Summer Vacation for Teens: Work, Intern or Volunteer


summer jobs, summer internship, volunteer opportunities, summer beak, summer vacation

Jenny is a 16 year old from New Jersey. She loves books, photography and God. She is also a feminist and an animal rights advocate. Her dream is to be a journalist who travels around the world.

 

With summer just around the corner, spring is the time for teenagers to start thinking about any kind of work they want to do in the summer, whether it be volunteering, interning or getting a job.  Along with the obvious boost that summer work gives to one’s resume or college application, it also gives teens experience and skills that they may not be able to get from school or anywhere else.

Finding volunteer work should not be too hard.  Most likely, there are many places in your community that might need the extra help.  Local libraries are almost always accepting teen volunteers to shelve books, help out at the checkout desk or manage the kids in the children’s section.  If your teen likes working with animals or working outdoors, animal shelters or nature preserves are a good option.  In an animal shelter, one will perform tasks like cleaning cages, walking dogs and volunteering at adoption events.  Working at a nature preserve will involve cleaning trails, doing paperwork inside the office or even helping out with tours.  Some more career specific volunteer work, like at a hospital or for a political campaign is always very rewarding and may give your teen some more ideas about what they want as a future career.  However, these may require some industry-related skills and your teen should have an interest in the actual field.  One tip for finding volunteer opportunities is timeliness, apply as early as possible!  The beginning of summer is when most teens start the search for volunteer work and each place can take only a limited number of volunteers.  Make your interest known to the organization as early as in the spring.

Internships are usually reserved for college students or degree holding graduates; however, it is not impossible for a teenager in high school to find one.  They may require a little more effort to find but can be very rewarding.  Try searching for local smaller business that might benefit from an extra hand.  They might be happy about the added manpower and might be willing to teach your teen some extra skills along the way.  Try some of the smaller law firms/offices, a doctor’s office or a small store.  There are also some very prestigious and competitive internships out there such as the science research internships for universities or the National Space Club Scholars Program for NASA.  Also, there are an increasing number of online internships.  If your teen loves to write, he or she could be a Teen Writer Intern for Radical Parenting.  Internships are usually unpaid.

If working for free doesn’t seem appealing to your teen or if he or she wants to use the summer to make a little extra cash, getting a summer job is a great option.  Besides the emolument, having a job helps teens learn responsibility.  It also looks great on a college application, showing commitment and maturity.  Different states have different age restrictions so that is something your teen should look into.  Places that accept younger workers tend to be food places and small stores.  Try ice cream shops, kiosks at the mall, and small boutiques.  If job searching produces nothing, then it is always worthwhile to be your own employer!  Is your teen good at any particular school subject?  If yes, then tutoring younger children can be a great and easy way to make some extra money.

All in all, summer is a great opportunity to get some work done!  Teens can gain experience, knowledge and even some extra pocket money.  It is definitely worthwhile to take the effort to look for worthwhile work to do over summer.

 

Photo Credit: roboppy on Flickr

Sending Your teen Away for the Summer: Pros and Cons

summer camp, summer break, teen campEmily is a 13-year-old from Corona, CA. She enjoys reading, writing, and swimming and her favorite subject is history because it inspires her to learn about other cultures.

 

Sending your teen away for the summer is no small decision. It takes a lot of planning, and in some cases persuasion, to convince your teen they will have a great time. If it is their first time leaving home or your family for an extended period of time, or they simply dislike leaving home to begin with, then some challenges might arise. Here are three pro’s and con’s for you to consider if you are thinking about sending your teen away for summer break.

 

Pros

  1. Leaving home without parents can actually change a teen’s perspective on their life. Getting the opportunity to live for a short while with a new set of rules and to escape the dreary routine of everyday life. After all, having to stay within close proximity to home all summer long isn’t what most teens consider “fun”.
  2. Sending your teen to summer camps without internet or other technology is a great way to prove to your teen(s) that is possible to survive without constantly updating a social network or texting. There are many camps in national parks, forests, etc. that offer minimal technology environment for teens.
  3. It’s cliché to say but absence makes the heart grow fonder. So if you have a teen that is particularly reluctant to leave home they will be overjoyed to see you when they get back. Sometimes going away can help ease tension and bottled up resentment in teens because of the distraction it creates.

