Before you start finding and choosing a summer camp for your teenager, make sure that your son or daughter wants to spend a summer away at camp. Some teenagers feel they are too old to go to summer camp and therefore, no matter which one you choose, they will be unhappy. Once you are sure that your child wants to go away to camp, use these helpful tips to find and choose the best camp.
- Define your teenager's needs in a camp. Ask him what he wants to get out of the summer. If he is interested in drama, then find a camp that caters to that interest. If he is interested in academics, find a summer program that will fulfill that need. There are tons of specialty camps; the key is finding the right one.
- Determine how long your teenager will stay at the camp. Summer programs range from one week to eight weeks. Allow your child to weigh in on this decision, as it is he who will be away from home in a new place. A vacation without the kids may seem like a great idea for you, but too much time at a camp can have a negative impact on a teenager. Remember that your teenager is no longer a child, but a young adult and that he should have a say in choosing his camp.
- Check out your options. Finding summer camps and programs is as easy as going to a search page like Yahoo! or Google and typing in "teen summer camp drama." Links to tons of camps that fit those criteria will pop up for you to scope out. In an ideal situation, you should visit the camp during the summer, however, in most cases, you and your teen did not think that far in advance. Check out the different camp websites and have the directors of the camps get your child in touch with former or returning campers to get a teenager's take on the summer experience.
- Do your research. Once you've narrowed down your options, make sure that the camps and programs you choose live up to their reputations on their websites. Check with the ACA (American Camping Association) to see if the camp is accredited. If it is a summer academic program, talk to your teen's guidance counselor to see if it is appropriate for him or her.
As long as you and your teenager communicate about what he wants out of the summer, finding a camp will be easy for you to do together. Check out the links to see a guide to summer camps as well as a listing of teen summer camps and summer programs. Good luck!