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Mar 21, 2013

Enriching Your Teens' Summer

Becky Cooke

What better way to keep boredom at bay than to provide enrichment opportunities to your teens during the summer time. It’s not too early to plan how your teen spends his or her summer. There is something to be said about a break from a schedule, academics, and assignments, so don’t let these precious months pass without thinking about ways to add enthusiasm to the high school years.

If your teens are finishing their junior or senior years, a worldview camp will help them solidify what they believe and articulate their faith when they take that next step after graduation. Maybe your teen’s motivational level is at a low point and you want to entice him for next year’s slate of courses. Camps such as Landry AcademyGeneration JoshuaPatrick Henry College Teen camps, will light a spark for them. Some of these may also provide high school credit or partial credit.

Another way to enrich your son or daughter’s summer experience is through interning or shadowing someone in an area of interest they wish to pursue. These opportunities can be long or short term, paid or unpaid. Hospitals have programs for nurse assistants if your teen is talking about a nursing career. Do you have an acquaintance who works in the financial world who will give your teen a close up view of the skills necessary for such a career? Spending a summer on a farm will take the romance out of the career so your son will know for sure this is what he wants to do. You get the idea.

Maybe you and your daughter want to do something together. Check out your rec center for culinary classes or art lessons or dress sign, etc. Dads, if you are looking for a place to spend time with your son, what about a fencing class or golf/tennis lessons? The time invested together in your teens’ lives will be remembered forever.

But maybe a family vacation is in order. If so, consider taking in sights that you may have studied this past year or will be studying in the upcoming one. Seeing the place will help to cement important information in your teen’s mind.

I remember one year when a vacation away from home wasn’t possible. Instead, we decided to plan days throughout the summer to do special activities or visit places in our local area. One in particular that my children remembered was touring an automobile assembly plant. Afterwards, we found a nice park and enjoyed a picnic together. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun!

   Summer jobs are wonderful learning experiences for teens. Encourage them to set aside a portion of their earnings towards future goals. Use these opportunities to talk about financial management and the merits of living within their means.

   The lazy days of warm weather can entice your teens outside to get extra exercise through learning a new sport such as tennis, golf, swimming. If the budget allows, lessons can help get them started in the right direction.

   Family retreats, vacations, summer jobs, or camps will involve everyone. Just think of the conversations you’ll have around the dinner table at the end of the day! Some of my family’s memories center on aspects of vacations that could have spoiled the day. One was of a buffet restaurant where the children were thrilled to see Jell-O on the menu. However, they found that they could chew and chew only to find it didn’t change shape! Another was that we often took vacations during off season (cheaper) that often provided bloopers – such as touring Versailles in the dead of winter when all the statutes and fountains were covered. To top it off, we have pictures of our eating baguette sandwiches outside in the gardens while bundled in coats, hats and gloves! Today, we laugh at the “remember when” memories.

Do you want more ideas? Read our newsletters in our archive under “Enrichment.” Take time now to plan and you, too, will enjoy the memories!

-Becky

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