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Summer Camp Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Do you have your summer camp plans in place for your difficult to place tweens and teens?

Don’t start to panic, but there are only eight weeks left of school.

Your tween or teen may have dreams of lounging on the couch all day texting friends and planning their next Instagram post. Yet even as they get older, kids need activities to engage them during the summer. No matter what your child’s interests or needs, the Tampa Bay area is full of opportunities.

Many students who are involved with band may already have summer camps or practices already scheduled, but there are several other music camps around town where they can hone their skills and meet new friends.

“My older two kids have both been to UT (University of Tampa) band camp for multiple summers,” said Chelmsford resident Melody Mahusay. The camps are well run with plenty of staff support. The goal is to make better musicians in one week.

“Typically the kids who attend the camp are the ones across our area most interested in band. The attendees are talented, engaged, and they work really hard,” said Mahusay. “My kids really enjoy playing at this higher level of ability and engagement. My kids also participate in All-County band, as do many of the UT kids, so they are building relationships and camaraderie with kids with similar interest at other schools. Many of these same kids will likely be in college together playing in the same band.”

The University of South Florida also offers a week of band camp for students in Grades 7-12 during the summer.

As with band, if your child is involved in a specific sport, they may have practices over the summer or their coach probably has a recommendation of a good sports camp. A quick Google search shows plenty of sports camp opportunities for kids in the Westchase area and beyond.

There are, however, also plenty of options for older children who are looking to try out a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Kids from 12-15 years old who want to learn how to scuba dive can attend AquaCamp at the Florida Aquarium and get NAUI open water certified. Up to age 14 they can participate in travel camps through the aquarium where they’ll go snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and tubing around Tampa Bay.

Davis Island Yacht Club and the Clearwater Community Sailing Center have camps for beginning sailors and those with more experience. Berkeley Preparatory School offers Equestrian, Archery, Golf, and Rock Climbing. The Westchase Golf Club focuses on the fundamentals of golf, including full swing, chipping, putting, rules, etiquette, and strategy for children up to 16 years of age.

Area private schools also have various activities for middle and high school students. At Corbett Prep middle school students can participate in musical theater or cooking camp. Academy at the Lakes offers crochet, quilting, and video production camps. And Berkeley Prep has driver’s education, woodworking, debate, and financial literacy for teenagers.

Aspiring artists can learn digital and traditional animation at Elite Animation Academy camps in West Park Village. iD Tech Camps at USF will teach kids how to code an iPhone or Android app from scratch, design their own video game, engineer a robot, or produce a video.

For the past two summers, Busch Gardens Tampa has offered a Counselor-in-Training program for kids entering Grades 9-12. They also have more traditional camps for middle school students. If your teen is interested in gaining counselor experience closer to home, Adventures in Engineering is looking for volunteer counselors. “Adventures in Engineering (AIE) welcomes students entering Grades 9-12 to volunteer as camp counselors,” said AIE President and Co-founder Leslie Wall. “This is a great opportunity for any student interested in the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) or Education.  Our camp counselors gain leadership experience as they assist groups of campers in Grades 1-8 with hands-on engineering challenges, team-building activities, and technology lessons in areas such as programming and 3D design.”

Wall said that since high school students are often busy with multiple interests, AIE allows them to volunteer for any week that works with their schedules. Also, since AIE is a not-for-profit educational organization, all volunteer hours count as service hours, as required for the Bright Futures Scholarship. “AIE trains our staff, including the camp counselors, on all related STEAM concepts,” said Wall. “In the past, we have also worked with the Hillsborough County Children's Board to bring free First Aid and CPR training to our instructors and volunteers.”

AIE holds its camp at Wellspring Methodist Church on Sheldon Road.

Sleep-away camp is a great way to boost your teen’s confidence and get him or her – and you – ready for the move away from home at college time. “Camp provides opportunities for youth to learn new skills and gain new experiences, including teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, problem solving, resilience, and self-esteem,” said Tom Rosenberg, President/CEO of the American Camp Association. “Children will grow and carry these qualities for the rest of their lives.”

