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Summer Enrichment Opportunities for Teens

  • Zan Tyler Editor of the HomeSchool Channel
  • Updated Jun 11, 2002
Summer Enrichment Opportunities for Teens

Summer is a great time to provide supplemental learning experiences for your children. The Teen Leadership Camps at Patrick Henry College provide an excellent forum for academic enrichment and positive social interactions for your high-school age children.

The following is a personal testimony from one of last year’s campers. His testimonial is followed by an interview that I conducted with Mike Farris, president of PHC, about the transcendent value of the camps.

Intensity. Energy. Integrity. Creativity. Godliness. Inspiration. These are the things that characterized my experience at the Patrick Henry College summer camps last year. Every waking moment I was either learning, creating, or being encouraged by a fellow brother or sister in Christ. The material learned in (and out) of class was first-class, but the memory that stands out is the enthusiastic and godly atmosphere. The socialization and Christian fellowship was great! (Whoever said home schoolers can't socialize?)

The camp experience, in many ways, was like a small preview of what college life is like. It was, in my opinion, an accurate representation of life here at Patrick Henry. The dorm fellowship, the massive amounts of homework, and the classroom setting were more familiar to me this year because the summer camps had given me a taste of what it was like. The camp counselors, being students themselves, facilitated an awesome environment and shared their life-experiences with campers. The knowledge that can be gained and the fellowship that will be enjoyed by the campers and counselors at this year's camps will be jewels worth salvaging for students-to-be or any youth seeking to be more like Christ and to take every thought captive for Him (2 Corinthians 5:10).

I would encourage you to think about attending PHC's Teen Leadership camps this summer. For more information please go to:

Brooks Lampe is a freshman in the Creative and Professional Writing track of the Classical Liberal Arts major. Brooks played the role of Jacques in PHC's production of Shakespeare's "As You Like it" this spring. God has called Brooks to the cultural battlefield, and he desires to write creatively for the "transforming and renewing of our minds."

I recently had an opportunity to interview Mike Farris, president of Patrick Henry College (PHC) and executive producer of the HomeSchool Channel, about the upcoming 2002 Teen Leadership Camps sponsored by PHC. These are weeklong camps designed for teens (ages 14-18) who are exploring how they can become leaders who will make a difference in our nation and culture. More than 400 students came to four different weeks of camp during the summer of 2001. The 2002 camps will cover topics ranging from Constitutional Law and American history to journalism and debate.

Question: Mike, what inspired you and Patrick Henry College to institute the Teen Leadership Camps?

Mike: We have several goals for the Teen Leadership Camps at PHC. But they all boil down to the same goals we have for the college - we want to inspire and train young people to lead our nation and shape our culture.

The teen camps, by nature, are a shorter version of our programs at PHC, but they are designed to give teens an opportunity to see how they can impact the future of the country in a particular field. The camps are a good stand-alone educational opportunity, but they can be much more. Lives are changed when vision is communicated effectively.

Question: What do you hope to accomplish through the Leadership Camps?

Mike: We hope to communicate not only our vision, but also the importance of getting things accomplished. People who have vision without effective action often end up being nothing more than big talkers. The blend of vision and the need to work hard to get things done to advance the Christian worldview is the real goal of our teen camps.

We also want to give students who are thinking about PHC for their future an opportunity to be on the campus and to interact with some of our students (who are the camp counselors) and our professors (who teach many of the sessions). There is no better way to "test drive" a college than to spend some time there.

Question: What other benefits do you think our home-schooled students will derive from the PHC Leadership Camps?

Mike: One of the benefits of these camps may well be in the relationships that are formed. Sometimes in our communities there are not many young people who really share the vision to change America. The opportunity to network with other truly like-minded teens can be a source of long-range encouragement to stay on the course to help return America back to its founding principles.

Question: Can your staff provide a form, documenting the material that is covered, so that students can receive high school credit for attending the camps?

Mike: PHC would be happy to provide a completion certificate for home-schooled high school students to show that they have completed a course. We would think that each week would be the equivalent of a one credit, one semester course.

After my interview with Mike, I decided that I want my daughter to attend at least one of the Teen Leadership Camps this summer. It will provide her with an opportunity to visit the PHC campus, do some sight-seeing in Washington, D.C., make some life-long friends, and earn a history credit to boot! Last, but certainly not least, the Christian worldview that my husband and I have labored to produce in her will be re-enforced, strengthened, and broadened.

If you have a high-school son or daughter, prayerfully consider sending him/her to one of these camps. It promises to be a life-changing endeavor.

And remember to pray for Mike, for the PHC faculty and staff, and for the students - that the Lord would bless them and expand the PHC ministry exponentially.

Mike Farris is president of Patrick Henry College, as well as chairman of Home School Legal Defense Association and the executive producer of the HomeSchool Channel for Zan Tyler is the senior education editor for and the co-author of the book Anyone Can Homeschool.