Category: Special Guide for Teens

Teen Programs and Options

by Karen Meister

I will be spending the next couple of days meeting, greeting and learning about new and exciting programs for teens.  I have spoken with so many parents who all agree — we wish we could attend these programs today!!  They are amazing.  But beyond amazing, these programs are designed to help teens learn about our global world, the good, the bad and most importantly… the different.

Even within the United States, there are “different” types of people, environments, opportunities, needs and more.  When my youngest son left his cozy and beloved camp after 7 years of being there, he was sure he would never have an experience quite like camp.  Knowing what I knew about available opportunities, I was not going to permit him to stay one more year at a place that was terrific, but “same old”.  It was time to push him out of his summer “nest” and expose him to so much more….

Travel was his choice… and he got to see a good portion of the United States… places that I have never visited.  He would call from yet the next great place and say, “Mom, you will just love this place.  You have to go here!”  Needless to say, the push out of the nest was absolutely successful and to this day (now almost 10 years later), he is a willing and eager traveler.  The fire was lit, the passion was created and he became multidimensional as a teen.

But alas, there are so many ways to open the eyes of our somewhat entitled, somewhat shy, somewhat confident or non-confident teenagers.  So next week, I will be learning about specific programs in the following categories:

1.  PRE-COLLEGE PROGRAMS – where teens experience life and independence on college campuses in the US and abroad while getting college or high school credits, enrichment classes, SAT prep classes and more.  Learn the difference between big and small campuses, practice dorm life and self-directed time management.

2.  COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS – where teens can experience all types of community service opportunities that can be started during the school year and implemented during the summer months in the US and abroad.

3.  LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL IMMERSION PROGRAMS – where teens receive worldwide opportunities in every possible language and culture.  In this global economy, understand life as it exists elsewhere.

4.  SPECIALTY PROGRAMS –  where teens can puruse their passion in for example, film/photograph, sports, writing, international relations, debate, robotics and engineering, marketing and management, medicine, public policy, performing arts  and anything else they can dream of.

4.  COLLEGE TOURS –  where teens can visit colleges of interest while still enjoying time with peers.

5.  INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS – where teens can experience working with companies in fields of interest while still enjoying the social interaction of peers.

So…. if you have an interest in a specific type of program, let me know….  New programs and old programs are so fantastic.  And I’ll make sure to get up to the minute information for all.  Like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/campexperts.  I will update you on new ideas and most importantly, availability and discounts!!  Press here to like my page!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

P2P – Passion to Proficiency

by Karen Meister

My very first teen guinea pig was a freshman in high school and also happened to be my niece.  She had fallen in love with photography and wanted to travel the world shooting pictures.  My response, “Great!  But do you really know what you are doing with that camera?”  We established a plan of action which I now call the High School P2P or Passion to Proficiency.

We mapped out the next several years of high school summers:

1.  Post-9th grade:  specialized program that would provide in depth skill-building with the camera, editing, story telling and portfolio building.

2.  Post-10th grade:  Travel, with camera, under the tutelage of experienced photographers and journalists.

3.  Post-11th grade:  Continue traveling but adding videography and journaling, again under the direction of experts.

Lauren is and will always be a star all on her own.  But her P2P plan augmented her skills and confidence to move forward through school.  As a graduate with distinction, from Duke University, in Visual Media Studies, she received a grant to produce a documentary on the migration of a mother and daughter from Peru to the United States.  I invite you to follow her blog, The Shared Divide, as her story unfolds.

With Lauren’s success as my guide, I have implemented the P2P plan with many teenagers with passions ranging from:   writing to medicine, engineering to sports, entrepreneurship to environmental sustainability, government and politics to musical theater.

P2P does not guarantee awards and college admissions, but P2P will enrich the life of your teen and demonstrate a commitment and dedication to success.  If you are interested in learning more about options for your teen, let’s talk.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Girls Should Not Be Victims

by Karen Meister

As parents, we have spent many years preparing both our sons and daughters for college.  And yet, we send them off assuming  that they will be cared for by an administration at the college campus level.  And you know what they say about those who “assume”.  

