April 3, 2017 by middleearthnj
It may only be Spring, but if you’re a parent of a teen, now is the time to start planning for summer! Teens who are bored, have a lot of downtime, or have less supervision during the summer months run a higher risk of falling into the wrong pastimes. Incidences of first-time cigarette, marijuana or alcohol use for underage kids spike significantly during the summer months. Juvenile crime also increases. A teen who grows bored during summer vacation may sleep too much, spend too much time online, or become depressed. Therefore, it’s a good idea for parents to help their teen find a healthy balance between becoming bored and relaxing over their break (avoid overscheduling). The summer can be an excellent time for teens to explore new opportunities!
In a previous blog, we highlighted several ways to keep teens busy during the summer including: starting a business, volunteering in the community, getting an internship or summer job, attending local youth programs, or taking a class to learn a new hobby or skill. But, in addition to these ideas, you might want to consider summer camps.
What teen would want to go to summer camp? While it is likely your teen is likely not interested in paddling a canoe or singing by the campfire, more and more organizations are offering summer camps designed for teens that are unique and exciting. Some of these camps even help prepare teens for future aspirations. They are at least worth mentioning to your teen to see if they might be interested!
Great summer camps for adolescents include:
Sports Camps. For the teen who is an athlete, try finding a sports camp that gives them a chance to stay busy and prepare for the upcoming season. These camps typically have coaches and counselors who are experts in their fields, and the guidance they can provide for your teen is invaluable. If your teen has yet to identify a preferred sport, consider a camp that gives attendees a chance to try something new.
College Camps. Many universities and colleges offer high school students the opportunity to stay one or more weeks on campus during the summer to explore possible majors and get a feel for what college living will be like. This can really help your teen be better prepared for college, narrow down their major choices, and enhance their college applications.
Adventure Camps. Physically challenging camps can force risk-averse teens out of their comfort zone and provide risk-taking teens a positive way to experience thrills. There are lots of adventure camp possibilities ranging from high ropes courses, rock climbing, surfing, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and more. One unique example is Hollywood Stunt Camp, where teens learn a variety of stunts, including how to choreograph a fight scene, jump off tall buildings, and engage in hand-to-hand combat all for the sake of show business.
Entrepreneurial Camps. For the teen who is business-minded or always has a new idea, a camp where they can learn how startups build creative, innovative solutions might be the perfect idea. These types of camps can instill valuable skills that will help teens succeed and get excited about a future in the business world. One such camp from Epiic Solutions in Boston provides teen girls experience in developing an entrepreneurial mindset, learning startup tools and strategies, and networking with women entrepreneurs. Camp BizSmart in California allows teens to work on real-life business projects.
Museum Camps. If your teen has shown an aptitude in a school subject like astronomy or natural science, check out local museums and see if they’re offering any summer curriculum on the topic. For example, the Acadia Institute in Maine offers a pre-college summer course in oceanography and most zoos offer a teen camp in zoological care.
Technology Camps. There are numerous camps around the country focused on teaching teenagers technological skills. For example, iD Tech Camps, which are held throughout the United States, offer specialty courses in areas such as robotics, web design, animation, and app development.
Artistic Camps. No, we’re not talking about arts and crafts. Teens can gain some unique experiences thanks to camps that are tailored to their interests and age group. Is your teen an aspiring musician? Rock Star Camp in California provides instruction to improve their performance and helps them make a CD of their own music. Does your teen love to make people laugh? Kids ‘N Comedy Camp in New York City teaches teens about improv, comedic acting, and stand-up comedy with a live show at the end. Is your teen a bit more dramatic? The School of Creative and Performing Arts offers teens a variety of acting skills, tools to help them through auditions, and an online portfolio that can help them in their future endeavors. There are many camps throughout the country that could tap into your teen’s talents.
Community Service Camps. If your teen wants to help others, there are a lot of cool camps available! Your teen could get involved with a service program that takes a group of students (12 to 25) to an impoverished area in the United States, or even to a foreign country, to help with remodeling of living quarters, teaching, constructing a school, working with underprivileged children, caring for animals, or environmental projects. Community service can keep teens occupied while developing a sense of purpose, self-confidence, gratitude, and personal responsibility. In addition to teaching teens the joy of giving back, volunteer work looks great on college applications and resumes. For example, Rein Community Service programs allow teens to travel to beautiful places, like Hawaii, Ecuador, and Costa Rica to participate in a variety of community service activities based on their skills and interests, while still offering them free time to explore and enjoy these beautiful destinations.
Although summer camps can be pricey, the benefits are well worth the cost. There is no better way to make constructive use of free time than learning a new skill, exploring an unfamiliar place, or meeting new people. Summer camps are usually very fun and teach all sorts of valuable skills that your child won’t get in school, such as responsibility, self-awareness, teamwork, and communication. Teens are introduced to a new group of peers and learn to relate to people of all backgrounds. They live in a structured, highly supervised environment, which helps teens gain perspective on life at home and build self-confidence and hope for a brighter future.
The website, Teen Life, lists many summer camps for teens around the country in a wide variety of focus areas: https://www.teenlife.com/category/summer/