Summer Thrills–Camps for Your Teen

Your teenager has likely spent many summers swimming in lakes and making crafts. It’s time to step up the game and give your young adult a truly exciting summer.

Here are some summer opportunities guaranteed to change your teen’s life.

Camp Jam
Held at Lake Forest Academy, Camp Jam can make an aspiring teen musician’s dream summer come true.

Founded by Jeff Carlisi, former lead guitarist for .38 Special, this overnight and day rock ‘n’ roll camp was featured on MTV’s “Camp’d Out.” Beginner to advanced guitarists, bassists, keyboardists, drummers and vocalists receive instrument-specific instruction, on-stage performance time, song-writing sessions and master classes taught by celebrity musicians.

Jennifer Batten—Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist for over 10 years—will perform and work hands-on with first-session campers.

If your teen doesn’t play an instrument, Camp Jam Tech, a new program taught by industry professionals, covers all aspects of staging and recording live performances.

Dates: Overnight, July 10-15; Day, July 11-15

Apogee Adventures
Your teen can watch the entire country unfold while bicycling. America Coast to Coast starts with back wheels in the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina, then takes cyclists 2,600 miles over six weeks through the Deep South, small town America, the Rocky Mountains and desert landscapes before dipping front wheels in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.

“The neatest thing I’ve heard a teen say after a trip,” says founder Kevin Cashman, “is he had renewed faith in human kindness.”

Cyclists carry their own gear and spend many nights indoors. Touring bikes required.

Locations: Starts, Charleston, South Carolina; Ends, San Diego, California
Dates: June 26 – August 7 or 877-700-5046

Equestrian Connection

If your teen loves horses, he or she will feel great about volunteering at this Lake Forest horseback riding facility that provides therapy to disabled children. The camp needs volunteers to walk alongside the horses while the children ride, groom the horses and more. The minimum age is 13.

The Road Less Traveled

Though headquartered in Chicago, RLT explores the world through its adventure, language, service and leadership programs. Whether it’s planting coral in Florida, building a school in India, backpacking through Alaska or performing a concert in Costa Rica, this family-run business promises a safe, rewarding experience for your teen.

Ages: 13-19
Locations: Countries throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe
Cost: Varies; Financial aid available for Chicago area residents. or 773-342-5200

Teen Pueblo Ingles

Your teen can experience beautiful Spain and gain an intimate knowledge of its culture by helping Spanish students learn English at Pueblo Ingles, which is Spanish for English Village. Accommodations and meals are covered.

Ages: 13-18
Location: Spain
Cost: Airfare and hotel the night before and after the one-week program.