The benefits of spending time outdoors and connecting with nature have been well established for years now. It could be said that a connection with nature is simply a human need.

These days, it’s certainly not uncommon for people, especially children, to be “nature-deprived”. This is by no means a clinical diagnosis – it’s really just a state of being. But for health professionals, the lack of connection with nature can pose potential health and well-being issues. The answer, of course, is to get outdoors more frequently and connect more often with nature.

Today, the connection with nature is being pre-empted by busy schedules at home and at work, by the Internet and electronic gadgets, and by a reluctance to sacrifice the comforts of an indoor living environment. The good news is that for many people, the outdoors and nature is becoming increasingly important again. Parents are encouraging outdoor activities and sports. Many so-called “nature pre-schools” are getting children outside throughout the year. Even business people are promoting outdoor events to support employee health.

Needless to say, summer camp offers the best of all worlds – plenty of outdoor activities, a direct connection with nature and an understanding of how this type of lifestyle benefits both health and wellbeing. It’s not necessary to be an environmentalist or an outdoorsman to appreciate the benefits of the outdoors. And it’s not necessary to be a child psychologist to understand the clear advantages of connecting with nature versus connecting with the Internet. For parents, one of the best ways to encourage all of this is through summer camp.

In today’s day and age, many more people live in the city than in the country. Unfortunately, cityscapes are not always rich with parkland, green space, or natural surroundings. Summer camp, on the other hand, provides it all in one package – especially camps like Camp Ak-O-Mak that emphasize natural landscapes, a focus on the outdoors and a break from electronic media.

The truth is, with a good alternative, kids won’t miss their technologies like video games, smartphones or the Internet. Even business people are doing it, with backpacking and nature outings that promote creativity and cognitive thinking. At summer camp, it happens with very little effort – the wilderness is right there and the natural amenities are abundant and ever-present.

Beyond the fun and games, summer camp provides a direct connection to nature – from the birds and animals to the sunsets, to actually being able to see the entire Milky Way. There’s nothing quite like it in the city, and it’s an experience that every camper will hold dear for a lifetime.