For Families

Summer is wide open! And Vermont summer programs have something for every family. 

Our children and teenagers have overall done an exceptional job throughout the pandemic by following guidelines set by caring adults in their homes and communities.  They have experienced chronic uncertainty and constant change, which has increased their flexibility and sometimes their hesitancy to venture out.

We are excited to move into the next phase of the pandemic when it will again be safe to offer our children and teens an exciting mix of enriching activities–from arts, engineering and gardening to team projects, active games and outdoor exploring. Now more than ever, summer programs have an extraordinary opportunity to help kids make new memories and emerge from this crisis strong, resilient and hopeful.

Summer programs across Vermont offer:

  • Caring, trained staff
  • Fun, enriching activities for kids of all ages
  • Opportunities for kids to reconnect and make new friends
  • Time for exploring the great outdoors, free play and creative games

Programs follow COVID-19 safety guidance, as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Vermont Department of Health.

Summer program map:

Click on the map to check out the summer programs near you. Looking for an overnight camp in Vermont? This is a good place to start.

And if you don’t find what you need, tell us so we can help fill the gap!

How to talk to your children and plan:

Kids need a safe, supported summer filled with fun, enriching activities this year more than ever before. After months of virtual school and social isolation, this summer has the power to be a game changer for kids of all ages. Here are some tips for helping youth with the transition to in-person summer programs.

What could a parent/caregiver expect when bringing up these ideas and attending these activities?

  • Kids may have wisely learned to cope with this situation by not planning ahead, looking forward to plans, or venturing out into social groups.  So they may only want to think about the near future.
  • Kids may be ambivalent or genuinely unsure what they want to do.
  • Kids may find staying home and in the comfort zone of their current recreational options more enticing than navigating social groups and community activities.
  • Kids may be grumpy or irritated when parents/caregivers are persistent with planning.

What should parents/caregivers do when facing these responses?

  • Let your child/teen know that all of these feelings, thoughts, and actions are wise and creative responses to the stress and adversity of this past year.  Ex. “It makes total sense to me that you feel this way.  You have gotten used to ‘not doing’ and now I am pushing you to do the opposite.”
  • It is helpful to set a clear expectation for healthy activity and then offer choice within that expectation.  Ex.  “I would like you to choose one of these options.  Which one are you most interested in?”
  • Keep reminding yourself that this is “positive stress” and as parents we should not respond to positive stress by taking it away.  Rather we teach coping skills to face the stress, so our children learn resilience and feel as though we believe they are capable.

How can we get ready for the camp/activity if my child remains reluctant?

  • Go and visit the actual site ahead of time. 
  • Make a list of questions/concerns with your child and call to get more information.
  • Start going out more in the community for short outings in safe ways to get used to being places with groups of people.
  • Over prepare- make a list of what to bring and be organized ahead of time. 
  • Allow for a shorter or more gradual start (i.e., go for a shorter time day one and work up- even if it’s only a week).
  • Be clear about the goal and priority. This is as much about getting used to social experiences again as it is the actual experience.
  • Stay calm. If the adults get rushed, urgent, and rigid, that will make the child’s resistance worse. 
  • Offer incentives and reinforcement for going and trying things out. When we are stressed, we need more external motivation.
  • Call and talk to program staff to express your worries and make a plan. Ask for reassurance around safety measures (photos & videos from the program can be very helpful).

It is okay to sign your child or teen up for a program even if you aren’t sure they will go. If you believe your child or teen will need extra support, talk with the program staff about what your child might need and what options are available. You can also ask about the program’s cancellation policy to see if there is flexibility, including if your child needs to ease into the first few days. Allow for a gradual transition back into social activities and community-based engagement and ask for help when you need it.