There are so many things teenagers need to learn that will not come from come from books or a classroom teacher or even sports:
- How to be a good friend.
- How to have confidence.
- How to take positive risks.
- How to pay attention to the present.
- How to ignore ridicule.
- How to advocate for yourself.
- How to have empathy for others.
It’s nice think that parents teach many of those “soft” skills. But, as parents we are often painfully aware that we are the last people on earth our teens want to hear from now. So where can middle- and high-school students pick up these very important abilities?
Research shows that one place is an overnight summer program. Whether your child decides to find adventure in the great outdoors, join a group traveling to a new state or country, or explore academics on a college campus, the experience of being in a new peer group away from home is life-changing and memorable. Imagine how good it would feel, even as adults, to leave our everyday lives behind and become whomever we wanted for a few weeks each summer. What would we discover in ourselves? What new friends would we make? What new things would we be open to learning?
The American Camp Association recently completed two years of surveying campers about their summer experiences. Kids reported that summer camp helped them build relationship skills; fostered independence and responsibility; gave them appreciation for living in the moment; taught them perseverance; and encouraged them to try new things. And former campers reported that those skills have served them well long beyond camp, even into their first jobs.
Make this is the summer for your teen to take the leap into something new. TeenLife Media’s 2019 Guide to Overnight Summer Programs is a great way to discover the place to do it.
Our guide lists more than 50 teen summer programs – STEM and humanities pre-college programs on college campuses; group travel; community service adventures; and traditional camps and outdoor programs – that are dedicated to teaching teenagers those important soft skills, as well as some other things.
Find the right program!
Pre-college programs on university campuses offer a chance to explore a major or new academic interest while experiencing dorm life. Volunteer programs are a way to foster empathy and explore different communities and cultures. Outdoor camps offer the thrill of sleeping under the stars or other new adventures under the watchful eye of trained staff. Specialty programs are chance to explore the performing arts, mindfulness or any number of interests. All these are avenues for teens to learn something about the world and themselves. And, oh yes, to have fun.
Our summer program guide also has tips on how to get college credit in a summer program; how to make time for community service; and, the best way to really learn a language (spoiler alert: immersion). And we have tips about how to prepare your teen for going off on an overnight summer program for the first (or even the third) time.
The 50 summer programs in our guide are eager to recruit teens, and our website, TeenLife.com, lists hundreds more. These programs come in all different session lengths and cost levels. Some take place around the world, others are just around the corner. You can be sure to find a match.
Let us help!
Our guide is a great way to start a conversation with your teen about summer plans. You don’t have to mention anything about “soft skills” – just tempt them with an exciting way to have fun, make new friends and explore a new world this summer. Their energy and excitement will take care of the rest.