Finding the Right Camp for Middle Schoolers

After last summer’s widespread cancellations of summer camps due to the pandemic, it looks as if many will be welcoming kids back this summer, albeit with a few more safety protocols in place (COVID tests, masking mandates, etc.). Still, it’s great news for families with kids who have been confined for too long with too few outlets for play.

But finding the right camp can be challenging, particularly for a child with LD or ADHD.  And if your child is a middle schooler, it can be even tougher. Kids that age have unique challenges when it comes to choosing an age-appropriate camp setting—one that sustains your child’s interests, fits her personality, promotes her strengths, and supports her weaknesses.

Middle-school campers present a wider range of development than any other age group. Some are barely pre-pubescent; others are in the throes of emerging maturity; and many are somewhere in between. You’d do well to look for a camp environment that is sensitive to development that runs the gamut physiologically, emotionally, intellectually, and behaviorally.

Play to Strengths

Choose a camp that has opportunities for your preteen to excel in at least one area that other kids can respect. Drama camp may not be the best choice for a child who has trouble reading and memorizing, while an extreme sports camp will frustrate a youngster who is cautious and klutzy.

Define what your child considers cool and make sure he can identify that elusive characteristic in some of the options you offer.

Finally, be sure to get information about camp policies and experience dealing with the following issues that often arise among middle schoolers:

  • Peer pressure
  • Bullying
  • Varied physical, emotional and cognitive development
  • Hygiene
  • Relationships
  • Competition and social skills
  • Supervision

Related Smart Kids Topics