It's that time of the year again when you decide what, if any, summer camps your child/children will attend this summer.
I was recently asked to answer a few questions from journalist Vicki Notaro about summer camps in general, and about the Academy of Code summer camp we intend doing this year in particular.
The article, 'Happy Campers' - a kind of summer camp 'special' - appeared in the inaugural issue of Choice, a consumer guide supplement with the Independent newspaper on Tuesday. This interviewee and her teenage son's photo also appeared, along with some of my summer camp thoughts.
Irish school holidays are very long, especially for teenagers who get a massive three months summer break from secondary school.
I for one am
salivating at the thought very much looking forward to not hearing the dreaded daily alarm call at the crack of dawn and to not having the subsequent 'get out of that bed ..... NOW' argument every day for a whole twelve weeks! I crave for days of no homework hassle and relaxing days at home, interspersed with getting out and about on walks, trips to interesting places and hopefully some teenage-style hikes too.
I for one am
But it can be hard to constantly amuse and entertain your child/teenager, no matter how wonderful they are, every day for 8/12 long weeks - especially if they're an only child.
As Vicki says in her article: "...for parents with bored, irritable teenagers who are neither old enough for a part-time job, nor young enough to be entertained by picnics and play dates, the three month holidays can feel a little daunting - ..."
While we all enjoy the break some children miss the daily structure that school provides. That's why, I think, most of them, although they'll absolutely tell you the opposite, secretly look forward to going back!
We've availed of a lot of summer camps over the years - "In order to give structure to the long school summer holidays" as I reveal in my interview,
Summer camps are not favoured by all parents but as far as our family is concerned I believe them to be necessary as: "I felt it was important to enhance his skills, provide social outlets and keep him occupied during the holidays. Not every boy likes to kick a ball around!"
The main reason we still use summer camps is to help reduce the amount of summer screen and gaming time. Vicki too acknowledges the need for this: "Keeping teens busy and engaged (and away from social media and video games) ..."
My son has been attending computer coding classes with The Academy of Code since last January and really enjoys them. He's enjoying them so much that he has agreed to attend one of their summer camps in July!
Yes, that's right, in order to reduce his summer screen and gaming time I'm sending him to screen-based summer camp!
Well, you see, if he's spending a lot of time on screens anyway - especially since he built his own PC , at barely 15 years old, last January - he may as well go learn another useful skill during the summer. Something he can hopefully put to good use in transition year. And as I say in my interview: "I'd rather see him in front of a computer screen learning how to write websites, make apps and maybe even games too, rather than sitting at home playing on them!"
He may even come up with a project he could develop over the remaining summer holiday! I can but hope, right?
There are of course free coding classes available through the the fantastic network of Coder Dojos. However these classes didn't suit us. I find the consistent weekly classes, in smaller groups with the Academy of Code to be more effective. And I've found that the mentors are a helpful resource to both students and parents!
And as far as their summer camp is concerned: "I consider the Academy of Code to be value for money as they help nurture my son's interest in computer and console gaming and provide him with skills - not currently provided in our education system - to further that interest and, hopefully, assist [him] with his future college and career choices."
HERE'S SOME CLASS/CAMP INFORMATION THAT YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL:
Academy of Code summer camps run from July 13th-17th and July 20th-24th in Oatlands College, Stillorgan, Dublin and are open to students from 9 to 17 years old and can be booked HERE
The cost is €160 per student but the early bird price of €144 is available until May 5th.... just two days remaining folks!
If you'd like some information about last term's 'Parent's Night' then check out
this class diary.
If you have any queries about these summer camps or weekly classes then contact Diarmuid at (083) 3068385.
And if all that's enough then watch this video to hear what the students themselves have to say!
Disclosure: I was neither asked nor paid to write this, I did so because I wanted to. This blog post reflects my honest opinions.