Washington, DC – The teen summer program industry has become much more competitive over the past 15 years, says Tips on Trips and Camps, a free advisory service. Programs have begun to differentiate themselves by offering special programs for “tweens”, community service camp options, career-oriented internships, academic study programs, language programs combined with other interests, and gap year programming.
“These new offerings are a result of teen program directors trying to cater to both parents’ wishes and teens interests,” says Carey Rivers, Co-Director, Tips on Trips and Camps (www.tipsontripsandcamps.com) in Washington, DC.
Summer schedules have to be planned around summer school, sports commitments, and family vacations. To adapt, teen programs are developing shorter programs that can accommodate the schedules of busy teens. They are also attempting to offer more “bang for the buck” by developing programs that incorporate many interests, such as language programs, community service, and adventure travel.
“Today your teen could choose one program in which he or she could combine multiple activities, like learning Spanish while in a community service program in Costa Rica,” says Ms. Rivers.
Tips on Trips and Camps offers these trends and unique programs for summer 2008 to help you and your child think outside the box:
Options for “Tweens” – Because teen program directors have realized that middle school age kids are looking for new and exciting programs, these “tweeners” have a world of options open to them now. Now there are language programs for Chinese, Japanese and Arabic, marine science sailing programs in the British Virgin Islands and adventure travel programs, all customized by maturity level and educational experience.
Community Service – To teach our children the value of “giving back,” and completing high school community service requirements, your child can assist in the construction of new classrooms in India, work with orphans in Russia, on hurricane reconstruction on the Gulf Coast or teach tennis to underprivileged kids in urban areas.
Internships – If your child has a specific career interest and wants to gain experience in that field, he or she can work side by side with professionals in areas like Archaeology, Fashion Design, Medical Research and Strategic Studies. Career internships on college campuses are available in England, and in large U.S. cities, like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. After their daily “work,” students can participate in evening activities, weekend excursions, and college visits for the participants.
Language programs – Though learning a foreign language is not a new concept, combining it with other interests is a new phenomenon. Many language programs abroad incorporate a home stay, where a student is matched with a family, which enriches the student’s experience through cultural exchange and community service. Teens can study painting, photography or cooking while learning Italian or study architecture in Switzerland while learning French. Your teen can also dabble in rare languages, like Arabic, Modern Greek, or Swedish right here in the U.S.
More Exotic & Intensive Teen Travel – Now a child can live with a host family in a rural village, hike to ancient ruins, and help build a school for kids — all in a 4-week trip. With the trend toward the more exotic, you can find teen programs that travel to Senegal, Bolivia or Cambodia. While these programs used to be about visiting busy tourist attractions, some have morphed into mini think tanks, undertaking the study of global issues, such as health care and global health care issues in Ghana, or community development in El Salvador, or biodiversity in Madagascar.
College Campus Academic Study Programs – Academic programs are much in demand because they give high school students a taste of what it’s like to live on a college campus. In addition to academic study, programs offer SAT Prep, college tours, leadership programs, a range of sports programs, visits to local attractions as well as weekend excursions to nearby cities. Course studies range from architecture to advertising, economics to environmental science.
Gap Year Programming – The United States is one of the few countries in which kids follow a traditional path from high school to college to graduate school to profession.
American students are mirroring the desire of their foreign counterparts and taking some time off between high school and college. They now even have a name for it – “the Odyssey.” Your graduate can sail around the world, live with a family in a rural village in Kenya, help teach in the village secondary school, offer extracurricular activities and initiate and participate in community service projects.
For more information on the different options and new choices available for teen summer programs, contact Tips on Trips and Camps.
About Tips on Trips and Camps
Tips on Trips and Camps (www.tipsontripsandcamps.com) is free summer camp advisory service founded in 1971 with offices in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York City, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Princeton, Westchester, Connecticut, Los Angeles, South Florida and Paris, Barcelona and Brussels.
Call–866-222-TIPS (8477) for more info.