 

Cons

  1. While away, homesickness is common and, though typically mild, some teens have it more severely than others. This can lead to rash behavior, such as unreasonable outbursts and disrespectful behavior toward superiors and others. I recommend having your teen pack pictures of family, friends, pets, and anything else that they would miss in particular.
  2. While away, teens are given the opportunity to shut you out completely. There will be nothing forcing them to engage in any form of communication with you let alone anything personal. This is more likely to happen if you already have a broken relationship with your teen. In that case you should repair the relationship as best as you can beforehand
  3. Teens are very attached to their friends so being forced to leave them for anything less than a relaxing vacation might not go over peacefully. If an argument does occur it is essential to try and resolve it before your teen departs. If not, they will be leaving you on a sour note which is far from desired for both sides.

Clearly, as a parent you have a considerable amount of things to think about before making the decision to send your teen away during summer break. Ultimately, though it depends on their outlook on life and attitude towards leaving home. The best way to make departing as peaceful as possible is to discuss it with them at least a month or two beforehand. It gives teens who are reluctant a chance to discover something exciting for them and for those who love the idea from the beginning more time to enjoy planning.

 

Image: vastateparksstaff from Flickr

3 Ways to Ease the Summer to School Transition

Morgan is a 15 year old from Goddard, KS. She enjoys playing soccer, writing and music. She is a history lover who dreams of being a successful lawyer some day.

1. Ready Routines.

About two weeks before school starts, make bedtime earlier and dust off the old alarm clock. Also aim to serve meals at around the same times your child will be eating at throughout the school year!

2. Cover Ground Rules.

Decide when and where they will do homework. Be sure to tricky topics like whether they can watch TV after finishing their homework? What time will their curfew be? When does the caffeine get cut-off? What newly acquired chores will your child have? Establishing guidelines early will help make things easier as your child returns to school.

3. Un-Stress the Dress.

Simply enough, let your child choose special first-day clothes. Your child will feel super important just knowing that they are getting the opportunity to choose their own first day of school outfit. To help your child without them knowing, move the fall clothing items to the front of their closet, this will allow them to pick out a weather appropriate outfit. You don’t want your child returning to elementary school with a skimpy tank top and shorts. Shorts and tank tops are sometimes suitable for the beginning of fall, but for the first day of school you probably want them to look a little nicer.

The 6 Benefits of Sleep Away Camp

Sydney, 14, has lived in Port Washington, NY her entire life.  She enjoys dancing and hopes to pursue a career in writing, the performing arts or medicine.

Yes, sending your child away to sleep away camp for the first time may be scary for the both of you, and, sometimes, more so for you. While it may be hard to let go for the first summer, not doing so would be depriving them of an amazing, and character shaping experience. So if it helps, here’s my take (as a seven year sleep away camper) on why you shouldn’t put it off any longer. Sleep away summer camp comes with many benefits that will ultimately help shape your child.

Responsibility

Without your parents around to keep your things in order, or the housekeeper making things tidy, keeping track of your possessions is all in your hands. Of course at camp you also need to make sure your area is neat, bed is made and cubbies are in order. Not only that, but keep in mind your child will be living with anywhere from 5 all the way up to 30 other girls or boys. In one cabin, where everyone shares, it gets hard to keep track of your stuff. From this aspect of sleep away, your kid will be taught responsibility. Additionally, when you reach a certain age at most camps, you might be assigned a camper to get in touch with before camp and look after throughout the summer. Now, your teen is responsible for not only themselves, but someone else as well.

Tolerance

From my experience at camp, I have come to the realization that not all personalities mesh oh so well. I have been living with a number varying between 20 and 30 girls each summer, and though we all love each other, our personalities sometimes clash. As friends, we have learned each other’s strong suits and learned how to live with everyone’s flaws, because no one is perfect. Learning to cope with everyone’s characteristics, such as who is sensitive and who forgets to think before they speak, has prepared me for the real world in which I’ll be faced with the same difficulty of working, or living with others.

