What’s in it for Teens? Camp and the Big Kids

Are you crossing summer camp registration off your to-do list because you think your teenager has outgrown roasting marshmallows, singing around the campfire, and playing Marco Polo? Well, even if your teen has set their horizons on bigger and better things, like their career path, for instance, it doesn’t mean they have outgrown the camp experience. Camp is so much more than crafts and games–it’s about enrichment and the opportunity to learn a little more about yourself and the things that truly make you happy.

Career paths
Many teens need guidance when it comes to heading in the right direction on the paths that lead them to their future careers. Some teens have expansive interests, and they just can’t seem to narrow it down to what they really want to do in the professional world. Other teens are just uninformed about all the options out there. A little guidance may be all your teen needs to finally establish some career goals.

There are several options for teens to explore possible careers. At career-focused camps, teens have a way to figure out, fairly quickly, if the profession at hand is something that would lead to contentment or if a particular profession can be eliminated from their career choices.

Life skills
According to Jeffrey Leiken, M.A., for the American Camp Association, “Camps serving teenagers have been adapting to these changes [complex pressures and advanced behaviors of teens] and offering increasingly sophisticated program choices to address the challenges teens experience growing up in the shifting world of American culture.”

Camp leaders know that teens nowadays are smart and need something more than busy work and outdated curriculum to keep teens inspired. At camp, teens learn how to be a vital part of a team, how to be independent and even adventurous. They can develop their social skills and are encouraged to be physically active, flexible, and adaptable in any environment.

Many camps focus on the skills that teens really need to give them a push in the adult world–that will help them to become responsible and successful adults. Teens learn about being leaders, ultimately providing them with skills they can actually use in the real world.

Community service
Some camps offer the opportunity to flex campers’ helping hands with a service focus, and you can find these camps worldwide. For example, VISIONS Service Adventures provides teens a way to learn about other cultures while accomplishing impressive projects. Your teen can travel to such locations as Alaska, Cambodia, or Dominica. Does your teen think summer camp is boring? I wonder what they would think about harvesting fruits and vegetables or working with children living with special needs in the British Virgin Islands.

Without experiences, we lack real perspective. Teens, especially, need to be challenged and adaptable to new places, new people, and new experiences. It will prepare them for life’s adventures. Campers are exposed to so many activities that it’s likely that they’ll try an activity they’ve never tried.

When your teen steps outside of their comfort zone, they may discover a hidden talent in those uncharted waters. Maybe at a performing arts camp, they’ll figure out they have superior dance skills or vocal chops. Furthermore, horseback riding and zip-lining are things you don’t get to do every day, but at camp, it’s only a small part of the fun.

Don’t let your child’s last summers of being a kid pass by without some invaluable experiences and memories.

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