Do most summer camps also have some classes? Are there camps that let students have fun, but prepare them academically for the upcoming school year?

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Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the SAT and ACT - in NYC and via Skype

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Absoulutely! Not only are there summer camps that help students prepare for school courses, but there are camps that specialize in a rainbow of exciting academic and extracurricular interests ranging from computer programming to magic. Do research via Google, look for camp fairs to attend in your area, ask your friends for recommendations, too. Also, check out services such as CampExperts.com who do the research for you.

Barbara Spalding, Parent Resource & Coach for Education

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There is a huge variety of camps these days. Yes, even those with concentration on academics, blended with elements of peer interaction and lots of fun. Look for articles written in family publications (like MetroKids here on the East Coast) with descriptions of camps and camp guides. Blogger reviews will give a first-hand experience account of camps, really allowing you to weigh pros/cons. Local colleges and universities will often have summer camps with focus on differing academic themes or variety of such. Our local county college has a terrific program to include ceramics and academics.

Don't forget to reach out to the guidance department and local libraries/book shoppes for more ideas. And you may find that a summer camp that taps into your child's interests (although perhaps not accredited as an "academic camp" provides just as much or more beneficial value, for no other reason than keeping him/her engaged, discovering and thinking throughout the summer.

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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Have you checked with the guidance counselor at your school? Counselors often get pamphlets/posters/camp literature for advertising purposes. Dr. Smith is also right -- local colleges and universities often have summer camps for students (I just received a message in my inbox today about one at a local Penn State campus), and some of these programs may have college credit available. I also recommend the summer writing workshops and camps offered in different states through the National Writing Project. Click on "find a site," choose a participating institute, click on its website and see if and where youth camps are offered.

Dr. Aaron Smith, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Currently Program Director at Aviation Academy, Co-Author of Awakening Your STEM School

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I would also check with your local college or university for summer camps as well. They can have a wide array of topics making it a lot of fun for students regardless of age or interest.

Jennifer Oleniczak, Founder and Artistic Director of The Engaging Educator

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There are definitely academic camps! I feel summer camp has become such an industry, that students (and parents!) need to find the camp that works with them!

As an example, we run an Improv/Sketch Summer camp. It's a day camp that's completely focused on Improv and Sketch Writing. While we are not an academic camp per say, we do teach the students how to write focused stories and work on their public speaking skills, something that does carry into school and the academic world. I do know there are other camps that focus on developing academic skills directly - but some are just focused on outdoors/special interests/crafts/art/etc. When I worked for the Guggenheim Museum, we were strictly art making and art looking for our summer camp.

The key is really deciding what your student is looking for and delving deeper into that particular area of camp. After that's decided, it's all about asking questions! Camp providers should be fairly available and ready to answer questions. Good luck!

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