Date rape drugs, sexual assault, and men overpowering freshman girls.  It is time to stop pointing the finger at others who have not protected our daughters.  It is time prepare our daughters and ourselves to be aware; to be able to defend ourselves and our loved ones.

The Young Women’s Self-Defense Program is coming to South Florida.  It will be open to current high school and college girls.  It is a 1 -2 week intensive that will be held as a day program in North Dade County, to enable easy access to those in the Dade/Broward County areas.  Packed with amazing tools and techniques for protecting your body, your credit and your identity, the program is a definite investment in your daughter’s safe future.  And moms, you can attend as well.

For more information, contact Karen Meister at Karen@CampExperts.com.  Or you can click here to complete the on line form for more information.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

PRE-COLLEGE SELF DEFENSE

 ”One in five women in college sexually assaulted”
Washington Post

“Brown University students say they were given date-rape drug”
Boston Globe

“Another Campus Sexual Assualt Horror Story.  Now We Need the Data.”
New York Times

Onus of changing campus rape culture lies with men
Miami Herald 

by Karen Meister

As parents, we have spent many years preparing both our sons and daughters for college.  And yet, we send them off assuming  that they will be cared for by an administration at the college campus level.  And you know what they say about those who “assume”.  

Date rape drugs, sexual assault, and men overpowering freshman girls.  As a mother of three wonderful young men, who were taught to protect women and care for them, women and parents must stop the blame game.  As I have always believed, you cannot change the behavior of others.  But you can change how you react to others’ behavior.

Along with good grades, community service participation, great SAT scores and development of independence, a caring father of two girls asked me for a program to teach his daughters how to protect themselves.  Not finding it in the market, we have created one that is a must for every girl preparing to enter college in the next few years.

We are proud to launch a summer Self-Defense Program for current high school girls.  It is a 1 -2 week overnight self defense course.  It is not inexpensive, but it is packed with amazing tools and techniques for protecting your body, your credit and your identity.  The program is being offered this first summer to girls who are currently in high school.  Future courses will be offered to college girls as well.

For more information, contact Karen Meister at Karen@CampExperts.com.  Or you can click here to complete the on line form for more information.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

Is 13 too old to start camp?

by Karen Meister

I was a sleepaway camp counselor for many many years.  My favorite age was the 12, 13 and 14 year old campers.  They thought they knew EVERYTHING!!  It was great, exciting, fun, challenging and eye opening.  These kids seemed to know a lot more than I thought they should know.

And yet, they were well into their formative years.

You could play with them like pals, you could tell stories that they understood, and yet, they really watched you so closely… how you spoke to other people, how you handled pressure, how you disciplined, how I talked to boys…  They would then ask tons of questions.  Some were inappropriate and I had to learn how to handle those questions.  And some were questions they could not ask their parents, but felt safe asking me.  As their counselor, it was rewarding, challenging and so powerful.

And it is so hard to be a kid at that age! Kids develop at such different rates.  You have the guy who is growing a mustache next to the boy who’s voice has not yet changed.  A girl who looks like a woman next to the little girl who is still naive (that was me!!)  And of course on the inside, you have the one who is mature and in control next to the young teen who is still watching cartoons and is very happy to be a kid.

And 13 is a great time to go to camp, even if it is the first time.  But…

IT IS CRUCIAL THAT THE RIGHT CAMP BE SELECTED AT THIS AGE.

So what can a middle schooler achieve at camp?

1.  Who am I?

A middle schooler gets to go to camp and take off the trappings of right or wrong clothes, good or bad grades, cool or uncool at school, etc.  At camp, the right camp, a middle schooler gets a do-over.  No parent over the shoulder screening behavior from an adult perspective, no grades that measure success or failure.  At camp, a middle schooler gets to be good at something — best bed maker, best baseball player, best pottery coil maker….. whatever!

