By Jill Levin
Jill LevinEvery year I get calls from parents who are looking to find the right summer program for their teenager. Often their child has a particular interest that they are looking to expand on, but sometimes parents have no idea the types of programs that are available to their children today. And that’s where I come in.

As an advisor with Tips on Trips and Camps, I spend my summers visiting programs in session and meeting with directors. In the fall, I hear about what’s new for the upcoming summer.

There are some fabulous language, community service and travel adventure programs available for our teens today — and here’s what’s new for Summer 2014:

Social entrepreneurship is an offering in teen summer programming. These programs teach business-based solutions to social problems like poverty and ecological damage. Students learn environmental stewardship and leadership skills at top American universities or in foreign settings such as South Africa or Switzerland.

Experiences abroad for teens has been popular for years. A high school student can explore a foreign culture by studying on a college campus or living with a host family. Or a student can further develop a passion, whether it be drawing and painting in Ireland, a photography workshop in London, learning writing skills in Prague or exploring public health issues and learning preventive medicine in Nicaragua.

Food and sustainable living is a new area of interest to many teens and the number of farm-to-table summer programs is growing. With trips to Italy or South America, teens can learn organic farming and culinary skills and form an appreciation for the entire process of food production.

Specialty camps have existed for a while now, but it was not until very recently that those specialties were linked to a religious philosophy. Jewish specialty programs have sprung up in outdoor adventure, science, film, fashion, business and sports. The traditional Jewish co-ed camp will always remain, but the teen that missed that experience or is not a traditional camper can pursue an interest in science or business with guidance from Jewish leaders and simultaneously understand how Jewish ethics inform business decisions.

The choices are endless. I can help you find that perfect match.

Jill Levin is the Westcoast Advisor for Tips on Trips and Camps. She has sent thousands of students, ages 8 – 18, on summer programs throughout the years. You can contact Jill at: 310-202-8448 or by email: