One of the best parts about running dance camps for 14 summers, is that alumni campers, parents and staff send us inspiring stories about how dance camp has helped shape who they are today.
Here are 9 common themes we've identified from these stories - 9 signs you're benefiting from the true value of dance camp...
Sign #1 – You Remember To Have FUN
We think an important value of dance camp is just remembering how to have fun. At camp you get to slow down, remember you're ALIVE, savor simple pleasures and do the things that give you joy.
Sign #2 - You Shift Your Perception
At ADTC, we say that summer is a time of miracles. We define “miracle” as a shift in perception from fear to love. A miracle can come when you’re one with a movement, the music, or your new friends. But no matter if it comes in a smile, a performance or a kayak, when you feel it, you just know.
We think girls need more miracles…more self-love. And the world needs more inspired women.
Sign #3 – You Develop Intrinsic Motivation
A value of dance camp is that it inspires intrinsic motivation – autonomy, competence, connection, and a “flow” state you can’t achieve when you’re doing something for someone else or for an external reward.
According to ADTC Founder, Lindsey Fadner, “attending overnight gymnastics camp for 8 summers gave me the ability to love myself in a way I didn’t know I was capable of during school years focused on grades, clicks, going to the mall and prom.”
Sign #4 – You Learn Socio-Emotional Skills
Is empathy taught at school? Not really. There may be a banner in the gym saying, “be kind” or “don’t bully,” but we don’t learn values from banners. We learn values in real time, where it’s meaningful.
And research shows that we learn empathy by watching people around us. A value of dance camp is that teachable moments are happening all the time.
Sign #5 – You Practice Resilience
In her book, Teach Your Children Well, Madeline Levine, PhD writes that overnight camp fosters resilience. Resilience allows us to deal with the inevitable changes & losses in life.
We develop coping skills by being in situations that push us out of our comfort zones. And that’s another value of dance camp - every day we’re presented with a whole new set of challenges, some of which are easily accomplished, others of which take persistence, grit, and learning new skills.
Sign #6 – You Take Time to Reflect
Going away to overnight camp also provides a valuable time for reflection. Most girls don't have time to reflect when every minute is scheduled with high-pressure classes and activities.
A value of dance camp is it provides a tight-knit all girl community where we can feel safe to reconnect with the authentic “selves” so many of us struggle to hold on to during the school year. And at dance camp, we aren’t bombarded by confusing, fear-based messages that tell us to be skinner, wear makeup, and dress for boys.
Sign #7 – You Develop a Stronger Sense of Self
At camp, we develop a stronger sense of self and figure out who we are, which will prove invaluable when we’re faced with life's inevitable challenges later on.
At camp, you're in new situations, you're meeting new people, you're trying activities you've never tried before…you have to figure out how to meet social challenges, how to solve problems, how to pack your bag and find your dance shoes. In the process, you stretch and grow in meaningful ways.
Sign #8 – You Savor Doing What You Love
A particular value of dance camp is girls with a specific interest that is not always rewarded during the school year can get a lot of recognition.
At dance camp, girls who love dance get to showcase their talents and make new friends with the same interest. Instead of feeling bored or frustrated, they get to be excited and engaged. This may be a new feeling.
Sign #9 – You Grow More Confident
Another value of dance camp is it gives girls the opportunity to earn competence in fun, doable tasks - whether it's in friendship bracelets or choreographing a dance - and this leads to new confidence. And we believe competence and confidence promote self-esteem, not trophies for just showing up.