turns, respect one another and develop listening and empathy skills.
As a fun and relaxed setting, day camp is a wonderful opportunity for our children to not only enjoy themselves, but also to gain and develop these valuable social skills while having an amazing summer experience.
By Rabbi Dr. Daniel Herrmann
Dr. Daniel Herrmann has been the Director of Psychological Services at Hillel Yeshiva in Deal, NJ for the last 12 years, and part of Camp 613’s head staff for the last six years, where he serves as Camp Director, overseeing staff and campers ranging in age from Nursery through eighth grade. He serves as a consultant to teachers, principals, and parents regarding mental health, behavioral, social-emotional, and educational concerns. He received his Bachelors degree from Yeshiva College and his PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School. Dr. Herrmann also received his rabbinic ordination from RIETS.