Summer Camps Foster Kids’ Social Development and Peer Connection

This image announces a new episode of the Early Link Podcast featuring the principal and preschool teacher from Philomath Elementary School.

by Rafael Otto



On our latest episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Christian Molstrom about the opportunities that summer camps provide for kids, and some of the challenges they may encounter before they attend.


Dr. Molstrom is an emergency medicine trained physician and currently the medical director for Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care, which operates 15 clinics in the Portland and Vancouver area. He was born and raised in Oregon and graduated from the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in 2009.


Dr. Molstrom kicks off the podcast by talking about the health benefits for children to be outdoors and active, including a reduction in anxiety, an opportunity to build their social networks, and more. He also discusses the connection between screen time, social isolation, and anxiety/depression, and how the structured outdoor space, environment, and opportunities to engage with a peer group at a summer camp can offset those effects.

Otto and Dr. Molstrom also talk about the experiences of their own children during the pandemic, regarding learning, social isolation, and how not all of the five senses are being utilized in the learning environment. And to make up for lost time, Otto asks Dr. Molstrom what outdoor activities he engages in with his own children. Dr. Molstrom then gives his own medical advice on what parents and families need to know about sending their kids to an outdoor camp at this time of year, as COVID-19 cases persist.



[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone. This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thanks for listening. As always, you can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts. That includes Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Amazon Music. And as always, you can find them on our website at

My guest today is Dr. Christian Molstrom. He is an emergency medicine trained physician and currently the medical director for Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care and they operate about 15 clinics in the Portland and Vancouver region. He’s an Oregon native and today we’re gonna be talking about summer.

It is July, summer is in full swing, although we’ve had a little bit of rain recently. But summer is here and people are sending their kids to summer camps, and this is a great time to do that. So we’re gonna talk a little bit about what that means and what some of those opportunities are. And maybe what some of the challenges kids face before they go into summer camps.

Dr. Molstrom, Christian, it’s great to have you here. Thanks for being on the podcast.

[00:01:04] Christian Molstrom: Thank you, Rafael. Appreciate the invitation and I’m really excited to talk about getting kids back outside and being healthy this summer.

[00:01:13] Rafael Otto: Well, such an important thing for kids to be outdoors and active. Just talk about some of the benefits of that. The importance of being physically active outdoors and what that means for kids.

[00:01:25] Christian Molstrom: Kids normally want to be outside and play and I think that any opportunity that you can get outside with your kids together, either with other families or with your family is vitally important. Especially now that we’re… seemed to be coming out of the pandemic. We had a couple summers where people didn’t get to travel very much. They may have decided to stay at home. We had some lockdowns and whatnot. And also a lot of camps were canceled. So for the last couple years, kids may not have gone to any kind of camp at all.

Please download the full transcript below.



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