Summer Camp – Inspire Future Career Interests

Summer camp experiences can cultivate unexpected interests and can provide opportunities to expand a child’s talents and passions.  A child’s early interests can often be strong indicators for future career choices.

Hobbies, personal collections, and even language can provide parents with wonderful insights into a child’s potential career direction.  While adults might dismiss a child’s passionate interest in dinosaurs as cute, they may be experiencing the beginnings of a future paleontologist.  A child who collects, and is fascinated with the beauty found in rocks and gemstones, might easily enjoy studying geology in university.  A child who relishes in negotiating and ‘debating everything’ might be well suited for a career in law or one of the related fields.

Summer camps can become great resources to expand upon a child’s specific area of interest, or create varied and enriching introductions to new life experiences.  There are many wonderful camp choices which specialize in the Arts, Crafts, Music and Sports.  There are Day Camps, Outdoors Camps, Academic Camps, Week-away Camps, Specialty Camps, and generalist camps that offer a wide variety of fun-filled, stimulating experiences for children of all ages .

The following suggestions are a general guideline that may be helpful in choosing a perfect summer camp experience for your child:

1) Consider your child’s interests and personal comfort needs, and actively listen to what he/she would prefer for their summer camp activities.

2) Decide on the number of weeks, the budget, if extended hours are required, travelling distance, etc.

3) It is important for your child to participate in the decision-making.  Collect a variety of camp brochures and together review the range of options within your criteria.

4) Ask other families for feedback on camp experiences their children have had; both positive and negative.  Keep in mind that one’s negative experience could be another’s WOW factor!

5) If your child has exceptional or unusual interests, consider setting up a mentoring process with someone who is knowledgeable in that field, and arrange for your child to help out or job shadow for a period of time.

Summer Camp experiences also provide powerful secondary benefits: learning how to deal with new beginnings and different surroundings which may be outside of one’s comfort zone, risk-taking when exploring the novel and different, getting to know new people, and perhaps enjoying a greater degree of independence.

Remember also that a ‘less than ideal’ camp experience can be memorable too and can bring with it many unexpected ‘gifts’.    A child may develop a broader understanding of what makes him/her feel comfortable, and may develop greater empathy and improved coping skills from that experience.  The child might have a greater appreciation of situations which do not work for him/her, or understand more about their own personal likes and dislikes.

It is important to keep the doors of communication open during the camping experience.  Offer your support, guidance, and perhaps share your own camp experiences to ease your child’s transition to this summer adventure.  When a child feels safe, supported, and understood, it establishes a sound foundation for a successful camp experience, which just might also set the stage for future career interests.

(Published: Oakville Today – April 26, 2012)

Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.

Founder and Director, Glenburnie School

Providing a progressive, innovative private school education