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Old 02-13-2011, 11:13 AM
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My "children" will be 13 & 14 this summer, and I'm trying to come up with ideas for activities for them. The "usual" is no longer of interest to them or age-appropriate.

We used to:

Vacation Bible School, that filled 2 weeks, we hit up 2 churches
YMCA day camp
free movies at the mall
summer camp
swim lessons
various activities at the Y

Well, this summer they want to do more stuff on their own, don't care for Mom tagging along, which I can understand at their age, but transportation will be an issue

Here's some ideas I have, not listed in any order of priority, just my ideas right now:

Church camp
SAT prep courses
Boy Scout Camp
YMCA teen exercise program
a possible summer job for ds at the new Krogers down the road
helpers or assistants at Vacation Bible School
possible Ds might start a lawn mowing service
volunteer at local food bank and pet shelter
DS has been asked to be a volunteer for the local library computer literacy course for kids 6-8, he's fantastic with computers and would work great with that age group

Due to time and money constraints, we are not planning a family vacation this summer

So, what do kids that age do? I realize they will still need me for driving, transportation, etc, although they would prefer at this age I somehow don't exist!

My main concern is that they are engaged in some sort of wholesome activity, I don't want them just sleeping 'till noon then "hanging" with their friends.

So, ideas, please
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:37 AM
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Mine played sports at that age which kept them busy-
Doubt a 14 YO can get a job yet
Babysitting is always great at that age
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:43 AM
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The library volunteer idea sounds great.

Volunteering at a local pet shelter sounds good as well. My dd did that for several summers, but she could walk to the shelter.

I doubt that a job for a 14 year old is possible.

At that age, my kids were junior counselors at various camps - dd at girl scouts, ds at sports camps for younger kids. My ds also went to several sports camps for soccer and basketball. My dd went to gs horse camp and to art camp. She was also involved in summer theater.

Do, however, give them time to just hang out with friends as well.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:50 AM
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Actually, I was told ds could get a part-time job during the summer at age 14, limited hours, etc, can't work with money, cashier, dangerous equipment, etc, but he could perhaps work stocking shelves, mopping floors, etc. he's not afraid of hard work, he's also a big, strong kid. A job would do him some good, if we can get one, je's competeting with men his father's age. Its sad and frightening, too. I stopped by the employment office at a local grocery store, saw men my dh age applying for min wage jobs, sign of the times.

I just think a few hours a day, 2-3 days a week, would be a good experience for him, if he can qualify.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:56 AM
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It's hard, but not impossible to get a job at 14. Our grocery stores hire baggers that young.

How about a "mother's helper" job for dd, or pet sitting for either child?
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:40 PM
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Definitely aim for activities that give them opportunities to be responsible and show leadership...
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:09 PM
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Marylee, even the best, most active teenagers spend a certain amount of their summers "sleeping 'til noon and hanging out with their friends". It's what kids that age do. I wouldn't try to keep them busy 24/7 because it will never work and they'll resent it.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:21 PM
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At that age, I sent my children to summer camp, not day camp. They went away on scout trips and programs at universities too.

One year, my son was only home for three weeks that summer. That was three separate weeks, not three week in a row between summer camp, boy scout trips, and vacationing with friends' families. In those three weeks home, we went on our family vacation so he was really only home for two weeks that summer.

I know you said that money is tight but some of these camps and trips can be very affordable. The boy scout trips would be three weeks long and cost around $500. That cost included transportation, housing, food---everything for an entire three weeks. I couldn't sail the Florida Keys or go mountain climbing in New Mexico that cheaply but my kids could! There are also Christian summer camps that can be affordable too. My daughter went to a Christian horseback riding camp for a month.

We also did some summer programs at local universities where high school students live on campus for a few weeks and participated in programs for robotics, music, etc. This is a more expensive option and usually the overnight programs are for juniors and seniors, but there are many all day programs at the local universities for younger teens. My children participated in both types. An affordable option is to look into the teen noncredit courses at community college, but it's usually not an all day program. Your community college might offer something all day though.

Dew is right about teens needing to have a certain amount of sleeping in and aimlessness too. The older they got, the more unscheduled time they had to hang out doing whatever they wanted. For my family, that was more around driving age (16 and up) than early teen years, which were better for going away to camp.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:15 PM
Location: Summerville, SC
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Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
My main concern is that they are engaged in some sort of wholesome activity, I don't want them just sleeping 'till noon then "hanging" with their friends.
If they don't get to hang out with friends and sleep in now as kids, when should they get to do it? Hopefully they won't feel the need to experience this when they go to college, being deprived of it as kids.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:19 PM
Location: Wherever life takes me.
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Isn't that what summer is all about? Lazy aimlessness to take a break of the over scheduled hectic crazy life we live during the school year?

I played sports for a week each month in the summer...I had one week long soccer camp a month.
Other than that I didn't do anything.

I think that's how it should be, your kids are 13 and 14 and are still kids why bombard them with stuff they may hate, I would despise having to do an activity during my break that sucked, like being a mothers helper. I'm biased because I never want to work with kids again but if you are going to make them be busy during the summer then have THEM choose.

Summer should be taking a break from that daily grind that makes you long for summer.
They have their whole lives to fill their summer with crap that's just going to exhaust them.

Let them be kids and have fun and enjoy sleeping in and just hanging with friends, just because your kids aren't bombarded with events doesn't mean they'll be getting into trouble.
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