Summer Camp? Finding Summer Activities for Young Teens
Making a summer vacation plan for a teenager can be a challenge, especially if your teenager is under the age of 16 when employment options are limited.
So why not camp? While many parents tend to view summer camp as de rigueur for younger children, there are plenty of programs for teenagers too. Those include overnight camps and specialty camps, and offer all sorts of wonderful experiences for teens.
“The camp experience is a great learning environment for out-of-school time,” says Peg Smith, chief executive officer of the American Camps Association. “There are camps that will really focus on a specialty, like a culinary camp or sports camp. But you can flip that and find there are traditional camps that offer a wide range of activities, but also allow you to concentrate on a particular skill or activity.”
If you’re concerned about the cost of sending your teen off to camp, most camps now offer financial aid. “It’s a myth that camp is for upper-income kids. Our camps are giving more than $200 million in scholarships every year,” explains Smith.
Older Teens? What About Working At Camp?
Meanwhile, some of the older teenagers can often work at camp, too, as either a counselor in training (for reduced or free tuition) or as a fully-fledged—and paid—counselor. Overnight camps also offer reduced fees in return for, say, working in the mess hall or elsewhere. These options do plenty to help offset the cost of camp for many teens.
“These are skills that teenagers can use for the rest of their lives,” notes Smith. “In fact, more and more, employers are looking on resumes for camp experience because those people have had to learn certain skills in order to learn to be a counselor or counselor in training.”
To find camps that match your teenager’s interests, visit the ACA’s campparents.org.