By Michelle Icard, Founder and CEO, Cognition House
You have lots of choices for ways to occupy your kids this summer and the older they get, the easier (and less expensive) that becomes. As a mom of a 10 and 8 year old, I am thrilled that the days of stacking our summer with camps are over and that my children can finally entertain themselves without me orchestrating every move.
To be fair, when kids are young, camps aren’t just about keeping busy. They are a terrific way to try things on for size – everything from painting to All-Star-Sports to Legos. By the time your child is in middle school, though, it’s pretty clear if he or she likes being a soccer player or an ornithologist, or both. If you do consider a camp for your older child it’s probably more about specializing in one interest rather than experimenting with lots.
For these reasons, you may not have considered a camp for your rising 5th – 8th grader called Athena’s Path (for girls) or Hero’s Pursuit (for boys). I hope you’ll rethink!
Athena’s Path and Hero’s Pursuit camps that prepare kids to handle the many challenges of middle school life. Led by experienced teachers and their cool high school interns, kids develop their unique leadership style during a week of exciting games, activities, debates, and feats of strength and strategy. Sure it’s not painting or soccer or sailing, but what could be more important than giving your child the tools he or she needs to be successful throughout middle school and beyond?
FAQ About Our Camps:
Q: What will my child learn?
A: Your child will learn a set of tools to help him or her develop a persona leadership style and successfully manage their social scene. We cover everything from creative problem solving to risk-taking to the social pyramid, and more! Please email us if you have questions about specific lessons.
One impressive thing your son will learn at Hero’s Pursuit camp: How being a leader means sometimes “stepping up” and sometimes “stepping out” of a situation. For example: It’s recess and you’ve got five on five basketball in mind. As a leader, how do you manage expectations for the sixth kid who asks to play? Or if you’re the kid who might not get chosen for the game, how do you keep your reputation in tact?
One impressive thing your daughter will learn at Athena’s Path camp: How to distinguish between different types of criticism and ways to be prepared for the worst thing someone might say to you in the hallway, bus, or cafeteria. Having a plan you’ve practiced is priceless for keeping your dignity and power. And if you see someone else struggling, knowing how to use your personal leadership style to do what’s right.
Q: Will my child have fun?
A: Yes! Our camps are full of fun games and activities like noodle hockey, dance off, survivor food challenge, ultimate dodge ball, and custom icebreakers the kids love. We know boys need to move a lot. In addition to gym and field games, our instructors always bring their personal talents to camp. Instructors in the past have taught the boys how to change a bike tire, check car tire pressure, perform magic tricks, and play guitar. Your instructor will use his talents to keep the boys moving. The girls get moving, too, but they also enjoy pajama day and a slumber party vibe.
Q: My daughter is too old for camps. She’s in 8th grade. Won’t this be too young for her?
A: The skills taught in camp are ones we still use as adults. We find that the 7th and 8th grade campers usually get the most out of camp because they have a LOT to talk about with their social scene at school.
Q: My child is doing great socially! He doesn’t need a program like this.
A: It’s true, some kids are naturals! But the other truth is that what appears fine one day can crumble the next. The tides of the middle school social scene change quickly and dramatically. The skills kids learn at Athena’s Path and Hero’s Pursuit camp are the same ones employers look for: critical thinking, problem solving, team building. Even the most balanced teens need practice at these to develop proficiency.
Q: I can’t find a camp that fits our schedule. Are there other options?
A: We encourage parents to consider private camps, if the summer schedule doesn’t accommodate your family. Parents can host camps in their living rooms, swim clubs, churches, and community centers. You provide a minimum of eight campers and a comfortable space; we provide everything else.
A list of our girls camps can be found at: http://www.athenaspath.com/camps.html
A list of our boys camps can be found at: http://herospursuit.athenaspath.com/register.html
For more information on our summer camps, please email Quinn@CognitionHouse.com