Summer options abound for teens of all ages. Many offer the chance to make new friends and boost self esteem. Others offer an opportunity to learn new skills and see new places. Here are some ways your teen can occupy himself from June to Labor Day:
Summer jobs provide teens with more than just a little pocket money. They teach responsibility; give structure to the day; enable your child to interact with new people of various ages; and bolster confidence. They also look good on a college application.
Options abound: lifeguarding or babysitting (your local Y may offer classes to help your teen certify); flipping burgers; helping an elderly neighbor; clerking at a favorite store in the mall; or a part-time gig at the local post office or library. Entrepreneurial teens can start lawn mowing, house painting, pet care, computer support or other businesses.
If your teen has a driver’s license and wheels, he can look farther afield for a summer job.
If you have to drive your teen, unless you live in an area with public transportation, she’s probably more limited geographically. If she’s old enough, she might score a job at a day camp that provides bus service. Or she might consider being a counselor at a sleepaway camp. The American Camp Association is one place to look for such jobs.
Summer break doesn't have to mean a break in learning—>
Middle school and high school students can bolster their academics, beef up their college resume, and learn independent living skills at specially designed college campus-based summer programs. There are some websites that can help you locate and select the appropriate programs for your child. Check out summeracademicprograms.com, summerstudy.com, and summerlearning.org.
Many younger teens enjoy going to summer camp. Often, camps are geared to specific interests; there are sports camps, arts camps, adventure camps, religious camps, nature and environmental camps, and more. Check out local parks and recreation programs, school-based camps, ask your friends for suggestions, or search online. The American Camp Association can help you refine your search.
If your teen has wanderlust, consider a teen tour. Teen tours chaperone groups of adolescents on domestic and international travel. To find one, type “teen tours” into your search engine to do some research, and talk to friends and relatives whose kids have taken such trips.
Has she thought about internships or volunteering?—>
Internships let your child try a career on for size. Many are administered through colleges and universities (if you’re lucky, your child’s high school may know of some). But teens also can approach employers—anything from big corporations to small companies and individuals—in their field of interest to ask whether internships are available.
It pays to network: Your employer, or the employers of friends or family, may offer internships, and professional organizations may know where the internships are.
Local non-profit organizations, animal shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and other agencies may offer opportunities for teens to volunteer. Your child’s school may know of available slots, or it may take a bit of cold calling to find one, but volunteering is a win/win proposition for everyone.
Carol Lippert Gray is the editor of Raising Teens.