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Summer camps for rich kids
Camping in the woods isn't a thing of the past, but affluent teens have a wider array of choices.
May 28, 2004: 5:17 PM EDT
By Deshundra Jefferson, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Many adults may remember camping as a summer ritual arranged by their parents to keep them out of trouble.

Attending Camp Stuckinthewoods was anything but a vacation.

Ghost stories around the campfire weren't nearly as scary as the swarm of mosquitoes hovering nearby. And the plumbing situation meant those walks in the woods weren't just for exercise.

If your parents really loved you, you may have reasoned, they would have sent you to the camp next door. That was the one with cabins outfitted with deluxe suites, jacuzzi tubs, and an indoor grill.

For some reason, the mosquitoes never seemed to bother those campers.

Slumbering in the woods isn't quite a thing of the past for many middle-income teens, but those campers down the street have a whole new array of summertime options.

So if you were jealous of them then, you'd really hate them now.

Kids just wanna have fun

Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs and Canyon Ranch Health Resorts offer a joint two-week fitness program, held at Bryn Mawr College in suburban Philadelphia. It features workshops in stress management, positive body image, mediation, and yoga.

"Why wait until someone is in their 40s, 50s, or 60s to correct a bad habit when you can take a proactive approach when they are in their teens years," said Tina Krinsky, director of marketing and public relations for Julian Krinsky Camps.

"You teach them lessons that will last a lifetime."

Teens also select three personal services a week from a spa palate that includes a half-an-hour head, neck and shoulder massage, spa manicure or pedicure. One-on-one personal training sessions are available, as well as private tennis lessons.

Tuition fees are about $1,000 a week, and campers can choose to extend their stay for another session.

Teen travel company Broadreach Inc. offers several international and Caribbean travel programs for adventure seekers. One of its more popular tours is the Underwater Discovery program, which sails around the Leeward islands in the Caribbean.

Teens live on a 50-foot catamaran during the two to three-week program and can earn certificates in sailing, diving, and coral reef conservation. No previous sailing experience is required.

Prices for this Caribbean voyage range from $3,580 to $4,380.

A new crop of teen travel programs are combining foreign travel with community service programs, an option Laurel Berrie, owner of Camp Connection, says is very popular among well-heeled parents.

"You've got parents who say 'I've afforded my children everything in their life, maybe it's time to give a little back,'" she said.

Erik Werner, executive director for teen tour company Global Works Inc. and a former Peace Corps volunteer, agrees.

"Parents realize that there is an invaluable lesson to be learned by sending their kids to a different society," said Werner. "It sends the kids back to the United States appreciating what they have."

Campers can earn two college credits for a summer volunteer program in the Galapagos islands offered by Global Works and Juniata College in Pennsylvania.

Past volunteer projects include building a village playground, restoring school classrooms, and assisting with the construction of a daycare facility.

The $5,384 price tag may seem a little steep, but some of the money helps cover construction materials.

For the future entrepreneurs

The next generation's Bill Gates may be spending his summer at Princeton University learning C++ through a summer program run by Giant Campus Inc.'s Cybercamps.

Cybercamps offers courses in game design, programming, 3D animation, and robotics for kids aged 7 to 18 at several colleges around the country.

A week-long session ranges from $599 to $799, but parents often fork over another $375 for junior to stay overnight.

Krinsky Camps also offers a four-week program for the next-generation of Wall Street leaders at Wharton Business School featuring guest lectures by area businessmen and entrepreneurs such as David Schlessinger, the original founder of Zany Brainy and Five Below.

Campers also attend classes taught my current Wharton faculty members and visit local businesses. This year's program includes a trip to New York City.

"I have enough chutzpah to take the kids to see Donald Trump," Julian Krinsky of Krinsky Camps joked.

Global Works Inc.
Broadreach Inc.
Julian Krinsky

Unlike many other academic camps, this one requires teens to submit a high school transcript, SAT scores, a short essay, and two letters of recommendation. Students admitted to the program, on average, scored 1341 on the SAT, versus the 1026 national average.

Enrolling in the program doesn't guarantee admission to the University of Pennsylvania, but at least the $4,950 program fee doesn't come close to tuition at any of the Ivies.  Top of page

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