Top 5 Reasons Teens and Preteens Should Come to Camp cover

Top 5 Reasons Teens and Preteens Should Come to Camp

You know your middle school student would have a great time at camp-if they would just give it a try.

Summer camps are packed with fun and low on stress. They offer interesting activities, cool counselors and the chance to hang out with friends or make new ones. A large, established program such as Corbett Prep’s CAMP IDS has hundreds of camps for students of all ages and interests. But to tweens or teens, camp may seem like another obligation chipping away at their vacation time.

Until they realize camp is anything but boring.

If you need to convince a reluctant registrant, here are five reasons older kids should make camp part of their summer:

Top 5 Reasons Teens and Preteens Should Come to Camp

1. They can visit fun places without parents chauffeuring.

Your kids can spend a week hopping around Tampa Bay to all sorts of adventures while you work (sigh). Field trip camps will take them to laser tag, skating rinks, baseball games and pools. Or they can choose on-campus recreational camps with shaving cream battles, water balloon fights, Slip-n-Slide sports, obstacle courses and tie dying projects—with no cleanup required from parents!

2. Summer camps have cool toys.

Does your home have its own gaga pit? CAMP IDS does! Kids love this crazy dodgeball-style game but you need a spot for it and enough kids to play. Summer camp dedicated to gaga ball provides them with teammates, plenty of game time and even some work on agility and strategy. Outdoorsy camps provide access to fishing, canoeing and archery. Or you can choose a camp featuring the latest technology and STEM gadgets. Kids can step into virtual and augmented reality, battle Sumo robots, practice digital streaming and build apps under the guidance of experienced counselors.

3. They can cross-train or condition for sports.

Summer camp is a low-stress way to try a new sport or keep up with strength and conditioning to prepare for fall. VAST Sports Performance returns to CAMP IDS every year with a program designed to help kids run faster, jump higher and improve movements in multiple sports. Sports-specific camps, such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball, can provide an overview of the basics for students considering joining a team or give extra coaching and practice to kids who want to develop their skills.

Top 5 Reasons Teens and Preteens Should Come to Camp

4. They can pursue their passions.

Summer camps benefit from hiring counselors with diverse backgrounds as chefs, coders, musicians, coaches, artists and more. Students can tap into their knowledge during a week dedicated solely to what they love. They can audition for a musical, create a comic book, compete as a Master Chef, compose songs, build a massive sculpture, become an entrepreneur, hone babysitting skills or dive into the history of hip hop. And that’s just a start!

5. They can still sleep in.

No parent enjoys dragging a cranky teen out of bed. But maybe there is a compromise between busy days and lazy days. A half-day camp that starts at noon lets everyone ease into the day, and the kids are still home in time for fun with family or friends.

Why leave all the fun for the younger kids? Whether it’s one week or an entire summer, camp provides an outlet for preteens and teens to explore their interests in challenging and engaging ways.

Originally published in the April 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.