If you have a teenager, even the mention of summer camp can cue the largest of eye rolls. While some teens may associate camp as an experience solely for younger kids, summer camp can actually offer some real benefits to teens — fun being the biggest one!
If you’re looking to send your teen to summer camp, there are some qualities to look for to ensure your child has a great time, while even scoring you some serious cool cred. Here’s what any teen-friendly camp should have on offer:
The chance to choose
Muskoka Woods offers “Senior High Soars” for campers ages 14 to 16. This ultimate camp experience allows campers to choose their own adventures whether they want to hone their athletic skills, hang at the beach with their friends or tackle their skills at fashion design or digital photography. There are also camp games and a competition to win the Kamati Cup!
The opportunity to lead
Learning leadership skills is important for teens as they embark on their teenage years. These skills can also carry them through into adulthood as it teaches them about perseverance, negotiation and decision-making. It can also give teens a serious boost in self-esteem and confidence. Look for a camp that has programs and/or workshops that incorporates leadership skills in the camp curriculum. Muskoka Woods has developed a program specifically to help teens develop personal skills and leadership abilities teens need to become the CEO of their own lives. The CEO program, which stands for Challenge, Experience and Opportunity, is four weeks and includes a canoe trip, a high school credit and practical work experience.
The thrill of taking safe risks
A lot of teenagers are thrill-seekers. They want to push boundaries and test their skills to their highest abilities. Look for a camp that offers enticing activities like heart-pumping rock climbing, zip-lining or wakeboarding. The adventure-seeking teen will love you for it.
The opportunity to rise to the occasion
When teens go to camp, parents have no choice but to ground their helicopters and let teens experience their own accountability, responsibility and independence. Look for a camp whose motto is to grow your teen’s independence in lieu of babysitting them. This will help nurture their transition from teens to young adults.
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.