Thanks to MilitaryOnesource for most of this information.
Finding the right balance between activity and leisure for teens may be one of the most difficult challenges parents face. When it comes to keeping kids busy with age-appropriate activities, military youth and teen programs offer something for every child, including:
- Organized activities
- Day camps
- Field trips
- Computer labs, music stations and workout rooms
These programs can help military families fill the activity gap during summer break, holidays, and before- and after-school hours. While programs vary by service branch and installation, each offers school-age children and teens safe activities. Wherever you live, you can find military youth programs that suit your family's needs.
Teenagers can be hard to please, but if you explore options on and around your installation you may find activities that interest them enough to pry them away from your refrigerator for at least an afternoon.
Find the Armed Services YMCA closest to you, a local YMCA. If there is a Boys & Girls Club Mission Youth Outreach program near you, many are designed specifically for military youth and teens. You can also get more information on the base nearest you at MyBaseGuide.com.
Active-duty service members, including activated National Guard and reserve members and Department of Defense civilians may all take advantage of an installation's youth center services. Be prepared for a new experience as each youth center varies. Encourage your child to give the new center a try. It may offer things that your old center did not, such as:
- Computer labs for games, homework, social media and more
- Day Camp focused on STEM or STEAM
- Special field trips to the movies, bowling or local attractions
- for activities that require tickets, check with VetTix to see what is avaialble in your area
- Gymnasiums for safety-supervised sports with other children their age
- Fitness rooms for working out and working off stress
- Music rooms for recording music
- Game rooms for playing pool or board games with friends
- Volunteer and employment listings of that perfect after-school job or volunteer position
Discover 4-H programs for military youth near you.
Your installation's youth center may not be conveniently located near your home. Perhaps your active-duty service member is in the National Guard or reserves and you do not live close to a military installation. In either case, you can still benefit from other military youth and teen programs in your area:
- 4-H Military Partnerships bring the resources of the Land Grant Universities including youth development professionals, research-based curricula, and high quality training and technical assistance, to the youth programs of the military. Military youth can join 4-H clubs in their community, and they can also participate in summer camps around the country. Visit the 4-H Military Partnership website to learn more.
- Mission Youth Outreach links the military services with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help meet the needs of active-duty, National Guard and reserve families who may not live near installation services. Military youth can participate in local Boys & Girls Club programs for free. Check out Mission Youth Outreach for more information.
Being in a military familiy can be challenging, but that doens't mean you can't have fun this summer. Help your children find activities that speak to them. Spend time together doing things the whole family will enjoy. Strengthen your military family this summer. It will last a lifetime.