For the past few years, I've sent both children to summer camps for a few weeks of every year. It's never been hard to find something for them, since we're in an area that's fairly populated, has access to lots of parks, and is close to a major city.
This year, the boy turned 13. Suddenly, finding a camp isn't easy anymore.
The vast majority of the camps I found go up to the age of twelve. With those, there's few requirements beyond "give us your money and their shot records." They run from nine to four. They focus on the kids having fun and doing something besides playing video games.
For a thirteen-year-old, there's so much less, and what's there is... different. I checked out several creating writing camps, but to get in, he'd have to write an essay and submit previous work, as well as get a recommendation from a teacher. They only run until 2pm. They talk less about fun and more about working the kids hard to produce as much as they can for that week.
Sports camps run until later in the day, but they have the same problems: You have to audition, and they will work the kid hard. It is not a time for fun and enjoying the summer. It's time to get RESULTS.
I checked out some overnight camps, but my son put the kibosh on that. He's not interested in being shipped to the wilderness somewhere, away from every comfort he knows. While I will push him out of his AS bubble sometimes, I had to agree: This wasn't a fit.
I'm just flabbergasted. All of these camps are geared towards people who either have super Type A personality kids, or are Type A themselves. There has to be a market for kids who just want to chill somewhere other than grandma's, right?