(updated on March 26, 2017)
As any mom knows, once the teen years hit, it can be really difficult to find something your kid finds enjoyable. And, if you’re a teen reading this, come on you know it’s true! Blank stares or eye-rolling are all too common when teens are asked what they want to do in the summer.
While traditional summer camps may not be what you have in mind for yourself or your child this year, the good news is there are plenty of high school camp options out there that teens DO enjoy. No matter what your interests or goals after high school, these camps can help you accelerate your skill set, or even just plain have fun and relax before people will expect you to get a job!
Art Camps are a great way for teens to start the summer to unwind and express their creativity. Teens who want to expand their photo skills beyond the cell phone camera can learn photography and darkroom skills at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco. Art School of SF Bay offers Fan Art, Digital Painting, Advanced Manga, Comic Art and other subjects geared for teens. Camp Fashionista in San Jose has fashion drawing, embroidery and dress making classes for teens.
Music lovers can join a band at Rock Camp at San Francisco Rock Project or School of Rock San Mateo. Blue Bear of Music in San Francisco and Dandan Performing Arts Center in San Lorenzo both offer songwriting camps and more advanced music topics.
For work experience, teens can get valuable leadership skills and experience as a counselor-in-training at Stanford All-Sports Summer Camp, Castilleja’s Counselor In Training (Palo Alto), Camp Gan Israel of Silicon Valley, Hi-Five Silicon Valley, or Camp Edmo.
For those who love computers and tech, coding camps at NextGen Tech Learning (in San Ramon and Fremont), Coder School of Fremont, and MathGymUSA in Mountain View are a few of the Bay Area programs that specialize in helping the next generation become coders and makers. Startup Wonder offers teen programming, app design and business camps. For a hands-on experience, check out the variety at TechShop SF.
Math Enrichment is a math and writing program to help kids get a leg up on their next report card. From basic math skills to difficult geometry theorems, students learn and have fun with field trips. It’s also very affordable with their early registration discounts. Yes, teens reading this know that academics aren’t exactly the ideal summer vacation, but when you get into a good college – you can thank your mom AND your summer camp teachers. Debate, SAT and ACT Test Prep, and Startup camps are other ways that teens can use the summer to develop these academic areas.
Sports camps can keep teens active by focusing on the same sport or trying something new. Encore Lacrosse provides lacrosse fundamentals while GameBreaker Lacrosse has day and overnight options for ages 8-18. If soccer is your game, AYSO Soccer Camps and Challenger Soccer are good ways to keep active and learn from enthusiastic soccer coaches.
Overnight camps offered by Camp Chrysalis will give all city kids a chance to experience the great outdoors. The nature adventures include canoeing, kayaking, and various team building activities in the wilderness.
You’ll find more overnight and day camps that take place on college campuses. These programs are a great way to spend a week at university, including Stanford and Berkeley. You’ll find iD Tech, Camp Bizsmart, Adidas Tennis, Revolution Softball and Revolution Field Hockey at several colleges this summer.