Photo credit: Teen Wilderness Adventures
Despite your best efforts to keep your little hatchlings close to the nest, nothing can keep your kids from their firm desire to flex their independence and attend a sleep-away summer camp.
From sea to shining sea — and sometimes, even across that sea — here are 15 of the coolest summer camps for kids.
While you might not be able to fathom more than a night away from your child, you also know that a sleep-away camp and/or teen tour experience is a rite of passage your kid deserves — and needs — to experience, even if those weeks when she’s gone will have you riddled with longing and anxiety until her safe return.
If you’re a parent ready to let your child take the sleep-away-camp plunge, here are 15 camp and teen tour experiences that should be on your radar.
15. The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Teen Wilderness Adventures
Teen Wilderness Adventures include spectacular locations like the White Mountain National Forest, where teens get to experience some of the most impressive above-tree line panoramas in the Northeast as part of their hiking and wilderness adventures.
They combine one or more outdoor activities — like hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, and service and conservation adventures — with spectacular destinations such as the White Mountains region of northern New Hampshire and western Maine, the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, the Maine Highlands of northern Maine, and Acadia National Park. Group sizes ranges from 6 to 10 and all trips have at least two instructors at all times.
What we love:
Participants in AMC’s Teen Wilderness Adventures learn about the outdoors and develop essential life skills through 5-to-23-day wilderness adventure programs in New Hampshire and Maine. With trips for novices as well as experienced outdoors enthusiasts, this program fosters an appreciation for the environment, develops self-esteem, instills a spirit of adventure, and promotes teamwork, friendship, and a sense of community through memorable wilderness experiences.
Their 20-day Leadership Training Backpack course prepares older teens (ages 16-18) for their own personal wilderness adventures, and it can also be an important step towards becoming a wilderness instructor. Many graduates of this program have gone on to work with the AMC.
Their Youth Adventures series, for ages 12-13, offers a variety of outdoor activities but keeps hiking distances and pack weights appropriate for younger participants. These adventures start with day hikes that lead up to a short backpacking, rock climbing, or canoe trip. Youth Adventures help kids of this age increase their outdoor confidence and skills while building self-sufficiency.
Excellent value – rates include instruction, transportation, meals, group equipment, and camping fees. They offer all participants free use of AMC outdoor gear, which can be a significant savings for first timers or kids who will outgrow gear yearly. New Wilderness Conservation and Service Adventure focuses on outdoor ethics and conservation and offers the opportunity to earn up to 24 service hours, which can be applied toward high school graduation community service requirements.