Students in lab at Dean College Pre-College summer program

Looking for the perfect summer program for your teenagers? There are plenty of options, ranging from traditional summer camps to academic programs held on college campuses, like the ones offered by Dean College. How can you pick the right program for your teenager? It’s important to spend some time going over the available options. Here’s a quick break down of your variety of options.

Traditional Summer Camp

Whether your teenager started attending camp as a child and worked their way up through counselor positions, or is thinking about going for the first time, they can get a lot out of summer camps. They’ll spend their summers at the camp, working as counselors and leading arts and crafts, swimming and other sessions.

Wilderness Programs

Does your teen love the outdoors? Do they spend their time camping with friends, hiking in the woods and relaxing with a fishing pole in their hands? If so, then a wilderness program might be the best option. These programs send teens off into the wilderness, under the supervision of adults and alongside other teens. They learn how to pitch a tent, start a fire and survive off the land. What is this type of program best for? Teenagers who want to become park rangers, survivalists, scout leaders and environmentalists.


A combination of travel to another place (city, state or country) and volunteer work, these programs are good way to immerse teens in another culture while helping them hone their skills. For example, Habitat for Humanity has teens building houses in many states around the U.S., while some churches and NGOs might have related volunteer programs that send teens to a developing country where they can help out. As you can imagine, these programs are geared up for teens who want to make a difference, learn another language and spend some time learning about another culture.

College Summer Programs

There are also plenty of summer programs offered by colleges. These programs, like the forensics and sports broadcasting options run by Dean College, provide students with a taste of college life, while allowing them to earn college credits and learn about a subject that might someday become their career. These programs have students living on campus for a few weeks, eating in the cafeteria and bonding with their fellow attendees.

Finding the Best Summer Program for Your Teens

Whether you think your teen might prefer a summer camp or would love to spend a few weeks getting a taste of the college experience, it’s all about finding the best fit for them. Not every high schooler has the same interests, and luckily there are plenty of programs to choose from.