The snow has almost melted which means it's time to register for summer camp*. Things can get tricky when it comes to geeky gifted kids and summer camps. Do you send your kid to an academic leaning program (geek camp) or let a kid be a kid at good old summer camp?
Certainly for some high achieving kids, summer is a chance to blow off steam and fit in with the regular crowd sweating in the outdoors, swimming and singing 'round the campfire.
And then there are the others. The ones who want nothing more than to build robots, explore international politics, compose a symphony, play chess and program computers. Okay, and maybe blow things up.
Speaking of which, last August I wrote: 2010 will go down as the best summer of geek camp ever. Now, these often pricey science, chess, math and arts camps don't always provide their value in content, or even in instructors, but they do typically provide a positive social setting for the child who is, say, more mathlete than athlete or who cares more about Bach than baseball.
And that's pretty much it in a nutshell. Each year, parents ask me if these camps are Worth It because, dang! they cost a bundle of money.
For example, one week of the TechID Camp costs as much as one month of our park district camp. The former involves lots of time sitting at computers learning programming languages and skills; that latter involves weekly cookouts, trips to the pool and two overnight camp outs at state parks, not to mention a variety of outdoor skills.
On some level, the money thing kills me. It's an outrage.
As I said above, geek camps don't always have the best of everything, but they do attract like-minded, passionate, deep thinking and maybe quirky children (just like yours).
And that is priceless.
In my mind these camps are not about building academic prowess as much as they are about helping your child explore his passions. But even more so, geek camps offer a chance for your child to connect with an aged based peer group that is also an intellectual peer group-- something he might never have experienced before.
Like I said- priceless.
*Actually, we had to commit to overnight camps for the boys back in November!