2.  Experiment – What Happens at camp Stays at camp!

At this time of confusion, experimenting without lifelong consequences is the best.  Trying new sports that you wouldn’t dare try at home for fear of teasing.  Talking to that girl and asking her to meet you at the Saturday night barbecue.  Try new things… get on the stage, hop on a horse, pick up a camera, try volleyball.  And after the summer is over, your teen returns home and if the experiment was not successful, he/she learned and can make changes at home.  And the negative stayed at camp….

3.  Safety net required

If they are going to feel free experimenting, they have to know that the counselors and other campers won’t tease them if the teen fails when trying something new.  Encouragement and support have to be the culture at the camp….  And counselors are really terrific mentors… they are close enough in age to allow the young teen to feel comfortable, and yet old enough to have passed through those middle school years successfully.  I loved this!!

4.  Be a Kid!

The young teens that are fully developed on the outside are expected to be a certain way on the inside, and yet, they just want to be a kid.  Forced to grow up so quickly, and be so responsible during the school year, summer offers a time to let your hair down and just be silly.

5.  Get back to nature.

Always so programmed and crammed with technology, the few weeks of summer camp offer a glimpse back at what the world is truly all about.  And believe me, it takes time to be comfortable with unplugging.  It takes at minimum two weeks to get rid of the tech-free jitters.   Middle schoolers need a chance to feel the power of nature and face to face conversations.

6.  Speaking of Face to Face

Talking instead of texting.  Skills that kids seem to have lost and yet need to develop as they make their way through the world. Camp forces conversation as you walk to an activity, around the campfire, and on the fields.  Late at night in the bunk, the teens really get to know each other and share their insides.  

7.  A big world

It is great when a young teen realizes that the world is so much more expansive than their little neighborhood.  At camp, you get to meet other kids from around the world and it puts those monstrous challenging moments at home into perspective — just meaningless.

 

Still time for late decision makers to get to camp.  But make sure you have someone to help find the right camp.  Keep in mind, if your middle schooler goes to a camp where all the other campers have been together since they were seven, don’t expect great success.  Selection must be wise!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

4 Types of Teens/Summer Plans

by Karen Meister

Over the past decade, I have raised my own kids to their successful independence (phew) and have helped so many families guide their teenagers to use their summers for exploration, competency development and launching into college.  My surprise was when a previous client said — I didn’t know you helped teenagers too!!  Guess I haven’t spoken loudly enough or more directly!!  I have become an expert in helping teenagers use their summers wisely, effectively and enjoyably.  And I talk “good teen”!!

So, let me be very clear.  There is nothing better for a high schooler than to leave the nest and learn how to live on their own prior to going off to college.  It is hard enough to stay on top of the academics but compound that with freedom of choice and independent time management,  fraternity/sorority rush, dorm life, dining hall eating, new friends, extracurriculars….

Key word – INDEPENDENT!!  Mom/Dad, you are not there to direct, to make choices for your child, or to oversee their actions.  You simply pay the bill (and you may not even know how they are doing in school)!

There are four typical teenagers and as I describe them, you will know which one you have:

1.  THE PROFESSIONAL:  This teen knows exactly what they want to do, how to get there and is self-directed.  He or she still has questions, challenges and typical teen behavior.  But when it comes to goals, they are very specific.

2.  THE ENTREPRENEUR:  This teen knows they want to be successful, they want a nice life and yet have not a clue what they want to do with themselves.  They either are comfortable with the science/math track, the language/social studies track or a slight combo of the two.

3.  THE “TWEEN”:  This teen really wants to still be a kid and has no desire to think beyond this afternoon.  He or she is a good kid but really has no desire to move the ball forward to independence right now.  They depend on their friends to plan their activities, they are happy to go along with the pack, their grades are average and they are not self directed in any aspect of their lives.  They follow directions but do not create the direction.

4.  THE CONTRARIONThis teen is revolting about everything!!  I am sorry you are going through this if in fact, this is your teen.  However, know that you are not alone and there are many things that can be done to move them to any of the above 3.

So based on the type of teenager you have, or if they fit somewhere in between, know that there are many different ways to open their eyes, present opportunity, expand their horizons and direct them towards becoming successful independent young men and women.  So what can be done with the 13 weeks of summer?  Or 25% of your teen’s life??

