We encourage parents to investigate camp opportunities thoroughly (particularly in light of your personal values and your reasons for having your teen attend). It is also important to take into account a teen’s maturity level—especially for overnight camps.
The following list is not exhaustive, but a sampling that hopefully will provoke you to think about the many educational and enjoyable opportunities that exist.
TEEN LEADERSHIP CAMPS
Patrick Henry College (PHC): Does your teen have an interest in traditional camp activities while exploring an academic discipline from a distinctively Christian worldview? PHC summer teen camps are taught by PHC faculty and other experts and include field trips to historic and U.S. government sites. Previous camps included the areas of journalism, strategic intelligence, constitutional law, drama, debate, music, and Kuck’s camp for those with an interest in physics. Campers receive a taste of college life as they stay in the college dorms, attend chapel, and interact with current PHC students serving as camp staff. Teens, ages 14–18, are welcome to participate. At PHC’s website, you can access full details about the 2010 camp offerings.
Generation Joshua iGovern: iGovern East (held on the Patrick Henry Campus in Purcellville, VA) or iGovern West (outside of Colorado Springs, CO) is a wonderful opportunity for your teen to experience the steps involved in writing, defending, and passing legislation, while learning about American politics from a Christian worldview. Campers will also take part in a mock presidential election and hear from well-known speakers. iGovern camps are not all work and no play! iGovern East gives your teen the special opportunity to visit and explore our nation’s beautiful capital during the camp’s day trip into the city. They’ll visit the Capitol building, Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument, and many other sites through this once-in-a-lifetime camp experience. Specific to iGovern West, your teens will enjoy all types of fun outdoor activities—archery, water fights, horseback riding, and more.
JH Summer Wind: For students in the 9th–12th grades, JH Ranch’s goal is to build the teen’s character and godly values through practical applications during two weeks of various activities. The camp limits the number of attendees, so you will want to register your teen early to be assured a spot.
Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions: Wild West, Wilderness, and Horsemanship camps are some of the options offered by Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions. MMRM also has opportunities for teens (ages 16 and up) who not only want to experience camp, but who are also looking for a summer ministry where they will be challenged to develop leadership skills. If your teen has a heart for the Lord and for children, consider MMRM’s “teens in training” program. Summer staff attends training starting June 10 to prepare for seven weeks of summer camp ministry. Positions include counselors, wranglers, horsemanship instructors, vaulting instructors, and lifeguards.
During the school year, you may find it difficult to teach all of the courses that you would like. If you have been meaning to include a worldviews/apologetics course, a summer camp could lessen your course load during the school year while providing your teen with the information he needs to be knowledgeable and confident when communicating his beliefs and values to others.
Summit Ministries offers young adults (ages 16–24) a two week camp preparing them for college or the workforce where they’ll face many different ideas that are in conflict to a biblical worldview. They will receive instruction in worldview analysis, apologetics and leadership. Summit Ministries’ camps are held in Colorado, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Similarly, Worldview Academy Leadership Camp is for teens ages 13 and up. Students learn about servant leadership, apologetics/evangelism, and comparative worldviews. The six-day camp includes creative activities, worship, and thought provoking seminars.
Science Camp: Teens interested in the sciences (especially careers in the medical field: physical therapy, nursing, sports medicine, forensics, etc.) may want to check out Homeschool Science Academy’s Anatomy and Physiology Camp. Geared to 9th–12th graders, teens will enjoy hands-on experiments (including dissecting cow and sheep organs and labs using human cadavers!) in a unique learning environment. The camp is held in the Appalachian Mountains near Boone, NC.
Singing Anyone? Summer is a great time to have your teens take part in the fine arts. Check out local opportunities with community theater or art and music camps that may be offered for teens on college campuses. If your teen wishes to combine the performing arts with sharing the gospel, the Continental Singers touring group offers opportunities to do just that as young adults take part in music missions, leadership development, and performing arts’ ministries.
Military Service Academies: Teens who are interested in attending one of the military academies should investigate the summer seminars offered for rising high school seniors. The purpose of these camps is to provide teens a realistic view of cadet life. Each academy has its own application requirements and registration deadlines. Because these camps are very competitive, it is important to closely follow the guidelines for admission and apply early.
SPIRITUAL LIFE “CAMPS”
Short Term Mission Trips: More and more mission organizations are offering short term summer opportunities to teens and young adults. Likely, your church offers a trip or two each summer for the youth. Or, the mission’s director may be able to link you up with mission agencies your church supports. On our website, we list a number of agencies who cater specifically to youth who are interested in learning more about a career in missions. Your teens will be stretched mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually through such an experience. Many full-time missionaries caught the vision through such a summer trip.
Word of Life Camps: For many years Word of Life has encouraged young people in their relationship with God through relevant Bible teaching and worship. Summer camps in New York and Florida combine this purpose with many fun activities.
As we mentioned above, these suggestions are not exhaustive. In fact, you likely know of or have experienced many wonderful camps in your own areas. We’ve offered a wide spectrum of ideas hoping to trigger your own investigations. Happy hunting! Just remember—it’s not too early to make these plans.
Our next newsletter will focus on foreign language for high school. We’ll look at options and courses of study to take into consideration as you plan out the high school years.
With thoughts of camping out under the stars (without shivering),
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators