Climate Change~Endangered Animals & Marine life~Social Issues & Racial Justice~The Environment~Worldwide Hunger~Children in Underserved Communities in the US & Around the Globe….All issues affecting teens and at the forefront of the next generation.
The Tips on Trips and Camps team just spent three days meeting with summer camp and teen program directors learning about the successes of summer 2021 and planning for summer 2022. It was wonderful to be together in person as a team and have so many directors come to present.
This is what we learned…
- Following the successes of summer 2021, overnight camps for kids and teens will stay true to the values and activities that have been the mainstay of their summer programming. They successfully made adjustment for Covid protocols but reported that camp was still wonderful and more important than ever for children’s development.
- Depending on the status of Covid and vaccination recommendations, most teen programs and many camps will require that campers and staff be vaccinated.
- Teen travel programs will aim high with many destinations listed on their websites. We feel, and programs agree, it makes sense that families should discuss a second trip choice in case the first-choice trips are not available due to travel restrictions.
- There is increased interest from teens for career focused programs and the options to dive deep with hands on experiences in medical, business, law, neuroscience, entrepreneurship, public health, engineering and more will be offered on pre-college campus programs. Some of these are available to middle schoolers as well as high school students.
- Parents are enrolling their students now, and camps, pre-college enrichment, language immersion, community service and teen travel experiences are filling earlier than ever before. Many offer generous cancellation guidelines and some offer early enrollment incentives, be sure to ask about them.
To make the most of summer 2022, start your research now!
Join us for a fun and new way to plan your child’s summer – our Zoom Summer Camp and Trip Fairs are the perfect antidotes to the current stay at home recommendations. We’ve combined our fifty years of advising experience with the twists and turns of the past year and created activity-specific fairs so our families can get the information they need to plan for the upcoming summer. Each virtual fair features directors from several programs and they will speak for 10 minutes about who they are, what they offer, and how they will safely run in 2021. Coming up are fairs for Community Service, Arts Camps, Dance Camps, Tennis, Golf, and Sailing programs.
Here’s the link to the upcoming zoom fair schedule. As always, we’re happy to help you find just the right program even if you cannot attend a fair.
I’ve been reading a number of articles lately that have to do with the positive outcomes of letting your child fail. Studies have shown that many children who are sheltered and shielded from disappointment and whose parents constantly step in to rescue them, end up being lethargic and underachieving later in life. It’s these same kids that grow up to be lazy with a lack of work ethic. In one article, an employer described this type of young adult as the one who expects a standing ovation if they show up for work.
So what does that mean for us parents? Our natural instinct is to catch our child when he falls. When they were babies we protected them from hitting their heads and falling out of the highchair. But then as toddlers while learning to walk…they needed to stumble and fall, get up, stumble and fall, over and over again before they learned to balance on their own and take those first steps. When, as parents, do we let go?
It’s true; kids today are more sheltered than ever. Parents are more involved, maybe too involved. The “everyone gets a trophy / nobody loses” culture is ever-present, and it may be hurting our kids in the long run. When kids take healthy risks, explore new things, and get out of their comfort zone they end up being more resilient later in life. Failing and then figuring out solutions on their own will help them mature and grow into confident, successful, and happy adults.
Children need time away from their parents, they need that opportunity to be independent and make decisions on their own. They need to stumble and fall, and figure out solutions. Learning from mistakes and recovering from failure is an important skill that our kids can learn. If we, as parents always swoop in to rescue them, our kids won’t learn those coping skills.
An experience away from home is invaluable. It might include going to sleep away camp, spending time with grandparents or close friends, joining a mission trip with the local church group, working on a community service project such as Habitat for Humanity, getting a part time job at the local grocery store, or volunteering at the local food pantry.
Whatever it may be, let’s stop rescuing our children. Let’s encourage them to take responsibility for their mistakes and not blame others. Let’s let them know that we love them unconditionally, whether they get an A in math or a C. Let’s praise them for their efforts and encourage them to try again if they don’t succeed the first time; after all, failure can motivate them to practice harder, study longer, and be creative by finding another solution to the problem!
Thanksgiving has come and gone. We’ve all had our fair share of leftovers. Now, holiday shopping begins. Black Friday…Cyber Monday… where do we get the best deals? While we all brainstorm what to buy, some of the best choices cannot be purchased by standing in line for hours, or by using a coupon code. Give your children a gift that will last them a lifetime.
A summer camp or teen program is an invaluable gift to give your child. Whether it’s through the friendships that are made at camp, engaging in community service, traveling to a faraway location, or a host of other choices, summer programs provide endless possibilities of growth and innumerable memories. Now is the perfect time to contact your local Tips on Trips and Camps advisor and discuss the options available.
Is your child already signed up for camp or a summer travel program? There are many gift options to consider this time of year that will continue your child’s excitement:
- A camp sweatshirt or other clothing item
- A camp blanket for those chilly nights
- Travel accessories (toiletry kit, duffle bag)
- Fun stationery
- New water bottles or fans
Many camps have links on their websites to companies who sell items specifically for that camp. Go online and check it out. You’ll find fun options.
If you have not yet decided on a summer experience, the holidays are the perfect time for you to look at summer programs with your child. What better gift . . . than the gift of an amazing summer experience!
This is the time of year, that parents are finalizing their teen’s summer tours/trips. We, as parents get so wrapped up in the details, that sometimes we forget about the big picture.
