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Importance of Keeping Teenagers Engaged This Summer

By: Jenny Whichard ’92, Director of SummerEdge
Kids with masks outside Kids with masks outside

Teenagers are typically engaged with academics, sports, clubs, and other extracurriculars during the school year. But what about when summer rolls around?

During summer vacation, it’s easy for teenagers to fall out of the good habits they learned at school. The distraction of phones, video games, TV, and a lack of schedule and expectations can leave them disengaged with academia by the start of the new school year. Couple that with teens being left to their own resources to make plans with friends, and you’ve sometimes got a recipe for disconnections.

Keeping teens connected to their learning, friendships, and other activities over the summer is extremely important for their development. Let’s take a deeper look at why.

Avoid The “Summer Slide”

Your teen works hard in school to learn new material and keep their grades up. However, they may forget the knowledge and skills they learned over the summer, which is known as the “summer slide.” This can lead to more challenges when they return to the classroom and need to pick up where they left off or are introduced to a new subject that builds upon their prior knowledge.

Grades begin to truly count during their teenage years (especially high school) and their transcript sets a foundation for the college search or other future pursuits. Keeping their brains engaged in academics during the summer helps keep everything they learned in school fresh so they can maintain their grades and reach their goals.

Enhance Important Life Skills

Summer can be the first time teens experience independence outside of school and their home. Places like camp can help adolescents learn self-reliance and confidence around their peers and from their counselors.

At a summer camp for teens, campers are accountable for their actions and their interactions with their peers. They can explore new passions, overcome obstacles, and foster relationships independently in a safe and encouraging environment. Additionally, teens can hone their time management and executive functioning skills. Not only does this help them retain important information from the school year, but it can also improve their attitude toward certain subjects and daily responsibilities (such as homework) that will carry over into the fall.

Maintain Meaningful Friendships

Friendship is different for teens. It’s up to them to reach out to their peers to make plans–instead of their parents organizing their social life. They must also work to maintain these relationships beyond the school year.

Keeping teens engaged with activities over the summer gives them a chance to cultivate new relationships with peers with a similar interest, or even try something new with a friend from school. Camp can also be the perfect place for teens to make friends quickly with individuals they may not otherwise cross paths with. Counselors also model what healthy friendships look like, so teens leave with the skills to communicate and an understanding of how to foster these relationships for a lifetime.

A Chance to Gain Experience and Get Ahead

During the summer, teens can take safe risks and try their hand at new things they can give their full attention to. If there’s a subject they want to explore more outside of school or want to excel at, they can explore it more deeply over the long break with support from counselors and staff.

Teens can also earn academic credits during certain sessions, gain valuable Counselor-in-Training experiences, and earn their Community Service hours. All experiences that they may not have the time or resources to accomplish during the school year. The hallmark of summer programs is that teens can have fun learning, which helps them gain new skills, retain what they’ve learned during the school year, and get ahead in their academic pursuits.

Academic Summer Programs Keep Teens Engaged

At SummerEdge, every camper is given the opportunity to try something new and understand how they learn best. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping teenagers engaged with their learning, and that’s reflected in our program. Teenagers are encouraged to build skills that help them succeed in the real world and can choose which path best suits their interests, strengths, and goals.

In a world full of distractions, an academic summer program helps teenagers focus on one academic subject at a time. This can help reduce anxiety and forge self-efficacy and academic confidence that lasts a lifetime.

Keeping teenagers engaged in the summer helps them excel at school and beyond. We help our campers face challenges with a growth mindset embedded in McLean School’s philosophy, which SummerEdge is an extension of.

Registration for the 2021 summer session is open! Enroll your teen today for a summer of working toward academic success and individual growth.