Over the many years I have been involved with summer programs, I have watched as camps and summer trips change with the times. I have seen the rise and fall of activities that go from being “hot” one summer, to “uncool” or even off the camp activity list entirely the next. As an example, there was a time when teens did not want to hike with their supplies on their back into unspoiled wilderness. The physical challenges were not what kids wanted; they wanted easy and fun summer trips. Last summer, those wilderness trips were the kinds of programs that many parents felt most comfortable with, and our inboxes were filled with stories of teens summiting peaks and rafting white water rapids. Kids, eager to unplug, were happy to lace up hiking boots if it meant they could be with peers.
This year, I’ve advised a number of families with middle school students looking for summer experiences for LGBTQ+ students where they will be comfortable. Moms have spoken to me with a frankness and advocacy for their children that guide my recommendations to ensure the program will fit their child’s needs and be an inclusive, safe place.
The tides are constantly shifting and we, as summer camp and trip advisors, are always looking for the trends that inform the opportunities we share.
Summer 2022 is approaching quickly, and summer programs are preparing to meet kids’ needs wherever they are in a world that is constantly changing.