Early Adolescence - Ages 11 to 13

Developmental Milestones

  • Increase vocabulary to 40,000 words (nearly double from ages 8-9)
  • Choose friends based on common interests, rather than parent selection
  • Begin the process of sexual maturation, both physically and emotionally
  • Become more interested in community goals — service to others

What's on Their Minds

Teens at Camp, Camp and Teens

Camp Programs that Dare to be Different!

When TIME magazine ran its cover feature on "Being 13 in America" in the summer of 2005, they wrote about the complex pressures and surprisingly advanced behaviors showing up in many thirteen-year-olds as new phenomena. The good news is that camps serving teenagers have been adapting to these changes and offering increasingly sophisticated program choices to address the challenges teens experience growing up in the shifting world of American culture.

Parents Play a Pivotal Role in Keeping Teens Safe During the Summer Driving Season

William Shakespeare wrote, "Summer's lease hath all too short a date," apparently foreshadowing the all-too-soon approach of fall. But a short summer season is time enough still for even the most unlikely of kids to find trouble in the most likely of places: cars and roadways. 

The Elephant in the Room: Communicating With Kids About the Economy

Not surprisingly, parents may be reluctant to discuss difficult economic times with their children.  Viewed as the province of adult anxiety, the burdens imposed by tumbling stock prices, falling home values, and rising unemployment are a powerful force, with 8 out of every 10 Americans blaming the U.S. economic crisis for much of the stress in their lives, according to a recent poll by the American Psychological Association.

Healthy Teens

ACA is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles for youth.  In conjunction with its "Partnering With Parents" initiative, the American Camp Association is pleased to present a series of online Healthy Teens columns.  Written for parents of teens by Stephen Wallace, Chairman and CEO of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the nation's preeminent youth peer-to-peer education and prevention organization, these regular columns address issues of critical concern to youth and families, providing research-based insights into the attitudes and behaviors of today's teens and practical adv

A Partnership of Caring - Parents and Camps Join Together

Child Protection is a Shared Responsibility

Nothing substitutes for the vigilance and care of parents in determining a safe situation for their children. While no institution--schools, churches, youth programs, camps, or families--can absolutely guarantee a child’s safety, parents should take an active role in determining that camps are fully committed to providing a summer of fun and growth in well supervised and nurturing camp environments.