Following are a few categories to consider and within each category, there are many programs near and far that are available.  Each of these programs can then be paired with special projects that can be tied to their school year work.  For example,

1.  PRE-COLLEGE PROGRAMS – experience life and independence on college campuses in the US and abroad while getting college or high school credits, enrichment classes, SAT prep classes and more.  Learn the difference between big and small campuses, practice dorm life and self-directed time management

2.  COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS – experience all types of community service opportunities that can be started during the school year and implemented during the summer months in the US and abroad.

3.  LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL IMMERSION PROGRAMS – worldwide opportunities in every possible language and culture.  In this global economy, understand life as it exists elsewhere.

4.  SPECIALTY PROGRAMS –  film/photograph, sports, writing, international relations, debate, robotics and engineering, marketing and management, medicine, public policy and anything you can dream of

4.  COLLEGE TOURS –  visit colleges of interest while still enjoying time with peers

5.  INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS – experience working with companies in fields of interest while still enjoying the social interaction of peers

The goal of summer development is to move your teen to The Professional or Indian Chief.  And if you start the process when your teen is in 9th grade, you have a very good chance of getting your teen very ready to start college successfully.  Clearly, each teen is different, each household and budget is different, each year is different.  There are so many resources to help you find just the right action to take year to year.

To learn more about the 3 Year High School Summer Plan, feel free to contact me for free advice and direction. Making a difference in teenagers (and even the peace and tranquility in your home) has become more than a job but a personal passion to make a difference in future generations.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Are They Listening?

by Karen Meister

Graduation is around the corner.  Awards ceremonies are near.  Summer camp duffels need to be ordered and arranged.  This is such a busy time of the year.  So exciting, so frustrating, so overwhelming….  So how, as a parent, do you deal with it all?  And then on top of it, how are your kids dealing with their own anxieties, frustrations, excitement, and your PUSHING!!!!

The little guys, those in elementary school, although sometimes challenging, can be directed.  You hear them, you know what you believe is best for them, you guide them lovingly and sternly, and hopefully they do what you say and wish for them.  The push back may come because they can see a crack in your armature.  They know your weaknesses and given the opportunity, will climb into that little crack and do everything they can to make it bigger and more spacious for their NEEDS!  Caulk that crack (I’m doing a bit of remodeling right now so pardon the analogy!)  In elementary school, you get to be the dictator.  Going to sleep away camp?  Kids… here is your list, we are going to pack on Saturday, be prepared and when we are done…. PARTY!!  Pool, cake, ice cream — yes, most certainly bribe them — and happy dance.  We accomplished this task together and let’s applaud ourselves.

 

The middle schoolers are tough.  Still able to direct them (they have no wheels) but the sullen, blue, don’t bother me attitude takes over your once, sweet delish little child.  With this age, sometimes reverse psychology works wonders.  When it comes to summer plans, if they have never gone away before, fear is really the biggest factor in the push back by the tween.  Their wish is “I don’t need you to protect me or tell me what to do, Mom/Dad”.  Their insides are saying “I can’t leave.  I have no idea what it will be like.  It will probably stink.  I will be miserable.  No one will like me……”  They verbalize “Don’t make me do that stupid thing.  It “s@#$%ks”!”  How to handle?  Give them two to three options from which they get to choose.  And as you know or don’t know, going away is the perfect thing for them to do at this age.  They learn independence, they grow, and they know that they can conquer those inner fears (and so can you).

So you let the middle schooler know, you will be going away to a summer program for a minimum of (fill in the number of days) OR you will be participating in a program for…..  You however, will have ultimate decision making in which one you choose.  However, you must choose one.  Here you go….  Review them, ask questions, we can choose together.  But on May 21st (or of course, whatever date you choose and it should have been March 21st), a decision will be made.  OK.  Bye….

And then leave that sullen, confused middle schooler alone to digest what you just presented.  There may be excitement, anger, thrills, who knows.  But the directive has been presented, and yet, he/she has involvement in the decision making. Big step from the little guys.