How To Deal

Sometimes, you parents can be a little too… parental. And, though it’s not always bad, nobody likes the 15-year-old girl who’s mom gets involved because she can’t fight her own battles. How else is she supposed to learn how to deal with her own issues, like friend drama and getting in trouble, unless she’s placed into a situation in which she must. While away from home, with no parents to guide you, you will pick up the skill of solving your own problems. But parents do not freak out. There is always at least one person at camp who is there for the sole purpose of helping your child with things like this. At my camp, we have a go-to “Camp Mom”, because we’re still just kids, and some matters are just too big for us to handle on our own.

Independence

Independence goes hand in hand with How To Deal since you need one to have the other. Independence means someone is “capable of thinking and acting for oneself”.  Being away from your family for weeks at a time may be hard at first, but it is essential to learning to act on your own. Making good choices and not depending as much on others are important qualities for later in life. Sometimes, being away from parents forces your child to make decisions on their own. Sometimes the decisions are wrong, but it’s all a part of the learning process.

Technology-Free

Another amazing feature of sleep away camps is that you spend weeks at a time with little to no technology. Different camps have different rules, but most agree on no cell phones, gaming toys or anything with Internet access. Not having TVs in bunks forces kids to get outside, be active and socialize! Too many kids nowadays are hiding behind their laptops and making friends only through Facebook and texting. Social skills are essential for making friends, and at camp, your child will learn to do just that, minus the typed words and emoticons. They will also finally run around, play sports, hike (whether they want to or not) and spend some time off the couch.

Friendship

So, you’re living with several other people for up to 2 months. You eat, sleep and play together. Summer after summer it is 24/7 with these kids. How can you not love them? Being in circumstances like these, you establish lasting bonds so strong, calling them “best friends” would be an understatement. You learn to trust others and care about people with all your heart. You make the most amazing friends that you know you will have for life, always there for you. In my opinion that is the most important thing you can get out of any summer camp experience.

So, if you’re tentative about shipping your child away, or feel guilty when they cry at the bus stop, or even when they beg you to take them home on visiting day, be strong.  Keep in mind that they will cry much, much harder on the last day of camp because they had the summer of their lives, and all the while, were being molded into strong, independent children.

10 Ways to be Un-Bored This Summer

Morgan is a 15-year-old from Goddard, KS. She enjoys playing soccer, writing, and listening to music. She loves History and aspires to be a successful lawyer some day.

School’s out, summer’s in, but what happens when the early jam packed ways of summer gradually shift into boredom with absolutely nothing to do?  The answer for most teens is to look for alternate ways of fun.  Unfortunately, for some teens this search for fun can lead to drinking or experimenting with drugs at the ‘cool kid’ parties, but there are much better options.  Here are 10 ways that I break out of the bored mentality.  They will make this summer the best one for the right reasons.

1. GET INVOLVED:

When you volunteer you are giving something back to your community by lending a helping hand to people and organizations. Volunteering helps not only your community, but it helps you too. You gain new friendships, earn great recommendations for future employment, build up your resume, and have fun, all while making a positive impact on the world.  For a great website that show volunteering opportunities in your area, go to: www.dosomething.org. Not only will you find lots of information, they also offer grants for groups with more than 5 people, so grab some friends and have fun!

2. GET FIT:

Summer is the prime time to get physically active and tone up! Make getting fit fun by mixing it up.  Run around your neighborhood or a park for a change of scenery.  Go biking with some friends.  When the summer heat kicks in, head for the pool and do some laps to stay cool while getting fit.  Make it fun and you’re sure to tone up quickly while enjoying it.

3. MOVIE NIGHT:

Movie nights can happen any night! There is no prep necessary! Just grab some friends, grab some movies, grab some food, and enjoy your evening.  Or if you’re feeling a bit more extraordinary, go to your local drive in!

4. BE OUTDOORS:

A little fresh air never hurt anyone! Embrace the wilderness by camping and fishing at a nearby lake or river. Don’t let the weather rain on your parade either.  Play tag or Capture The Flag in the rain, it’s a blast!

