The schools bells are about to ring for the last time of the school year, and as the sound fades away parents face the seemingly endless stretch of summer. Working parents might wonder how to keep their children occupied and safe. A stay-at-home parent may look for ways to help a shy child come out of a shell, or help an active child build sports skills. The range of summer camp options can be daunting. We’re here to help.


Teenagers are in those awkward years. Too old for a babysitter. Too young for a job (or can’t find one). And maybe too curious to be left home alone all summer. What’s a parent to do? Check out some of these camp opportunities specifically for the military community:

  • Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard Teen Summits (AFR/ANG TLS) The Teen Summits  are  designed to foster leadership skills and help geographically dispersed Guard and Reserve youth connect with other military teens. Camps are one week long, although the anticipation, planning and afterglow can last much longer. Teen Summits are located in Georgia and Colorado.
  • The 2015-2016 Teen Adventure Camps  offer additional opportunities  for military youth. Camps are  for youth between the ages of 14-18 years old and  focus on se  fun and adventure. Teen Adventure Camp sare  offered in Alabama, Washington, New Hampshire, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia. . The camp in Kentucky has adventures for teens with disabilities.
  • 4-H Camps for Military Kids are designed to foster positive traits in a fun-filled way. These camps are available in many states and take place from April through August. Program participation will be no cost or at a very low cost, so they fill up fast. Register now!
  • 2015 Air National Guard (ANG)/Air ForceReserve (AFR) 4H Camps are additional camps for youth from ANG/AFR families. These are themed experiences ranging from flight camp, to robotics to back to nature and wilderness survival. These camps are funded by the Air Force 4-H Partnership to support ANG/AFR  families, so will be free or a minimal cost. 
  • Operation Purple Camp is for military kids. Kids get a FREE WEEK of camp where they connect with other kids, just like them. And purple happens to be the perfect mix of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force Blue, Marine Corps Red, and Navy blue! 


Air Force Child and Youth Programs is offering a variety of camps and also provides specialty camps that travel to the bases to  provide opportunities for a variety of skill building (and fun) camp experiences such as Missoula Children’s theatre, cooking, science, sports and more. Check with your local Youth Center for more details and the camps coming to your base.

Another affordable way for youth to attend camp is as a “counselor-in-training” at a YMCA camp or other similar camp. A CIT may attend camp for a reduced fee in exchange for using their blossoming counselor skills. When they are older, they could be paid staff at the same summer camp.


    If you are a family that uses after-school care for young children, you may need to find options for summer vacation. When looking at day camp, please consider the following:
    • Does the camp have a history? In today’s world, a camp simply couldn’t stay in business for generations if it were unsafe or poorly run.
    • What is the camp’s philosophy? Is it a sports, arts or leadership camp?
    • Is it diverse and inclusive? Good camps think about creating the most inclusive experience for all.
    • What about the staff? Look for a camper to staff ratio of 10:1 for kids ages 8 to 14. Ask about background-checks, references.  criminal-records search, and training requirements.
    • Does your child have choices? Kids feel more independent when they can choose some activities.
    • What is the communication plan? If a tornado strikes, or your child has an allergic reaction to a bee sting, how is this communicated? The best communication plan is multifaceted and includes phone calls, text messages AND emails. Camp is seldom a place for electronics. Many camps ask campers to leave cell phones at home, or keep them in the camp office.
    Some children may be ready for an overnight camp. Children as young as seven are welcome at many sleepover camps, although it depends upon the child. A good guideline is this: the younger your child, the more he or she, rather than you, should make the decision.

    The cost of day camps and sleepaway camps varies greatly and can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand for the more exclusive camps.

    Keep in mind that day camps fall under the same tax guidelines as daycare, so if you pay for daycare with a flex plan, or write off these expenses, you can do the same for day camp.


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