For instance, if your teen is going on a community service trip, it should be more about expanding their horizons, rather than logging in their required hours. Nothing can compare to visiting new places, meeting new people and gaining a better understanding of another culture.
A language immersion program is not only good for enhancing their language skills or prepping for the upcoming school year, but it builds confidence in your teen inherently by being in an atmosphere where they have to learn as they go along.
A precollege program can look good on a teen’s resume, but they also walk away with a new sense of responsibility and maybe even more appreciation for all you do at home.
A teen tour seems like all fun and games, but along the way, they learn how to get along with all types of teens, and can sometimes be put in a position where they need to resolve conflicts and learn the art of compromise.
To summarize, you should expect your teen to have fun, accomplish a goal, but most importantly build character and come home a better version of the teen they were when they left.
Often I speak with parent’s of high schoolers who want help finding a summer experience that will “look good” on their child’s resume and translate to something positive on college applications. Which experience, they want to know, will be best for that? Community Service? Language Immersion? Classes on a college campus?
This is in interesting question and the reality is complex. What college advisors have shared with me is if a child has a passion and chooses a summer experience in the field of that passion, it can demonstrate commitment and devotion which is generally well received by schools. An example of that would be a medical internship or one in photography or cooking particularly if this in an area that the student volunteers in during the school year. A one summer stab at photography, for example, will not be as beneficial if it is not in the context of an ongoing passion.
However in my experience both with my own children and the families with whom I consult, any summer experience can offer a plethora of topics that can translate into that infamous college essay. Not the “How I Spent My Summer” type of essay but rather the slice of life events that resulted in a student having a better understanding of who they are and how their life experience fits the bigger picture. One of my son’s who was on a community service program in Costa Rica described the moment he understood a joke in Spanish and was able to participate in the retelling.
So can a summer program help in college admission? Maybe yes, maybe no, but expanding a student’s exposure to new and different experiences can certainly be broadening, and if they look it just might offer a topic for their college essay.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
By allowing our children to explore and discover, we allow them to grow! Summer is the time…..so many choices…….sleep away camps, sports camps, teen travel, wilderness programs, biking trips, sailing adventures, language immersion, college campus study, community service, creative and performing arts camps, wilderness adventures…..! The options are endless! Explore…Dream…..Discover.
As a young mother, I was often given the age-old advice “Cherish every moment. They grow up so fast.” What an understatement! As I now prepare myself for the emotional task of sending my daughter to college, I am so glad that I not only cherished every moment, but that I gave her many moments that she will cherish for a lifetime.
Sending a child to college parallels sending a child to sleepaway camp for the first time. It is an emotional rollercoaster of anxiety, excitement, pride, indecision and ultimately pure joy! I find myself looking back to my daughter’s first year as a camper and remembering the changes she went through in just a few short weeks. Her strength, independence, curiosity and willingness to try new activities was astounding. Whether it was waterskiing for the first time, or climbing the rock wall or performing in the camp theatre production, she participated in new activities each year and gained incredible confidence through these opportunities.
Now I have the confidence in knowing that wherever she goes to college, she will be an independent leader and not only strive for excellence in her studies, but also take advantage of all the extracurricular opportunities that are available.
I have spoken with many parents who feel the same way. Their child may not have been to overnight camp, but perhaps went on a community service trip, a language immersion experience, a wilderness adventure or an academic enrichment program. Whatever the experience, these parents feel that some form of summer program, away from home, helped prepare their child for a successful transition to college.
My advice to young parents is to absolutely cherish every moment but to also give your children opportunities that will allow for personal growth to prepare them for college and beyond.
Over the years, I have noticed a decrease in the number of people attending camp fairs. It is understandable given our access to the Internet. After all, why would you want to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon dragging your kids around a camp fair? However, it can be hard to distinguish one program from another by looking at websites. We can all assume that they have hired the best website designers and videographers they can find. A camp fair is a good opportunity to meet Directors and speak with them directly about their programs and see many different options that are available.
As a parent of teenage boys, I have found it is hard to get them excited about anything. However, I do not intend to have them sit on the couch all summer playing games on their Xbox. In order for them to buy into the idea of Camp, it is very helpful to have them talk to the Directors and Camp Reps at a fair. My oldest found a great sailing and scuba program a few years ago, when I dragged him to my fair. The next year he found a wilderness/adventure program that fit him perfectly and I no longer had to drag him to my fair. The trip was a combination of white-water rafting, backpacking, and community service with the Navajo Indians out West. This year he is anxious to go to my fair to see all the options available. He will be bringing my middle schooler who has decided he has outgrown traditional summer camps. I want him to get excited about one of the teen programs available to him: perhaps language immersion or academic enrichment (he prefers air-conditioned dorm rooms to sleeping rough). The best way to inspire him is to bring him to a Camp Fair.
So if you are deciding whether to take the afternoon to go to camp fair, I say do it with your children. You will find it is a great way to get them involved in the process. Going on a trip or to a camp becomes their idea instead of something their parents are pushing on them. At Tips on Trips and Camps summer opportunities fairs there are knowledgeable camp advisors standing by to help you sort through all the choices and give you additional options if you can’t find what you are looking for. Visit our website to see a list of our fairs in various cities or contact us directly by registering at www.TipsonTripsandCamps.com. We are happy to guide you through the process to find a great summer program.