May 29, 2018

5 Ways Camp Helps Teens Develop Useful Life-Skills

Our goal is to help youths develop useful skills through hands-on learning experiences. Here are five ways that our Leadership Program (ages 12-15) puts that philosophy into action.

Written by:
Nick Lanyon

Let’s talk about our toughest clients: teenagers. We know that most teens don’t think of camp as an ideal way to spend a week of summer. They’d rather dictate their own schedules; they’d rather hang out with their friends; they worry that camp is "just for kids." It is not easy to find a camp for teens that they will enjoy, let alone a Montreal Teen Camp that will motivate them to attend instead of you forcing them to attend.

At Laurus, we believe in treating young adults like young adults. Our goal is to help youths develop useful skills through hands-on learning experiences. Here are five ways that our Leadership Program (ages 12-15) puts that philosophy into action.

1.  Collaborative Programming

Our Leadership Campers work alongside their counsellors to determine the group’s activities and goals for the week. They brainstorm as a team, plan activities around pre-existing time slots and weekly themes, and work together to execute their ideas.

Here’s a fun example from last summer. On a Monday, Leadership Campers  made it a goal to prank our Camp Manager, Chris. Over the course of the week, they wrote, rehearsed, and designed costumes for a play that would star Chris as a fussy restaurant patron. Unbeknownst to Chris, the final scene would end with a classic pie to the face. On Friday they performed the play and pranked Chris in front of the entire camp.

The prank itself was silly. But in the process of pulling it off, Leadership Campers exercised valuable career skills: teamwork, communication, and time management to name a few!

2.  Volunteer Opportunities

Teens enrolled in our Leadership Program have plenty of options to gain volunteer experience. Some Leadership Campers choose to spend part of the day as volunteer counsellors in younger groups; some help organize and distribute lunch orders; others act as tutors and assistant-coaches during our STA program. Our counsellors are there to mentor Leadership Campers every step of the way.

We are happy to log volunteer hours and write reference letters. With solid references and volunteer experience, our Leadership Campers will have leg up when they’re ready to apply for jobs. (Speaking of which, Laurus’ volunteers take top priority when we’re looking to hire Junior Counsellors!)

3.   Learning Through Entrepreneurship

Our Entrepreneurship Program runs during the first three weeks of summer camp. For the first week, campers work with mentors to brainstorm startup ideas. Week two focuses on refining those ideas, developing logistical plans, and determining financial needs. Throughout week three, Leadership campers learn how to pitch their ideas to investors.

The program ends with a trip to Startupfest Montreal. There, leadership campers meet other entrepreneurs, listen to five pitches on stage, and vote on a Kid’s Choice Award for best pitch! (Laurus is the only Montreal Teen Camp working with Startupfest to provide kids with this amazing opportunity)

4.   Giving Back to the Community

Throughout the summer our Leadership Campers organize a food drive and work with The Bell Fund to help provide comfort kits for cancer patients. It’s an opportunity to teens to reflect on what it means to be a good citizen, and to give back to their community.

5.    Making New Friends

It’s healthy for teenagers to meet new peers outside of school. At camp, teens are free from their reputations at school and social pressures goes along with them. With a clean slate, camp gives teens a chance to strengthen their social skills and make new connections. Our counsellors are always there to break the ice!

For teenagers it is essential to find a space that respects their opinions, motivates them, and gives them more than a day camp experience. Laurus is one of few Montreal Teen Camps that work to foster growth and community in teens who participate in our Leadership Program. We value our Leadership campers and are also very open to explaining to them personally why Laurus is the best Montreal Teen Camp for them!

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