Enrichment Activities

Enrichment activities can cover the entire spectrum of interests for children, teenagers, and young adults. Traditional outdoors activities like swimming or instructional activities such as learning a musical instrument are available as always. However, more families are choosing to send their children to unusual or exotic activities. These can include learning a foreign language, robotics, or even rocketry. With so many activities available, even picky children should be able to find something they might enjoy.

The Academy Introduction Mission (AIM) provides 1 week sessions for teenagers who are interested in the Coast Guard. It offers a full look at the life of a Coast Guard cadet. The AIM is only for teenagers who are aged 16 or older. About 50% of AIM graduates earn an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy later. For teenagers who want to sail with the Coast Guard, AIM is an excellent way to see how life in the academy might be. Housing is provided and tuition will be $400 for the 2011 sessions.

The Nuclear Engineering Camp at Missouri University of Science and Technology gives a first-hand look at nuclear energy for high school students. The universities own reactor is the host and the program includes a field trip to an operating nuclear power plant. Attending students will learn about nuclear power in civilian and military life. Missouri University of Science and Technology also hosts an Aerospace Camp, Explosives Camp, and even a Robotics Camp.

The University of St. Andrews in Scotland offers a Scottish Studies Summer Program for high school students. Participants take trips around Scotland and completely immerse themselves in Scottish literature and culture. The comprehensive fee of 2800 British pounds covers every expense except souvenirs. All housing and meals are provided. The program awards 15 Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework credit points for level 7, which is roughly equivalent to the first year of undergraduate school in the United States. It is an excellent way for a student to see Scotland and receive credit for a possible term in Scottish universities.

The Oceanography of the Gulf of Maine is a collaborative effort between the Sea Education Association and the Shoals Marine Laboratory at Cornell University. Students study on land at the laboratory and aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. The program focuses upon offshore oceanography and the intertidal zone at Appledore Island, Maine. Completion of the program even gives attendees credit with Cornell University.

Similar to applying to a college, choosing enrichment activities should be easy with a few precautions. Parents should ask questions about the staff numbers and qualifications. Picking a program affiliated with a university can be costly, but helps to ensure a minimum level of qualified staff. There should be an emergency plan with immediate notification if there is an accident. The child or teenager should help decide where to attend. This can ensure that the child wants to be there and is willing to participate.

With the wide variety of enrichment activities available, it should be reasonably easy for children and their parents to find the right program. Even for busy families, checking with the nearest major university can be a simple way to discover an enrichment program in the area. Enrolling in an enrichment program allows children to spend a few days or weeks learning and spending time with other children with similar interests. For teenagers and young adults, enrichment programs can be a way to learn about a university or follow up on a possible career interest. Enrichment activities are relatively inexpensive and short commitments for children of any age to learn more about every possible interest.