Guest Author - Lorel Shea
It's not too early to start thinking about summer programs for your gifted teenager. Opportunities abound for kids in their teen years. You could spend quite a few days searching the internet for a program to match your child's interests, and preferred location, or you could save yourself a lot of time and trouble by picking up a copy of Sandra L. Berger's handy reference guide, “ The Ultimate Guide to Summer Opportunities for Teens”. This book is over 300 pages long, and contains specific data on programs, eligibility, websites, and contact information. Not included in this guide is any reference to tuition or fees. Taking a closer look at some of the summer sessions noted, I found that some of these programs are quite costly, while others are designed especially for low income students.
This guide opens with an introduction that explains to students how they might benefit from taking a summer session. Chapter two focuses on college planning and test preparation. Chapter three outlines the different types of programs available, such as service learning, internships, and academic. The majority of the book is devoted to information on current offerings, with a single page entry for each opportunity selected. Details include program name, contact information, address, web site, program type, targeted grade level, and a brief description. These pages are organized alphabetically by state.
The back of the book has an index of opportunities by program type. This handy cross reference allows the student to look up programs for:
fine, performing, and visual arts
gap year/study abroad
math,sciences, engineering, and computer science/technology
Some of these entries seem to be categorized a bit haphazardly. Under academic enrichment, for instance, you can find “adventures in veterinary medicine” in Massachusetts. I would have expected this program to be included in the science category. A teen interested in journalism might easily miss seeing an entry in her chosen field, as the Carolina Journalism Institute is listed as academic enrichment, while Ball State University High School Summer Journalism Workshops sits under the heading of fine, performing, and visual arts. If program takes precedence over location, my advice is to read through the entire book to ensure that an extracurricular gem isn't overlooked.
This guide is a terrific resource for young people looking to do something different and meaningful over the summer. Many programs have limited enrollments and early deadlines, so it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible. Some of the more competitive programs require a fairly lengthy application with references. Guide to Summer Opportunities is a new release for 2008. Whether your child is interested in math, drama, engineering, or travel abroad, there are myriad possibilities here to explore.