RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Middle and high school students who have outgrown finger painting and cheesy games have more mature, challenging summer camp options than ever. At these summer camps for teens, participants can work with their peers to hone their skills in performing arts, science, technology and fashion, or to learn how to become a counselor at a little kids' camp. Looking for a more traditional summer camp? The 92nd Street Y's camps for teens, known as Trailblazers, offer both overnight stints and daytime excursions to amuseument parks and sporting events.
Camps for teens
Junior-high students with a knack for natural sciences choose from five intensive programs. They will either explore the connections between the more than 5 million species on earth at the Evolution Institute, learn to navigate the solar system in the Digital Universe Flight School, delve into one of two Virtual Worlds Institutes, one covering the Neanderthals and the other the Cretaceous Seas, or become an EcoRanger and explore the Museum’s biodiversity resources and more. Each one- or two-week course introduces attendees to world-famous collections, industry experts and the museum's many departments. Camp runs July 7–Aug 22, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. Two-week session $1,100, one-week session $550. Ages 11 to 14.
Chic teens can experience a week in the life of industry insiders. Campers meet professionals, visit style exhibits and stay in LIM College dormitories with high-end amenities such as flat-screen TVs and a gym. Camp runs June 22–June 28 and July 13-July 19. One-week session $1,950. Ages 14 to 18.
This intensive ensemble-based crash course in jazz includes opportunities for campers to listen to significant recordings, attend performances and learn basic music theory with professional musicians, including Victor Lin and Kevin Farrell, as their teachers. Teens also try improvisation and make music with their peers. The workshop is open to students with the ability to play any instrument and will culminate in a workshop performance. Camp runs June 16–20, Mon–Fri 9:30am–4:30pm. One-week session $750. Ages 14 to 18.
Wannabe Vera Wangs can get their feet wet in the fashion industry at this four-day design intensive. Girls will meet with reps from fashion schools like FIT, attend a casting for NY and NJ Fashion Weeks, tour the garment district, and more. On the last day, campers can show off what they’ve learned at a fashion show for family and friends. Camp runs July 8–11 and July 29–Aug 1. Tue–Fri 9:30am–4:30pm. Four-day session $999, includes lunch, sewing supplies, camp t-shirt, field trips and tours. Ages 12 to 18.
Teens receive intensive instruction in kayaking, rock climbing and sailing. If they somehow get bored with those activities, they can opt to play traditional sports like basketball, soccer and volleyball, or try out ice-skating. Camp runs June 16–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 8:30am–4pm. One-week session $750 before May 23, $810 thereafter; multiple-week and sibling discounts available. Bus transportation available in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn for an additional $135 per week. Ages 12 to 16.
The Teen Improv Intensive transforms adolescent thespians into quick-witted performers who know how to keep a show afloat. At the end of each session, students display their comedic skills in a production for family and friends. Camp runs July 14–18 and Aug 4–8, Mon–Fri 10am–4pm. One-week session $525. Ages 12 to 17.
Intended for kids eyeing careers in the fashion industry, this camp teaches teens how to design and market clothing. Participants work on individual projects, attend lectures, and visit stores and clothing-related exhibitions. In the past, campers have consulted with experts from Coach, Juicy and Marc Jacobs. Camp runs July 14–18, July 21–25 and Aug 4–8, with an advanced session Aug 4-8, Mon–Fri 9:30am–4:30pm. One-week session $1,295. Ages 12 to 18.
Teens get creative in the Marymount Fab Lab, (a high-tech digital prototyping facility), where they’ll dip into subjects like rocketry, 3D printing, robotics, and video design. Camp runs June 23–July 25, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. Extended day options available. Five-week session $3,900, four-week session $3,375, three-week session $2,800, two-week session $1,975, one-week session $1,000. Ages 12 to 15.
If your daughter is set on breaking into the modeling industry, this four-day camp could open doors. Campers will take modeling workshops, seminars, meet with casting agents and take part in photo shoot challenges with industry professionals. Speakers include Ashley Howard from America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway Winner Lisa Nargi. Past attendees have been signed with a major New York agency at the end of the session. Camp runs July 8–11 and July 29- Aug 1. Tue–Fri 9:30am–4:30pm. Four-day session $999, not including hotel fees. Ages 12 to 18.
When they're not hanging out at the 92nd Street Y's suburban campgrounds, teens embark on day trips to amusement and water parks, beaches, museums and professional sporting events. Each month, campers also attend a weeklong overnight. Camp runs June 30–Aug 19, Mon–Fri 8:00am–5:45pm. Eight-week session $6,200, six-week session $5,800, five-week session $5,300, Session A (June 30-July 25) $4,700, Session B (July 28-Aug 19) $4,400. Free round-trip bus transportation provided to and from the 92nd Street Y. Ages 12 to 14.
Students work alongside members of the IRT theater company to build their acting technique and create original theatrical pieces. This year, young performers will collaborate with Vampire Cowboys, a “geek theatre” company producing shows based in action, adventure and dark comedy. The kids also take workshops in voice, playwriting and acting from artists-in-residence. Parents can watch their teens' hard work come to life in a final performance. Camp runs July 7–19. Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. Two-week session $600. Ages 12 to 17.