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Life Lessons: Summer camp: Passion to proficiency

More than 14 million children will say goodbye to their parents for day or sleep-over camp. So how can you be sure these time-away-from-home trips are great experiences for your sons and daughters?

Like a lot of kids, Hunter Ramo wasn’t always a big fan of summer camp.

“I realized I was bored sometimes and that would really suck because I could have been at home,” Ramo said.

Camp expert Karen Meister said all camps are not created equal when it comes to different children. 

“Are they outgoing, are they athletic, are they interested in the arts, are they shy, what is your child like?” Meister said.

If the match is a good one between children and camp, it’s a great time for them to enjoy their independence and pursue their talents.

“This is the time to give your children wings,” Meister said.

Once kids hit their teens, traditional camps may lose their appeal. That’s why Meister started P2P, or the Passion to Proficiency program.

“We like to explore a passion that they may develop," Meister said. "Then let's dig deeper, let's go into becoming proficient at it.”

She said these older kids can use internships and travel to create unforgettable memories.

“You may go overseas and be doing research or making the world a better place.” Meister said.

Ramo said he loved the ocean and spent as much time as possible at the beach. So Meister made sure his first summer experience was scuba diving to the British Virgin Islands.

“You go through all the eco lectures and learn about the coral reefs.” Ramo said.

That led to summer programs in Australia and Fiji, and a passion for marine life.

“Right now I’m studying biology and I really like it,” Ramo said.

A big improvement over Ramo’s first summer camp. 

Ramo had the results of some of his research published in a Maui scuba magazine. Now he is a freshman at the University of Southern California.

Meister said a summer experience can range from under $2,000 to up to $13,000 and run four to eight weeks. Her services are free to the families because the camps pay her a finder’s fee.

For more information, visit Meister's website campexpert.com.

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