And then there are the teens.  High schoolers can be off the charts amazing and want to do things that you could never dream to do, could never afford to do, or want to do yourselves.  Right??  But it is there time.  And yet others, are still stuck in the middle school sullen mode.  They want to sleep, hang out with their friends, leave me alone, I work so hard all year, why are you making me do something during my vacation, did I catch them all?  There are so many more.  Bottom line is an idle teen is dangerous.  My suggestion is again with involvement in choosing.  So again, on May 21st (or your date of choice) we will decide your summer plans.  You will either have a job, have a class, or go on a program of some sort.  Six weeks of your twelve week summer vacation must be planned on May 21st.  We will then discuss the remaining six weeks of your time.  You will have some hang around time, we will be taking a family vacation and you will be doing some work around the house.  Let’s get planning!

For those who want to do nothing, this is a tremendous chore. It means they may have to make decisions without knowing what their friends are doing.  And of course, that is an exercise in development of independence.  They may have no clue what they want to do, and anything you may have to say is met with immediate rejection.  And here is the trick.  KEEP TALKING!  KEEP SUGGESTING!

They are listening.  They hear what will make you happy.  Just don’t jam it down their throats or give them too much information at once.  Give them three options.  Give them a mandate to select one.  Give them a date.  And if they do not choose or implement their choice by the given date, you get to choose.  There will be some fireworks, no doubt.  But they will grow, learn, plan and develop.

My kids had the pleasure of going through all of this with me.  I was tough but not too tough.  Listened but told.  Hugged and scolded.  And now in their 20′s, they are implementing, on their own, some of the lessons taught so many years back.  They were always listening.  It is now their time to act.  Just keep on talking and guiding.  That is being a parent….

Needless to say, if you still need help with the summer and help being a director to your teens, just holler.  I have had the experience and can talk to the teens with you.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Specialty vs General Camp

by Karen Meister

Over the past ten years, I have spoken to hundreds, maybe thousands of parents.  Typically, I speak to moms who either are the driver behind sending their children to camp or they are the implementer of the decision that both parents have made.  So here is a typical conversation.  My son, he is the oldest of three, is 9 years old and he is an amazing …..  fill in the blanks.  Let’s use tennis as the example because since I am a tennis player, it is easy to talk about, and familiar to many families.

The conversation continues… I really want him to focus on his tennis, he is showing tremendous strength in the sport, and I don’t want him to lose his skills over the summer by doing arts and crafts and wasting his time on other sports.  If we wait any longer for him to concentrate on his tennis, he is going to be left far behind.  What do you think?

Well, now that my children are in their 20′s, I was that parent many years ago wondering what to do with my “talented” children.  I was also that child who had parents that directed me and my siblings through the summertime investment of camp, BOTH general and specialty.  So our story…

In 1995, my two boys pictured at left, were die hard tennis players.  For career day, Shane dressed up as Agassi and Adam dressed up as Sampras.  Their uncle toured the world playing on the pro circuit and their mom (me) was a competitive tennis player.  So “going for it” in the tennis world was not so far-fetched in their minds.  I sent them to one week specialty camps, they played after school several times a week, and Adam was invited to participate in an intense USTA youth development program.  At the time of this picture, Adam was the ripe old age of 9 years old and really believed that he could be the next Pete Sampras.

And yet, when it came time for them to go to sleep away camp, I opted for a camp that had good tennis instruction but had every other sport, activity, and gave them exposure to as many different activities as possible.  At camp, they did play a lot of tennis.  But they also played a lot of flag football, went on long distance mountain biking trips, learned to water ski, kissed a few girls, and shot a rifle (I know not everyone is into that).  The three boys (the youngest was 5 at the time of this picture) all played high school tennis, all have tennis as a part of their lives whenever they choose to pick it up again, and have great memories of their camp days and camp friends.

