Swim in the lake — or swim with sharks? These camps up the ante.
This isn’t your daddy’s summer camp.
In a new breed of specialized camps across America, campers as young as 10 are pitching to angel investors, swimming with sharks and even learning to become spies.
These speciality camps, no doubt, are trying to appeal to big-spending parents. CNNMoney reports that families can spend an average of $10,000 to $12,000 on summer camp tuition each year (not including additional costs like uniforms and visiting day goodies).
And for all that money, parents want their kids to do more than just swim and play Color War.
Manhattan mom Terri Pitts has sent her daughter to a dolphin training program for the past three summers, where the 11-year-old learns about dolphin communication, interacts with mammals, and studies alongside Ph.D. candidates in marine biology. “Parents can easily relate to the time they invested in a child’s sport. Animal care is one of my daughter’s most committed passions. She absolutely loves it,” Pitts tells Moneyish.
“You always want to invest in your child’s interests to see if it might be a future career prospect for them,” Pitts adds. “This dolphin program is something that’s benefited her personally, and even in her schoolwork through all the knowledge she’s gained.”
From spy camp to entrepreneurship camp, these are five of the most unique summer camps we could find — and what they cost.
1. Spy Camp at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. – Welcome to Spy Training 101. Here, future sleuths (ages 10-13) learn to break codes, run missions, and discover secrets of the trade from real spies. If your kids want to be the next 007, this is the place to send them.
Cost: $415 to $445 for one week.
2. Broadway in the Mountains – If your kids are theatre devotees, this program in the Catskills — where children ages 10-16 work closely with leading Broadway coaches to master their stage fright, hone performance artistry, prepare for auditions, and present a showcase at the end — might just awaken their inner Broadway star.
Cost: $3,995 for two weeks.
3. Architecture Camp at Tulane University – They might not construct an Eiffel Tower this summer, but if your kids want to know more about architecture and design, they can do it in New Orleans. The program consists of field trips, industry insights, and interaction with Tulane professors. It’s primarily geared toward high school students, who can receive credit for this program if they later choose to attend Tulane for college.
Cost: $3,000 for three weeks.
4. Camp Biz Smart – Designed for young entrepreneurs ages 9-11, this camp is the definitive course for the business leaders of tomorrow. Offered at Stanford University, campers are paired with executives from top brands, pitch ideas to angel investors, and learn about running their own companies.
Cost: Approximately $500 to $4850, depending on the program.
5. Fiji Shark Studies – Talk about paradise! In this program, campers ages 15 and up touch down in Fiji and go scuba diving and snorkeling with sharks. “In a Fijian village, listen to locals tell stories of Dakuwaqa, the ancient Shark God,” the program description says. It must all add to the island authenticity.
Cost: $7,280 for three weeks.
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