Not Your Parents’ Summer Camp!

For most of us, the words “summer camp” evoke memories of camp fires and tug-of war, sing alongs and canoeing contests.  The experiences and memories we gained from those times away from home were a true rite of passage.  But what if that experience could have also influenced your future career path?  What if you also learned things at camp that inspired you to explore possible job opportunities?

As the song says, “The times, they are a-changin’,” and the summer camps of today look a bit different than the camps of years gone by. Don’t worry, there are still ghost stories and talent shows, but there’s also robotics and radio production, video game design, and equestrian science.

Right here in the Triad, our local NPR station, 88.5 WFDD created a day-camp called “Radio Camp.” Radio Camp enables middle school students to learn how to write, prepare, and record a story for broadcast on the radio. In just one week! It was so successful that the station developed an after-school program for high school students, called “Radio 101.”

“Kids liked it so much they were taking the camp over and over! So we added Radio 101 as an after school option for older students,” said Gabriel Maisonnave, WFDD’s Education Program Manager.

According to the not-for-profit, a personalized service dedicated to helping students and career managers find direction, students benefit from career-oriented summer camps through:

  • Academic and experience-based learning, focused on one or more career paths or college majors, leading to more informed and confident decision-making.
  • Residential experience on a college campus that helps make the next step on the educational path more real.
  • A supportive environment that enables them to socially engage with instructors and other students who are also seeking career direction, exerting a positive peer influence.
  • Increased confidence that comes with exposure and practice. Simulating possible next steps motivates students to set—and work toward—realistic goals.

Curious about what career-focused camps might be available for your high school student this summer?  A quick google search for “summer camps with career focus” will connect you to camp options that focus on unique and interesting subjects, like:

  • Coding
  • Video game design
  • Criminal forensics
  • Nursing and healthcare
  • Oceanography
  • Zoo and wildlife biology
  • Creative writing
  • Sports management
  • Culinary skills
  • Aviation

In addition to these options across the country, here are just a few terrific camps to explore right here in North Carolina:

-Appalachian State University hosts a Summer Forensic Science Camp

-The Broyhill Leadership Conference, held on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte, is open to current 9th-11th graders interested in personal development and leadership training.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a four-week residential summer program for current or rising high school juniors and seniors. Its main objective is to stimulate interest in agriscience professions, including: biological engineering, biotechnology, business and economics, child development, fashion and apparel, food product development, horticulture, landscape architecture, nutrition, teaching, veterinary science, and many more.

The value of exploring a career-focused summer camp is best summarized by WFDD’s Gabriel Maisonnave, “You never know when a student will discover something they didn’t know they would like until they tried it!”




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