5. MAINTAIN YOUR BRAIN:

Don’t waste all the learning you achieved during the school year by allowing your brain to be idle over the summer!  Variety is the key. Read, write poetry, keep a diary, memorize a play, or even visit museums. Try to learn as much as you can and you will keep your brain in shape.

6. GAME NIGHT:

You can have a game night with friends or family. Game night can be inside or outside and can include traditional board games or more physical outdoor active games. There are endless possibilities.

7. GET CRAFTY:

Dive into those creative juices and make something worth keeping. Get creative and make bracelets or pottery! Photography is also a great way to express one’s self and capture memories.  Check for photography classes that are available to the community. Make a summer scrapbook using your new photography skills and save all those fantastic summer memories.

8. RAKE IN THE CASH:

Get a job! Everybody loves a little cash in their pocket when they go to the movies or go out with friends! Stop having to ask your parents for money and show them that you really are responsible.  With the economy in a recession, jobs (especially for teens) are hard to find, but there are jobs out there.  Sites like www.simplyhired.com andwww.teens4hire.com can match you up with employers in your area that are looking for summertime workers.

9. GET COOKIN’:

Learning to cook is fun and is a great way to take pressure off your parents by helping to prepare some of the meals.  Look through cook books or search the web for ideas to get you stated.  Begin with simple things like pancakes, cookies, or summer salads and work up to creating a full meal for your family or friends.  It’s a great way to help out around the house and to develop skills that will benefit you your entire life.

10. INTERNSHIPS:

If you’ve tried looking for a job and simply cannot find any available positions or you feel that you can’t fully commit to a job, internships can provide great opportunities.  There are plenty of internships available and some can offer cash opportunities in the right circumstances. Internships are great for resumes and provide lots of real world experience.  You are able to try new things and they’re loads of fun…

Why Apply to a Teen Summer Program?

Daphne is a sixteen-year-old from California. Her interests pertain to everything, but most of her activities revolve around writing, reading, playing music, dance, travel, and chillaxing with the fambam and friends.

About a month ago, I sent in my application for the California State Summer School for the Arts. I had been searching for an arts summer program through the Internet since about November, and my quest was ended about two weeks before the deadline. The details of the program impressed me enough, but just to make sure, I even Googled for testimonials. The program requested that applicants provide a portfolio of their work according to specific guidelines and also mail in two letters of recommendation. Now, the deadline for CSSSA may have passed already, but if you are looking for a program for next summer, the website is definitely worth checking out. In fact, there are a couple of reasons why it is beneficial to consider browsing for summer programs.

When I applied for the program, I stated in my personal statement how much I wished to surpass my current comfort zone and explore what else I could learn about my craft, especially since I was considering becoming serious enough to make it my profession. I signed up for a competitive intensive in order to see what it would take to excel in what I wanted to do. At the same time I would have my work seen by faculty of experienced artistic veterans instead of scribbling in my room and showing it to family and friends. In addition, I like the idea of being around other kids who were extremely dedicated to perfecting their art.  Plus, those who performed especially well in the program could receive a scholarship that could be used in college. I was certain that if I was accepted into the program, the experience would be worth it.

Most importantly, attending a summer program with a strength in a specific area of interest can define exactly how serious you are about pursuing that interest. Therefore, certain summer programs can even help your college transcript. When you attend a precollege program at a university you are interested in, then those who review your application to that college will see that you have taken a step to show your level of enthusiasm for attending that school. Like CSSSA, you may have to send in a portfolio to supplement your application and precollege programs may want evidence of academic and extracirricular excellence.

To start off your search, here are some websites I have visited that provide links to different types of summer camps, whether you wish to further your interest in the arts or academics. Although summer programs in general tend to be quite expensive, plenty of them provide applications for financial aid:

http://www.csssa.org/

http://teenink.com/Summer/

http://camp.interlochen.org/

http://www.educationunlimited.com/

http://www.idyllwildarts.org/summer/summer.html

Teen Summer Activities [Teen Article]

Shannon is one of our teen interns, she is a 16 year old from Maryland. She enjoys writing, is pro recycling, and loves the Jonas Brothers.

