The biggest part of my 'off-season' job as a camp owner is to speak with families (on the phone, Skype, in person, or over e-mail) and answer their questions about our program. One question I hear a lot goes something like this:
My (son/daughter) is really into (wakeboarding/waterskiing/wakesurfing) and we want (him/her) to learn new skills but we have a boat and a lake house so we can probably teach them ourselves so why should we spend the money on your camp?
My answer is usually some combination of the below Top Five reasons kids with their own ridiculous lake setup should still come to Water Monkey Camp:
Fun and Camaraderie - Anyone who has been away to camp (especially Water Monkey) knows that camp is more than just the activities offered. Nowhere else do kids meet one day as total strangers and become inseparable best friends by Day 2. Camp is a catalyst for friendships that will last a lifetime. The watersports may be why campers come but the good times with other kids are what stay with them when they go home.
Social Interaction (of the in-person variety) - Cell phones and social media have changed the way people interact to the detriment of us all. Camp is a rare break in a camper's life of nonstop social media bombardment. At camp kids are forced to interact with each other from the moment they arrive until their parents show up to take them home. This could be as simple as a cabin of campers figuring out how to share the sink to brush their teeth at night to a camper talking one-on-one with a coach to work out how to improve at a certain skill or just a few guys and girls sitting and joking around after lunch. As texting and Snapchatting replace actual human interaction it is always great to see kids talking to each other the old fashioned way.
Top Level Coaches - I get it, you have a brand new $125,000 wake boat on a beautiful lake near your hometown and all the gear you could possibly need for a summer out on the water. What you are missing, though, is trained coaches who dedicate their lives to pursuing the sports we offer at camp. The progression that we see in just a week is often insane. First-time waterskiers that leave after a week having progressed to using just one ski (slalom). Kids who have never heard of wakesurfing not only getting up but dropping the rope and surfing. Intermediate wakeboarders throwing down back rolls and tantrums having never tried an inverted trick before coming here. The program we have created in combination with the unintimidating atmosphere of learning and fun allows campers to significantly boost their skills in a short time. These skills are brought back to your lake for the rest of the summer and onwards to continue progressing and share with other family and friends. Yes, you can have fun on your own boat all summer long but what our coaches provide is that extra push to do something great.
Safety While Learning New Skills - Just because you have that nice boat and have dialed in the wake just right does not mean that you can safely teach your child at home to launch over the wake and learn tricks without some injuries as a byproduct. Our above-mentioned coaches prioritize safety during each campers' progression so that they are building new skills over a foundation of old ones and never getting out of control. Kids are fearless and our job at camp is to focus their energy and training into results without unnecessary hospital visits.
Independence! - Possibly the most important aspect of coming to camp is the sense of independence from home, parents, friends, judgement, comfort zone, etc etc the list goes on forever. So many kids who are too shy in front of their parents to speak up or try something new will jump at the opportunity once away at camp. I cannot tell you how many times we hear each summer how a camper returned home a new person with more self confidence and self esteem. The feeling of being away at camp - a feeling I still remember 20 years later - is simultaneously exciting, scary, invigorating, and hard to describe to anyone who has not experienced it themselves.