Choosing the right summer program can be challenging. It is important to narrow down the choices by interests and then find the program that will provide an unforgettable summer, and teach values and lessons to last forever.
I recently had a client call looking for a summer program for his 17 year old son. It was very important to him that I find something that would teach his son “life skills” like leadership, manners and responsibility. We had a long discussion about how to develop these “skills”. At the beginning of our discussion, he was convinced that a program, like a boot camp, with strict discipline, was the only solution.
The options we discussed were plentiful, none of which were “boot camp” style discipline camps. It is possible to gain responsibility, respect and leadership skills while having an amazing, fun summer. In fact, it is not only possible, but unquestionable.
On a wilderness adventure, teens not only experience the exhilaration of exploring the great outdoors through a variety of activities, but gain leadership skills, trust in their peers, a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance. A teen tour demands compromise while working with a large group of peers. Knowledge is gained while visiting museums, historical sites and national treasures. Community service trips allow teens a chance to selflessly give of themselves to help others in less fortunate circumstances. It is quite humbling to experience, first hand, the challenges other people face. Sailing adventures provide an opportunity for teens to be leaders, work as a team and master problem-solving skills while living on the water. These are only a few examples of the many options available to teens.
Most importantly, all of these experiences give teenagers an opportunity to step away from the pressures of school and enjoy their summer. They will meet new friends, have unique experiences and gain important skills all while having fun.
Once high school ends, the rat race begins. It seems like life has become more and more competitive with each passing year. Once children go off to college they begin focusing on the future and their careers. Summers are spent working, or in internships, or studying, as they begin to develop their skills in a particular field. For some, the summers while in high school could be a final opportunity to explore the world and go on an adventure of a lifetime, while developing skills that will be beneficial in any career or eventual path.
There are certainly a variety of ways to gain “life skills”. However, if one enjoys the process of learning these skills they will internalize them and those skills will last a lifetime.
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