From camp to a pre-college program

After youth participate in camp, they can participate in another experience through a pre-college program.

As youth participate in summer or school-year camps, they are participating in activities that will give them life skills to be successful in their future. The American Camp Association lists benefits and anticipated outcomes of the camp experience in three categories: social skills development, self-respect and character building, and community living/service skills. After camp is over, participants have the opportunity to use the benefits from their camp experience at home, school and community. Youth camp participants can follow up with more activities to continue to build skills from their camp experience.

Service learning and getting involved in career preparation activities are some ways youth can continue their camp experience. Another activity youth can be involved in is a pre-college program at a local college or university. There are general pre-college programs to help introduce youth to college life and prepare for college in different areas like admissions, financial aid, preparing for the ACT or SAT tests, deciding on majors, etc. There are also pre-college programs that are specific to certain majors and careers like engineering, health/medicine, business and agriculture.

If youth are already interested in a career, they can begin seeking opportunities related to a pre-college program in majors and careers. If youth are not sure about their career interests, they can take the time for reflection and think about the skills or talents they discovered during camp or have developed over time. Then, they can research careers and majors and use that information to find a potential pre-college program.

Past experience from a camp can prepare youth for a pre-college program, but the content and focus areas may be different. Just like camps, pre-college programs may come in the form of a day camp or they may be overnight with youth staying in residence halls. Some pre-college programs come in the form of camps.

Michigan State University Extension offers opportunities for youth through Michigan 4-H Youth Development. Through Michigan 4-H, pre-college programs like 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Renewable Energy Camp, Michigan 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp and 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp are available. Also, youth and parents can check out the Spartan Youth Programs website at Michigan State University. Youth can follow up from a camp experience to a pre-college program to continue the experience of learning and growing.

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