We all remember how it felt to accomplish something as a child. Those milestones that hindsight shrinks into trivial feats once you get older and conquer bigger mountains. Still, at one point in time they felt like mammoth achievements to our smaller, younger selves. Moments that filled you with so much pride and excitement, you’d run inside to shout about it to your mum and dad. Endeavours you’d gleefully inform your teachers about at school and recreate for your friends at playtime. It’s these small, tangible steps of progression that we could measure and recognise which gave us our very first experiences of confidence, capability, and all the joy of success to boot.

From early years through to young adulthood, small successes and little victories come in an abundance of shapes and sizes. Each little win is just as meaningful as the next. They all contribute towards shaping a person as they grow and adapt during these pivotal years of physical, emotional and academic development. For example, mastering a new word induces confidence in literacy and language as children learn to speak and write. Painting a picture which mum loves so much, she pins it to the fridge for the whole family to see, encourages them to find creative outlets to express themselves. Learning how to cartwheel bestows them with a skill they’ll delight in whenever they share their technique with a friend. These collective moments of comprehending something new and exciting all serve a purpose in curating the kind of experience a child has with learning. That’s why celebrating those little moments of pride are so important to us.

When it comes to these little victories at Kings Camps, we believe the benefits of celebrating them are threefold. Often, they’re an active achievement like winning a race, scoring their first hat-trick, or learning a new dance move with friends. This means that little ones are acquiring a new skill in sport or play which keeps them physically engaged, healthy and robust. A recent study by Sport England identified enjoyment as the biggest childhood motivator of being active. Consequently, an environment where sport and games are crafted to be a positive, empowering experience is crucial to keeping children involved in physical activity; a hobby that will serve them throughout life. Having the opportunity to play, be challenged, and cheer on camp with a circle of teammates helps to fuel this love of sport and active play; which is a victory for everyone.

Secondly, in a camp environment where children get active, have fun and learn together, small wins can also take the form of big leaps forward in social skills and behaviour. Adjusting to a crowd of unfamiliar faces can seem daunting, which is why all of our coaches focus on inclusivity and getting everyone involved in the fun. Often, otherwise reserved children come out of their shell when they see their potential as an important component of the group. Youngsters who initially struggle to with instruction and integration learn how valuable their best effort is to their team. Triumphs like these are recognised by our Red Tops just as widely as sport-based achievements and are often applauded through Star of the Day awards. Celebrating little victories of this kind highlights the importance of always trying your best, being kind to others and respecting everyone. This, in turn, encourages children to view the practice of kindness and self-improvement in a positive light.

Thirdly, thanks to the group structure of a day on camp, celebrating little victories helps to forge a sense of collective achievement. Involvement in team play inspirits the development of an array of life skills – sharing, empathy, cooperation and communication to name a few. ‘Belonging’ to a group, a team or camp as a whole, helps to teach children about community. They experience first-hand how rewarding it can be to work well with others, see their friends achieve a goal and likewise have campmates cheer them on as they accomplish their own. We all can remember the pride of our teammates roaring as we landed a goal from half a pitch away, passed the finish line first in relay races, and scored a home run in rounders. It was these personal moments of pride, knowing that our best efforts had contributed to something bigger – a team victory – that we took home with us at the end of a day. The shared little victories truly mean the most to a child.

When you mix team play with a sense of personal and community achievement, throw in some beams of pride and winning smiles, that’s when a child’s involvement with physical activity and learning becomes a positive and leisurely experience. Providing the opportunity for children to partake in sport and celebrate progress (no matter how big or small) is crucial in motivating them to keep active, persevere with trying their best, and to continue to be team players. No childhood should be without those empowering, confidence-boosting little victories among friends.

Find out more about our Kings Camps programmes here: kingscamps.org/programmes