Adventure Summer Camps for High School Students

Written By Trent Lorcher

"It's nice out, so why are all my kids sitting inside playing video games and friending people on Facebook?" says every parent at some point during the summer.

The summer will be over soon and those same kids who spent the summer playing video games and watching YouTube will envy their classmates who spent time outdoors getting fit and trim and learning skills. 

Kids who prefer being envied instead of envious may want to take advantage of one of these adventure summer camps for high school students.

Let’s go on an adventure…

If the last time you went on an adventure was with Barney the Dinosaur, you may want to ratchet up the adventure this summer. My apologies to those who have the "Let's Go on an Adventure" Barney song stuck in their head right now...and for the rest of the day.

Outward Bound

Actually, if Barney the Dinosaur was your last adventure, you may want to opt for something a little less adventurous than Outward Bound. If, however, you relish the outdoors and are looking for an unforgettable summer adventure with your peers, Outward Bound is a great choice. You will be tested. You will be asked to push your limits. And you will have a great sense of accomplishment at the end.

Outward Bound provides experiential and outdoor education programs for youth and adults. Outward Bound courses include backpacking trips, mountaineering expeditions, whitewater rafting, canoeing, dog sledding, sailing trips, and more.

Cultiva International Humanitarian Leadership Week

When investigating Cultiva International's Humanitarian Leadership Week, I may have scoffed at the "life-changing experience" claim is made. All summer camps, after all, make similar claims. Despite my initial skepticism I attended this adventure summer camp for high school students (even though I graduated high school 30 years ago) and can confirm that it is a life-changing summer adventure camp. This unique programs for teens provide adventure, education, and humanitarian work in the unparalleled setting of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. 

Americans Greg and Lucy Jensen relocated to Guatemala nearly a decade ago where they established Cultiva International, a humanitarian organization that works to help impoverished families become self-sufficient. Along with working side by side with Guatemalan families, students take part in adventure hikes, leadership exercises, and activities in beautiful Lake Atitlan. Cultiva's guides take safety and leadership seriously.

Wilderness Adventures

Wilderness Adventures promises you the best summer ever. That's a rather lofty promise, but if you're into exploring the outdoors in some of the world's most beautiful places with kids your own age, then this could make the best summer ever. Wilderness Adventures offers 45 adventure summer camps for high school students, ranging from hiking in Utah to surfing in Costa Rica to climbing in the Alps. 

Wilderness Adventures understands that wilderness experiences provide value beyond a few weeks sleeping under the stars. Wilderness Adventure camps help students "become more responsible, tolerant, and self-confident while developing a powerful, all-inclusive community." All Wilderness Adventure summer camps are electronic free. Age requirements vary by program.

The Road Less Traveled Teen Summer Travel Program

Although the "road less traveled" in Robert Frost's poem isn't actually less traveled, the Road Less Traveled (RLT) Teen Summer Travel Program offers teens a true opportunity to take a road less traveled. RLT's ambitious goals include empowering youth to be part of a larger group, to develop "open-mindedness, understanding, and respect for common humanity through interactions with people from [other] cultures and faiths."

RLT's programs take kids all over the world. There is no homework, no grades, and no electronics. Students are free to explore the world through experience and focus on developing individual strengths. Age requirements vary by program.

Bold Earth Adventure Camps

If you or your 13 to 18-year-old student wishes to get bold for 12-21 days during the summer, he or she may find boldness with Bold Earth Adventure Camps. Bold Earth runs camps throughout the summer to beautiful outdoor destinations, such as Costa Rica, South Africa, Europe, South America, and the Western United States. Activities vary by location and include whitewater rafting, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, zip-lining, rock climbing, hut-to-hut hiking, canyoneering, hot springs visits, rappelling, glacier trekking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and outrigger canoeing.

Most programs incorporate community service. Program goals include helping students develop a love and appreciation for travel, culture, and adventure and to empower and encourage young people.

Moondance Adventures

Moondance is an adventure travel company that takes teens to awesome places around the world. Moondance's believes teens thrive in the outdoors when distractions "are limited to night skies, sunsets, new friends, good conversation, mountain passes, and fresh air." Outdoor adventures included places in the United States, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Program lengths and age requirements depend on the location and trip activity.



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About the author

Trent Lorcher has taught high school English for 19 years. In addition to hosting a foreign exchange student from China, he's traveled extensively, including 18 months in Central America, 2 years in Italy, and additional time in Mexico, France, Morocco, and Spain. He dreams of one day retiring to Spain with his beautiful bride in a place big enough for their 5 kids to visit.

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