What to do with that teen of yours during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer may be a challenge, but area summer camps offer a stimulating array of subjects to study, or hands-on workshops to keep teens engaged and learning at the same time.
In a Psychology Today article by family therapist Michael Ungar, “Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient,” Ungar said summer camp can help children build new relationships with peers, adults and parents; build confidence, self-sufficiency and a sense of belonging; aid physical development; and give campers “a better sense of their culture.”
At teen programs at Friends School of Baltimore, Baltimore Zionist District and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, teens can find a program and experience that fits their interests and skill level.
Friends School of Baltimore Summer at Friends camp program has been offering a variety of programs for teens for many years, and has a senior leadership team with more than 60 years of experience, according to Assistant Director of Camps Steve Cusick. Camps run from mid-July to mid-August.
“Our programs are well-rounded, with daily swimming and a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, all on campus. We offer a traditional senior camp that features a mix of activities — art, science, tennis, swimming and more,” Cusick said. “In addition, we offer several more specialized programs, such as visual arts, or Take Two! (drama/improv camp). Perhaps our most popular offerings are the creative technology camps, including MarkersCamp, Robots & Rockets, Animation, Claymation, Fun with Architecture and Video Camp, which explore the intersection of creativity, art, and technology.”
For 14- to 15-year-olds, Cusick said Summer at Friends offers a counselor-in-training program that includes “robust and hands-on opportunities to develop skills to help prepare participants to be excellent camp counselors.”
“Our CITs work with camp groups to help lead activities while modeling positive behavior and skills,” Cusick said. “Depending on the group, CITs will have the opportunity to lead drills, work with small groups with art, science or technology projects and to help guide various camp activities. [Teens] work under the supervision of experienced counselors and directors to help prepare them as camp counselors and beyond.”
Looking outside the bounds of traditional summer camp? How about a truly immersive Jewish experience with the Baltimore Zionist District’s 2019 Summer Teen Israel Experience?
The BZD teen trip has been running for more than 50 years, according to BZD Executive Director Caren Leven.
The 2019 trip, which is set for June 27 – July 21, includes visits to the Kotel, hikes through the Mediterranean region, rafting on the Jordan River, collaboration with teens through Baltimore’s sister city in Ashkelon, snorkeling in the Red Sea and Israeli army education training.
“We will experience five days of Tzahal Basic Training in the special GADNA [Israel military] program,” Leven said. “The teens will live the life of an Israeli soldier on a real Tzahal army base with a Tzahal uniform. They will go through intense training, which will include various aspects of what it means to be a soldier.”
Leven said the trip fosters lifelong friendships and deep Jewish connections to the Baltimore community and the BZD.
“The BZD’s program is unique because due to generous sponsors and various donors, our teens are able to attend a highly sought after trip with Maccabi World Union and explore Israel from the inside out for four weeks with a generous subsidy of over $3,000,” Leven said.
UMBC’s Summer Enrichment Academy offers fun and engaging academic workshops, courses and camp programs for middle and high schoolers.
The six middle-school summer program sessions run from June 24 through August 23 while the seven high-school program sessions run June 24 through August 30.
Middle school summer sessions run the gamut from The Science of Environmental Energy to Anime and Japanese Culture, Aliens, Astrophysics and the Science of Life, Voice Academy and Belt it Like Broadway.
High school summer sessions also cover a lot of ground with classes in cybersecurity and game design and development, to music, chess, anime and the Art of Sound Animation.
“SEA brings our students exposure to the college experiences with opportunities in science, engineering, technology, the arts and humanities, all led by UMBC faculty, industry professionals and graduate students,” says the program website. “Rigorous, engaging, one- and two-week summer workshops and camp programs are designed to spark our students deepest passions and interests. Change the expectation of a boring summer. Give your child the opportunity to tap into their creative talents, expand technical knowledge and hone academic skills while their friends are at home watching TV or playing video games.”