If you’re looking for recommendations for or information about overnight camps West Park Village resident Ashley Martin recommends starting your research on the American Camp Association’s website. In addition to attending many camps as a kid, Martin has worked at ones in Michigan, North Carolina and Florida. She said, “My biggest recommendation for parents seeking a camp is to check out the American Camp Association. This organization works with camp professionals and parents to ensure kids have great experiences. To be a member your camp has to undergo an incredibly thorough inspection on everything from the physical grounds, to transportation, to health, safety, and staff training. There are hundreds of standards each camp must meet and I absolutely would not send my child to a camp that didn’t meet those standards.”

So what are you waiting for? Grab your calendar and get to work. Your couch will thank you for a much deserved break.

By Marcy Sanford

Summer Camp Summaries 2017

WOW thanks the following summer camps for helping to bring you the Summer Camp Special.

Adventures in Engineering
(813) 454-3115

Each week AIE campers will gain a hands-on STEM education! While practicing teamwork and innovative thinking, they will perform exciting engineering design and technology challenges.

Berkeley Summer Programs
(813) 885-1673

With over 100 unique camps and classes, Berkeley has something for everyone: sports, fine arts, enrichment, and academic credit courses. Many new tech offerings! June 5-July 28. Visit


Calvary Christian High School
(727) 449-2247

Calvary Christian High School offers a variety of summer sports camps with beautiful athletic facilities for Grades 3-12. Visit for more information.

Camp IDS at Corbett Prep
(813) 961-3087

Over 100 full- and half-day camps. PreK3-high school. June 12-July 28. Before- and after-care. Bus service. Fine arts, engineering, academics, technology, languages, cooking and more. Visit


Camp R.O.Y.A.L
(813) 699-0564

Camp Royal is a girls' empowerment and leadership organization for girls between the ages of 10-16. Join us for camp at Southeastern University this summer.

Camp Terrapin at Tampa Prep
(813) 251-8481

Tampa Prep Summer Programs include courses in academics, enrichment, robotics and Camp Terrapin. Learn more and register at


Carrollwood Day School
(813) 920-2288

CDS presents “Turn It Up” from May 30- July 28. Featuring themed day camps and enrichment camps covering athletics, arts, education, etc. Before and after care available.

Elite Animation Academy
(813) 321-3939

10 Weekly Animation Summer Camps, June 5-Aug. 11. Book Online at: for children ages 8 to 17.  We accept all skill levels.

Five Gait Stables
(813) 938-0109

Horsemanship skills camps are available during the summer and after school programs.   Participants will learn riding, tacking, grooming and horse care in a safe, professional fun environment. 

Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy
(813) 969-0240

Come explore the wonderful world of the performing arts. Dance, sing, and act with our professional instructors. Half/full-day camps, boys camp, evening classes available!

Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA
(813) 249-8510

We invite you to enroll your kids in YMCA Summer Camp for days full of educational adventures, exciting exploration and new, lifelong friends.  Get ready for the BEST. SUMMER. EVER!

Smart Start Pre Prep Summer Camp
(813) 855-7333

Our summer camp includes all meals, three field trips per week, an 1,800-sq.-foot game room, a large outdoor playground and fun weekly educational themes.

Westchase Activity Camp
(813) 855-0662

Want your children to enjoy a safe, fun summer right here in Westchase? Come join us for swimming, arts and crafts, field trips, games and sports activities.

Westchase Tennis Camp
(813) 855-0662

Learn the fundamentals of tennis through an action-packed week that will excite your child and inspire them toward a tennis-fitness lifestyle. Serving beginner players through the most advanced players.

The listings on these pages represent paid advertisements in conjunction with the Summer Camp Special. Paid advertising is not an endorsement by WOW, Inc. Interested residents should contact the camp directors and ask all relevant questions prior to engaging their services.


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