When my brother and I were kids, however, we went to general camp when we were 9-12 years old.  But when we turned 12 and 13, we then went on to specialty camp and spent 6 weeks playing tennis at a very intense level.  We both competed in tournaments and at 16, I rediscovered other sports and other things, and my brother began to focus more heavily on his tennis.  He traveled the world playing professional tennis in the ’80′s and I on the other hand, still hope to be a competitive tennis player into my 80′s.

There are many roads to take for your children, and many sacrifices we make for our children.  There is no correct answer as to when and/or if it is the right time to help your child focus.  But know that 9 years old is very young, and the aptitude they show at 9 does not necessarily mean they will have the fortitude to stick it out for the long haul.  Single-minded dedication is hard, long and often times, lonely.  Only the very few can handle it.  And those who choose the path of focus are those that we get to watch, for example, at the Sony this coming week.

If you are still searching for a summer camp for your children, or want to discuss the pros and cons of general vs specialty camp for your family, now is the time to start the conversation.  Let me know your thoughts and we can work on it together.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Decision-making Teens? How?

by Karen Meister

I know… It’s an oxymoron.  Teenagers don’t make decisions and when they do, the decisions are often times not quite what feels comfortable to the adults in the room.  But this is very normal and age appropriate.  It has been shown that the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act, develops later than the amygdala which is responsible for instinctual reactions including fear and aggressive behavior.

When it comes to summer planning, the inability for a teen to make a decision really throws a terrible monkey wrench into family planning.  I know how many of you have shared this frustration with me.   We want our teenager to be happy, because his or her happiness really does result in a much more calm and pleasant household.  The Catch-22 of course, is that, as adults we want to plan out everyone’s summers, get organized so everyone is coordinated and then continue on our lives throughout the winter and spring.  But alas… the delightful teenager has plans of sitting on the couch this summer, won’t do anything without a friend, is waiting for John to make up his mind, and Cathy gets to go to Europe and you don’t want your teen to go there.

So what is the magic to get a teen to make decisions?  And plan your summer out successfully for the whole family?  There really are three steps to help teach your teen to make sound decisions, but before you start them on this training course, you have to be prepared for the process.  So as the parent, you must:

  • set parameters within which you are comfortable,
  • be prepared to support the decision your teen ultimately makes, and
  • know that although it may make you a bit sad to let go of the control, you are really making the best investment you can ever make in your future adult.

The next steps are as follows:

  1. Identify the conflict that needs to be resolved.  So for example, you want your teenager to spend a portion of his summer doing something productive.   Verbally spell out the conflict and end with a question: “What do you think you could do?” or “What are your options?” Help your teen list a few that he may not think of, but don’t do this task for him/her.  When it comes to summer programming, you can contact Karen Meister at Camp Experts and Teen Summers and do a little pre-screening of programs that fit within your parameters and suggest the teen speak with the consultant.
  2. Encourage your teen to think through each option.  The best way to practice this skill development is to do it on paper.  So back to our summer example, there are many options including working, going to a summer program, taking a summer class, family vacation, etc.  Each of the different options have pros, cons and time constraints.  And as part of a family, supporting the “no man is an island” philosophy, the pros and cons also include interaction with family.  For example, if the family vacation is planned for July 4 – 14, this knowledge can be shared with the teen so they can make decisions around the parameters you have set.
  3. Allow your teen to make the decision.  Once the options are researched and pros and cons analyzed, allow your teen to make the decision.  Although you may have felt his best use of time would have been to do a pre-law program at a University for four weeks, a family vacation for two weeks, hanging around for two weeks and a sports program for two weeks, he/she may have very different ideas.  Within the parameters you have agreed to up front, he may choose to attend the family vacation, but work in the local ice cream shop and earn some money.  You may have some “cons” of having your teenager home for the whole summer with only 4 hours every other day occupied with a job, but as agreed up front, you must set the parameters and allow your teen to decide.

One thing I have learned, that truly is a successful teacher to teens, is there is no better way to learn what you don’t want than to be able to make the decision yourself and then live with the consequences.  And Mom and Dad, when your teen says — my summer is so boring, it is hot in South Florida, why didn’t I go away…. never ever ever say “I told you so!”  Simply smile and say, “Maybe next summer, when you get to choose again, you may make a different choice.  We are proud of you for making decisions.  We love you!”

