How to Find the Right High School Summer Camps
The end of the school year doesn’t have to put a hold on the growth and development of today’s teens. There are limitless options for summer programs and camps out there that can provide new, stimulating experiences for your high schooler, but how can you determine which program will be best?
Spending time researching will be a natural part of choosing a summer camp, but you’ll need to understand more about the camp than just available dates and location. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the following components of the camps you’ve chosen to investigate.
- History: This includes how long they’ve been in operation and reviews by participants and parents.
- Philosophy: A clearly stated camp philosophy will give you a better understanding of the kind of experience you can expect your teen to have at camp. Look for evidence of this philosophy in camp programs and processes.
- Community: Teens need to feel involved and welcome to thrive. Find out how the camp plans to successfully facilitate a sense of community for participants.
- Staff Qualifications: A camp is only as good as the staff in charge of instructing the youth. Staff members should be trustworthy and qualified to fulfil their respective roles.
- Safety: Check that daily procedures promote the safety and well-being of all participants. Emergency situations should have established protocols for caring for youth and contacting parents or guardians.
Once you have determined that the operations, staff, and philosophy of a camp are satisfactory, your next objective is to assess the type of experience your high schooler will have at the camp. Just because a camp meets the above requirements doesn’t necessarily mean it will give the desired extra-curricular boost to the summer.
Ask yourself the following questions to further assess possible camp choices.
- Will this camp teach my son/daughter how to work well in a team? Depending on your teen’s activities at school, he or she may not be used to working cooperatively with others on creative or problem-solving tasks. These skills will become increasingly necessary as your child grows older.
- Is this camp going to instill resiliency in my teen? Resilience includes a variety of beneficial character traits, including learning to try again and working through difficult scenarios until the right solution is found. These types of skills can help teens better understand how to handle hardships they will encounter in the future
- Will this camp present critical decision-making situations? Making decisions can be tremendously difficult in a world with ever-increasing options for things as simple as ice cream flavors. Camp can give your youth a safe place to practice making personal decisions, from choosing friends to selecting activities and taking a stance on any number of issues. They should be able to practice making decisions with confidence under the guidance of encouraging leaders.
- Are new experiences planned into the camp philosophy? High school may be full of chances to try new things, but it can also be a place where students are too afraid to put themselves in new situations. Summer camp provides high schoolers the unique opportunity to go someplace where trying new things is part of daily plans. Exposure and participation in new experiences will give your youth tremendous opportunity to grow as a person and learn about themselves along the way.
Finding a high school summer camp that encompasses all these points may seem impossible, especially for those teens who don’t enjoy spending every second in the great outdoors fighting bugs and getting sunburned. However, “camp” doesn’t always have to mean cabins and ghost stories around a campfire. Summer debate camps for high schoolers, like Statesman Debate, meet all the above requirements for a worthwhile high school summer camp and do a phenomenal job of boosting the confidence of participants.
Why Choose Debate Camp?
Your (or your teen’s) first response to a debate camp might be: “Debate? That’s a class, right?” You’d be partially correct, Statesman Debate does hold its instruction in groups of students, but it’s far more empowering than what you might find in a typical high school setting. It will give participants experiences that will benefit not only themselves, but those they interact with, for a lifetime. These include:
- Confronting Fears. Your student will learn to confront their fears about voicing their own opinion and speaking in front of others.
- Improved Listening and Understanding. Students will develop the ability to truly hear other people and understand different points of view as they interact with others to discover the best solution to presented problems. Habits like these will impact all areas of their life for the better.
- Positive Influence. Debate camp will provide a unique opportunity for your teen to learn their potential to influence others for good. This comes as they learn to understand other perspectives and assess their own ideas to ultimately promote what’s best for an individual or community.
- Critical Thinking. This is arguably the most important and enduring life lesson that your student will develop at debate camp. Instead of following the emotion-driven path of decision making that appears to be so prevalent today, debate camp will nurture the critical evaluation of scenarios using logic, reasoning, and sound data. Youth will draw upon this ability countless times as they make daily decisions that will determine their path in life, and will be able to provide valuable counsel to those around them.
High school summer camps can be a life changing experience for the youth of America in more lasting ways than outdoor adventures can provide. Choosing debate camp will provide your son or daughter the opportunity to grow and develop key abilities which will empower them to create a bright future for themselves and others. When youth understand how to critically assess different scenarios, are confident in themselves, and carry a desire for the betterment of mankind, their potential to change the world is limitless.