Summer adventure programs offer experiences that develop the potential in young people. Along with hands-on skills like sailing and scuba diving, tweens and teens are exposed to camp environments that enhance their emotional growth. These personal changes very often affect the ways young people view themselves and others. New realizations surface and they are frequently accompanied by a fresh outlook on life. But how young is too young for an adventure program experience?
Mike Liese, founder of Sail Caribbean’s teen summer programs, is committed to offering a true growth experience through well-balanced camp activities. “We respect one another and know that together we can accomplish terrific things. At Sail Caribbean, we set the stage for students as young as 11 years old to spread their wings on an adventure called Tango. There’s always an adjustment leaving home and all that’s familiar. We take extra care on arrival to be sure everyone buddies-up, participates in icebreaker games, and feels ready to join in the adventure. Comfort levels grow each passing day and students leave camp with important life skills, a sense of independence, and a new-found self confidence. They and their parents are amazed at the very noticeable positive changes.” Adventure camps aid in building the necessary skills that enable young people to take on successful adult roles. Even the youngest Sail Caribbean participants and their parents along with staffers report development in making new friends, self-confidence, independence, as well as exploring and learning new activities.
Sail Caribbean adventures are nurturing and supportive. They are tailored to offer optimum conditions for social growth for all age levels. Living with others on a yacht in a close environment, sharing experiences, and learning to work together cooperatively and respectfully are the catalysts for developing essential life-long social skills. Opportunities to test leadership, become a valuable team member, problem solve with others, and enjoy fun times together are abundant. Cohesive tight-knit groups form, vivid life-long memories are made, and many tweens remain in close friendships long after the end of the trips.
It is important to select an adventure that offers activities of interest – this can even be an opportunity to try something completely new and different. Facing the challenges of improving current skills or developing new ones can be exciting as well as intimidating. When young people look to mastering a new skill or achieving a personal goal, making good choices and having the right attitude sets a positive course toward success. Encouragement and praise from peers and counselors heightens each new attempt and accomplishment. Success results in a sense of pride and a new-found enthusiasm to set more goals and take on challenges. Exploring life’s opportunities helps tweens and teens find their interests and choose fields of study, and later, career paths.
When staff members believe that students can and will succeed, they most likely will. Belief in a youngster’s potential carries a confidence that is transferable ̶ and along with that confidence comes a sense of empowerment. Young adventurers have the permission and outlook to succeed knowing that failure is simply an opportunity to try again. When young people are trusted, valued, encouraged, and celebrated self-esteem soars. The resulting positive self-image and self-assurance can propel them forward into successful lives as adults.