In a recent interview, 22-year-old MIT graduate, Tiera Guinn Fletcher, credited her parents and educators for challenging her and providing opportunities that helped her decide, at age 11, to become a rocket scientist. She remembers that at just six years old, she “loved to innovate and calculate” and took every opportunity to use her hands to build and learn with the help of her parents and mentors. Currently working on NASA’s space launch system to Mars, the most powerful rocket ever created, she is honored to be involved with the history-making program. Her words confirm how crucial it is to have both early exposure to rich learning experiences and encouragement from influential adults. With that type of support, kids really can envision themselves as capable of changing the world.
In addition to sharing their own expertise with kids, as Tiera’s parents did, how can parents support and augment kids’ interests? Beyond ensuring that kids get the best possible education, many parents seek extracurricular and summer programs to enhance kids’ knowledge and experience. With so many awesome summer camp programs available, picking the perfect program for your kids may present a challenge. These suggestions will help parents evaluate summer camp themes and majors to guide you when selecting the optimal experience for your kids.
Start With Talents, Interests and Hobbies
If your kids have specific interests or talents, they may be anxious to get in some extra focus time during the summer. A hobby is a great thing to pursue, whether it’s an old favorite or a new fascination, and different types of camps can help meet different needs and achieve different goals.
- Music, Dance, Drama and Performing Arts Camp - Summer is a great time for some concentrated private lessons and/or ensemble participation. A specialty camp provides the chance for kids with a passion for the arts to practice and perform while studying with artists and educators.
- Sports and Athletic Conditioning Camp - Intensive conditioning and the opportunity for advanced skill development are two reasons to seek out a sports camp. Whether it’s basketball, football, gymnastics, soccer or cheerleading, specialized camp programs are available to accommodate a range of ability levels, from beginners to elite athletes.
- Technology Camp - For kids who can’t get enough of their digital devices, summer camps that allow them to use and learn with technology are a great fit. These programs not only keep them interested and engaged, but give them useful takeaway skills. They can start with some basic coding through MOD design or seek out specific applications. As kids become more tech-savvy, they can access a variety of specialized experiences at camp. Gamers can join a game development studio where they program, test and launch their own creations. Depending on their angle, kids can tell their own story by creating a realistic environment presented through virtual reality or by filming and posting videos to their own YouTube channel.
- STEM and STEAM Camp - One of the most popular summer camp experiences involves the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) or STEAM, which adds the arts. The draw of these camps lies in the themes and projects that allow kids to take an active role, applying these integrated disciplines to a pertinent, real-world scenario. Animal lovers in the SF Bay Area will thrive on the opportunity to serve as zoologist or veterinarian while working with live animals. Throughout California and Chicagoland, kitchen chemists will enjoy the opportunity to taste and perfect their own recipes. And those who love to build will flourish in a workshop environment where they design and build their own go-kart, catapult or robot pet. Multidisciplinary themes ensure that kids make deep and lasting connections. They have a blast while acquiring skills that will benefit them in school and may inform career decisions one day.
The Perfect Program for Your Kids
We often hear that many of the jobs kids will hold in the future do not yet exist. Similar to the advent of the internet and the new jobs created as a result, expanding technologies will give rise to novel careers as yet unnamed. Rather than preparing kids for specific careers, the best thing we can do is help them acquire the skills and mindsets that will help open them to future possibilities. The qualities that will serve them well in life include flexible and critical thinking, the ability to persevere in the face of challenges and willingness to communicate and collaborate within a team. While engaging kids’ specific interests, the perfect summer camp program will also help to nurture innovative thinking and give them confidence to take risks. These skills will benefit them in all aspects of life, including school, relationships, and someday, in the work world.
Like Tiera Fletcher, kids often develop strong interests and inclinations at a very young age. Providing opportunities to exercise curiosity and utilize imagination is one of the most empowering supports a parent can provide. In the context of summer fun, parents can nurture those interests by finding the perfect theme or major to engage and motivate kids. Selecting a camp that provides authentic experiences and allows kids to play a real role affirms their interests and expands their reach. The most powerful gifts we can give kids are the opportunities to develop confidence and resiliency, to view themselves as powerful and capable, and provide them with real tools that will allow them, like Tiera, to do achieve anything they dream.
Check out the variety of engaging themes and majors at Galileo Camps in your area: San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, and Chicagoland. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources. Or, for more information about Galileo camps, contact us here.