Generation Z, consisting of individuals born after 1995, is beginning to move into the spotlight now that they make up over a quarter of the U.S. population. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to a third, which means the $44 billion Gen Zers contribute to the U.S. economy annually (thanks to an average weekly allowance of around $17) is set to skyrocket.
While Generation Z suffers from the same short attention span as the rest of Americans — probably exacerbated by their preference for multitasking on five screens at once — they’re also not afraid to work to be successful. Eighty percent of high school age Gen Zers think they are more motivated than their peers, and almost three-quarters of students in that age group plan on starting their own business when they finish school.
Plans are one thing, but bringing them to life is something else entirely. In today’s competitive environment, one of the best ways to groom your kids to be successful in whatever areas interest them is with an immersive summer camp experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime. Especially for Gen Zers who might be prone to spending summer on the internet or social media, the following standout summer programs will show them what’s possible when they get out and engage with one another in the real world.
Here are just a few of the fantastic enrichment and pre-professional programs that can help kids get on the right path:
What started 40 years ago as a mission to teach aspiring young tennis players has grown into a diverse collection of day camps and overnight programs. From sports camps to immersive language programs to pre-college enrichment, JKCP has something to inspire a wide variety of ages and interests.
Students can gain valuable additions to their portfolios and college résumés at JKCP through its offered courses, not to mention making contacts and connections that often last through college and beyond. The programs and camps, held at prestigious college campuses, cover everything from sports and data science to art and architecture.
For the aspiring academic, the YYGS program is a summer enrichment program that draws students from around the world for a variety of two-week sessions at Yale’s New Haven campus or a two-week session at Yale Center Beijing. Of particular interest is the session on sustainable development and social entrepreneurship — both topics that members of Generation Z find highly relevant.
From acting for the stage or camera to dance, animation, and media design, USPA camps offer more than 25 specialty workshops in a wide array of fields. In their 15th year of operation, the USPA camps offer partial financial aid to those who qualify, and certain programs can be taken for college credit.
LEAD Camp develops campers not only athletically, but also mentally. Separated into similar age groups, students from fourth through ninth grade will have the chance to learn valuable skills related to leadership and entrepreneurship, all while encouraging their overall athletic development through exercise in areas such as acceleration, speed, and agility.
A competitive program worth three college credits, the Terp Young Scholars program gives students the opportunity to experience life at the University of Maryland while interacting with their peers and taking one of more than 20 courses. The program is a great way for students to get a head start on college credit requirements while introducing them to the independence of college life — with an appropriate level of supervision.
A wealth of course options are the highlight of Stanford’s summer enrichment program, with both three-week sessions and intensive six-week courses. Whether students are interested in cryptography, creative writing, or computer simulations, Stanford has a course to stimulate their curiosity and challenge their abilities. With a 5:1 ratio of students to instructional staff, students won’t be lost in the crowd.
As the members of Generation Z come of age in a world teeming with technology, they are poised to use their creativity and drive to change the world. Almost two-thirds want their day-to-day jobs to have a global impact, and more than three-quarters are concerned about the effect humanity is having on the planet. Encouraging Gen Zers’ development during adolescence will ensure that their dreams can become reality when they reach adulthood.