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

Teens try out college

by Karen Meister

When I think back to some of the best times of my life, I remember back to camp and college.  These were times of freedom with purpose.  So when your kids have really outgrown camp, or you want them to experience alternatives that are available, heading off to college for a summer experience is a great option.  So many locations, so many classes, so many new friends.

The benefits of choosing a college program for a summer experience include:

 

  1. Seeing a college of interest before applying
  2. Exploring different types of classes to find a passion
  3. Take an SAT class
  4. Take a class for credit
  5. Experience dorm living
  6. Learn to balance academic, social, athletic and extracurricular pursuits
  7. Getting your cell phone and computer back during the summer!!

So, what should you look for when exploring the college options?  Consider the following questions:

  1. What type of study are you looking for?  Class for credit?  Class for fun?  Remedial assistance?
  2. Specialty program in a particular pursuit?  Or not sure?
  3. What part of the country are you interested in either:  exploring?  visiting for future college opportunities?   near family or friends?
  4. Is an overseas experience to be considered?
  5. How long?
  6. Is travel in the area important?   What about on campus extracurricular activities?
  7. How much freedom do you want your teen to have?
As to types of classes, some programs have a variety to handle whatever you may be looking for.  It is very important to talk with your teen and see what kind of commitment they want to make during the summer.   This is a time in their lives that they really need to be involved in the decision making.  Sometimes, if there is a need for credit classes or assistance in ie writing or math, going away to a college program takes some of the sting out of an academic summer.

If a specialty passion is the way to go, there are fantastic programs on college campuses in everything from photography, music, dance, performing arts, and every sport you can imagine.  There are different degrees of focus based on your teen’s previous experience.  There are great introductory courses that if enjoyed, can be followed up in future summers with greater depth and portfolio building.

As to location, almost every university has dorm space during the summer.  If your teen has dreamt of attending a certain college or in a certain area, take a close look at the schools in the area as well as if they take the students to visit other colleges as well.  This is a great way for your teens to start preparing their minds towards the type of college they like:  big, small, frats, north, south, etc.  Granted, they will be seeing the college during the summer which is a bit deceptive if in ie Vermont.  But the terrain is certainly different than ie UC/San Diego.

 There are many opportunities overseas as well.  If language immersion is a bonus, your teen can consider a college campus experience in many countries around the world.  And they will share dorm life with students their age from around the world.  If in the US, a 10 day to 6 week program is available.  Overseas, you really want to commit to about 3-6 weeks in length.
 Beyond visiting other colleges, many programs will run “field trips” from the campus for evening and weekend activities.  Once you have narrowed down the many choices based on classes, college type etc., you can review the excursions to see what is most favorable.  There are lots of great sites to see around the world!  In addition, on campus activities are important to review for lifestyle choices during the summer.  If your teen is a tennis player, you want to make sure there are tennis courts on the campus and preferably near the dorms.  Access to the gym?  Watersports?  What are the preferences?

As to freedom, your desire and your teen’s desire may be a bit different.  Remember, some of the colleges open their dorms to high school students and treat them like college students during the summer.  Freedom is complete.   Some high school students are ready for that.  Others, however, still need supervision.  If that is the case, there are many university programs that have oversight by more “camp-like” directors to make sure that academic and social needs are cared for safely and securely.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Camp is a state of mind

Camp is a State of Mind.  Live young.  Laugh a lot.  Be a participant and a spectator.  Practice with excellence.  Strive for independence.  Travel.  Stretch – mind, body and soul.

This is the camp spirit, how I was raised, and how I raised my children.  I’m Karen Meister and I’m so happy to bring you The LifeMeisters —  a collection of “Meisters” (masters) bringing you information, via cyberspace, that will help you be a “camper” and bring this mindset to your family.

 

We invite you to participate in the dialogue and share with other moms your successes, challenges, opportunities, hopes and dreams.  Enter our cyber-bunk and let’s have fun!