If there’s one thing we really love to do here at Camp Timberlake, it’s playing. Take a walk past Lake Doris, and you will see swimmers playing water polo or having crazy dive contests. Stroll up to Spencer’s Green, and there will be a full-field ultimate frisbee game or a heated World Cup competition in soccer. And don’t even get me started on the playing we do during evening activity. From Sock War to Pirate Ball to Commando, our boys love to play.

Have you ever stopped to think about why we play so much at camp? Sure, it’s a ton of fun, but for us there’s more to it than that. Our mission is growth through friends and adventure, and we are constantly working to help our boys develop into healthy and happy young men. We believe that playing is a huge part of that process, and we’re not the only ones.

Dr. Shimi Kang is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, researcher, author, and speaker who specializes in adolescence and addiction. In reference to the importance of play, Dr. Kang writes, “…play activates the prefrontal cortex of our brains. When we play we develop that area of critical thinking and adaptability. We become comfortable with unpredictability. Play is how we learn to adapt.”

When addressing play specifically in the context of summer camps, Dr Kang adds, “Free play also increases social bonding…Camp allows children the play, the connection with others, and the downtime that are so important, and it allows them to discover what their unique gifts are”.1

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why when we see our boys planning a raid in Capture the Flag or flying down the slip ‘n’ slide at top speed, we see more than just that moment or game. We see lifelong friendships being formed and critical life skills being developed. We see the power of play. Join us this summer.

Director, Camp Timberlake

1Source: Dr. Shimi Kang interview with ACA.org, https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/camping-magazine/anxiety-importance-play-interview-shimi-kang-md