Four Ways For Teens to Make the Most of Summer Vacation



Teens and preteens in Coastal Virginia looking for fun ways to spend their summer break have plenty of options. From making some extra cash to making the world a better place, here are four ways kids can beat the summertime blues.

1. Start a Business: Summer is the perfect time for kids to make a few bucks and learn work ethics that will serve them their entire lives. Babysitting neighborhood kids, mowing lawns or walking dogs are all business ventures perfect for adolescents. “Find someone who needs what you can do and is willing to pay you to do it,” advises Zack Miller, founder of Hatch, a company in Norfolk that nurtures startups and small businesses. Miller started his first business, a Guy and a Rake, at the age of 10. “Starting a business, even for the summer, gets kids out of their comfort zone and teaches them to communicate with other people,” he says. “They learn life skills and, most important, they learn how to think.”

2. Explore the Written Word: Parents with budding authors on their hands can enroll their children at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk. In addition to sessions for adults, The Muse offers classes and day camps for kids who love to read, write, draw comics or even do calligraphy. “We give young writers the chance to share their work and learn from professional writers,” says Michael Khandelwal, executive director of The Muse. “Kids bond with others who are interested in the same things they are. They often haven’t found that connection with their peers at school, so it’s like finding their tribe.” For class schedules and fees, visit their website.

3. Make a Difference: Coastal Virginia’s generous spirit shines through the countless nonprofits that work every day to make our region and our world a better place. Whether your teen is passionate about the environment, helping the homeless or rescuing animals, there is a nonprofit that would be happy to have them as a volunteer. “Volunteering during the summer can be an eye-opening experience for kids,” says Karen Dutro, executive director of NetworkPeninsula, a group that advocates for nonprofits in Coastal Virginia. “They gain a greater understanding of their community, and nonprofits can learn a lot from the kids as well.”

4. Light an Artistic Spark: The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk offers a variety of day camps for adolescents. Their STEAM Camp explores the fascinating link between art, science and math while the Teen Hot Glass Camp introduces participants to the mesmerizing world of glasswork. “There has been a renaissance of art and science in our community,” says Jonathan Markham, manager of curriculum and gallery programs at the Chrysler. “Our summer programs promote creative problem solving by encourage kids to look at the world around them through the lenses of art, design, science and nature.” For class schedules and fees, visit here.

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