Work
Contrary to popular belief, the recession hasn’t left all teenagers unemployed. Many places are looking for young, money-hungry employees who are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and self-serving, meaning they will work for exceptionally lower rates because they don’t have families to support. Teens have managed to find summer or seasonal jobs like:
–    Hostessing at restaurants
–    Ticket ripping at movie theaters
–    Concession stands at baseball stadiums
–    Counseling at summer camps
–    Internships at law firms, medical labs, police departments etc.
–    And, our least favorite: RETAIL

Camps, Classes, and College Visits
Some teenagers are spending part of their summer in a classroom of-sorts. Whether it’s five days at a leadership camp or five weeks in at a community college, there are plenty of teens who spend at least some of their free time stimulating their brains. Plus, most of them are resume-boosters that look good on college apps, which is nice.
Also, most teens have (been forced by their parents to) set aside at least—AT LEAST—a week to tour colleges that could potentially be their dream-schools.

R&R Time
For the most part, teens are just chillaxing this summer, occupying their time with things like…
–    hanging at the movies, bike riding through the neighborhood, lounging pool-side
–    baseball games, midnight bowling, Rita’s runs
–    walking the streets at night, hand-in-hand, breathing in the sweet summer air
–    lying on the warm cement of the sidewalk and gazing up at the vast openness that is sky
–    sitting out on a porch swing and reading youthful novels in the warm, waning glow of a setting sun
–    strolling bare-legged along the beach, footprints visible in the sand, only to be washed away by the ever changing, ever constant rise and fall of tides
–    taking long drives to nowhere, contemplating nothing but their own happiness and sneaking an occasional glance at the blazes of orange and pink that light the evening sky

What Teens Are Doing This Summer?

Work

Contrary to popular belief, the recession hasn’t left all teenagers unemployed. Many places are looking for young, money-hungry employees who are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and self-serving, meaning they will work for exceptionally lower rates because they don’t have families to support. Teens have managed to find summer or seasonal jobs like:

Hostessing at restaurants

Ticket ripping at movie theaters

Concession stands at baseball stadiums

Counseling at summer camps

Internships at law firms, medical labs, police departments etc.

And, our least favorite: RETAIL

Camps, Classes, and College Visits

Some teenagers are spending part of their summer in a classroom of-sorts. Whether it’s five days at a leadership camp or five weeks in at a community college, there are plenty of teens who spend at least some of their free time stimulating their brains. Plus, most of them are resume-boosters that look good on college apps, which is nice.

Also, most teens have (been forced by their parents to) set aside at least—AT LEAST—a week to tour colleges that could potentially be their dream-schools.

R&R Time

For the most part, teens are just chillaxing this summer, occupying their time with things like…

hanging at the movies, bike riding through the neighborhood, lounging pool-side

baseball games, midnight bowling, Rita’s runs

walking the streets at night, hand-in-hand, breathing in the sweet summer air

lying on the warm cement of the sidewalk and gazing up at the vast openness that is sky

sitting out on a porch swing and reading youthful novels in the warm, waning glow of a setting sun

strolling bare-legged along the beach, footprints visible in the sand, only to be washed away by the ever changing, ever constant rise and fall of tides

taking long drives to nowhere, contemplating nothing but their own happiness and sneaking an occasional glance at the blazes of orange and pink that light the evening sky

What Teens Are Doing This Summer [Teen Article]

Stephanie is a sophomore in high school residing in suburban New Jersey. She loves free-writing and dreams of traveling the world.

What Teens Are Doing This SummerWe’re well into the Summer of 2009:

The days are hot,
The nights are long,
And the ocean waves are cool and strong.
(Sorry. I was never good at poetry. But that’s besides the point.)

The point is, with a great year like this, teenagers are not about to let an economic recession ruin their summer fun.

Ever since the recession, families have had to cut down on spending, especially when it came down to vacations or planning summer getaways. Driving becomes a pain when gas prices are sky-high, so road trips have become tough to finance, too.  Many friends and family members of mine have decided to skip the fancy vacations and instead keep their summer plans local and affordable. How is this possible, you ask?

Go to the beach with a group of friends. Check out your neighborhood pool (or relax in your own if you’re lucky enough to own one!).  Visit an amusement or water park for a day. Invite some kids over to have dessert at the local diner, then crash at your place. Want to get a little adventurous? You can always go on a hike, or plan to go parasailing with a buddy. Throw a few well-planned house parties if your parents allow it. It’s so easy to find things to do with friends without going over your budget.

Still finding yourself short of extra cash? No worries. Nothing’s better than saving up with money earned from a summer job. Plenty of my friends have found daytime jobs at restaurants, farms, bakeries, supermarkets, clothing stores, and offices. I know of teens that have even taken to starting their own businesses! Some find it exciting to shadow their own parents at work and gain insight into the business world as well as work experience. Volunteering is also an option that teens are considering as a summer activity. I myself have gotten involved with my town’s local animal shelter, spending time with abandoned animals and helping to raise money for needed supplies. One of my close friends is currently volunteering at a soup kitchen – she absolutely loves it! Volunteering is that special kind of work that gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as peace of mind knowing that through hard effort you’ve managed to better your community. Not to mention, it looks great on your resume! (Plus, come September you’ll have something to brag about to your new teacher. Cough cough.)

Plenty of teenagers are willing to work and stay close to home during their summer break, but others are still itching to hop on a plane or drive down somewhere exotic for the vacation of their lives. I’ve noticed that teenagers are now more frequently going on vacations together and splitting the costs. Renting vacation homes and booking cruises are popular, especially since you can find some cheap deals with both options.  Even though you only have to pay half the price, you’re learning to spend your money wisely which is totally boosting your financial responsibility. Isn’t it more exciting to learn about managing your finances during vacation-time rather than in a boring accounting class at school, anyway?

Before I wrap up, I think it’s important to mention how much of a role technology is playing this summer, too. The internet is HUGE this year. So many websites became popular with teenagers – obviously the more widely-known social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter – but some surprising winners were found in websites like FML.com and textsfromlastnight.com. I can assure you that if teens aren’t hanging out with friends or lying out under some umbrella on the beach, you can bet they’re typing away to their friends on AIM or updating their MySpace status. Looks like being tech-savvy can come in hand!
Okay, so Summer 2009 has been influenced by our nation’s economic state – but not completely revolutionized. Teens are still into having a good time and aren’t about to give that desire up just because money may be a little tight. To all my fellow peers who are looking to make the best of what’s left of our break: enjoy the heat, stay smart with your cash and take the opportunity of making this your best summer yet. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

5 Reasons You Should Read During Your Summer Break [Teen Article]

Cathy is a 17 year-old from Seatac, WA. She spends her time watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reflecting, and listening to various types of music as she’s writing her thoughts away. She hopes to live through her passions.


The last thing you want to do is read. You have just gotten out of school and all you want to do is grow your roots into the couch and hibernate your mind until September. But picking up a book isn’t such a bad idea. Here are some reasons for you to pick up that book.

SAT Prep- For many of you rising seniors or juniors,you will soon be taking the SAT’s. By reading challenging texts you enhance your vocabulary. This will undoubtedly help with the vocabulary section in the SAT’s.

Enjoy- People forget that reading can be enjoyable. Especially with all of the boring texts teachers throw at you. I know that I rarely have time during the school year to read for leisure which is something that I love to do. Now that summer is here I have a nice little pile of books waiting at my bedside for me to dig into.

Wind Down- This summer you are probably planning on spending your time at the beach playing volley ball, swimming, or doing other physical activities. That is all good and fun but you need to have some wind down time. And I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV. Let your body rest and your mind wander. Explore a different world and get lost.

Improve Writing Skills- So maybe you don’t feel like picking up you pen for a long while. But by reading you are still helping out your writing. You get familiar with the different writing styles and the conventions of writing. There is so much great literature out there that you will begin to get familiar with what great writing looks like.

Keep up Literacy- When I was younger I was able to devour books. I would read two a day. Now I am lucky if I can finish one a year. I just can’t read as fast as I could and sometimes I have to read a text more than once before I actually grasp what it is saying. Keep reading. Otherwise you will end up like me.

So yeah, I know it sucks. But it won’t kill you if you read a book this summer maybe two. You can only benefit.