Activity Planning for Teenage Campers (13-16)

It can be difficult activity planning for older campers, but with the proper prep you can have activities that will get teens excited about taking on leadership roles and participating in camp activities. One of the hardest challenges you face when activity planning for teens is making sure that they stay motivated to participate. Choosing age appropriate and challenging activities can help you overcome the teenage motivation barrier.


  • Challenge their motor skills. You can’t expect teenagers to be satisfied with simple games that would be suitable for junior or even intermediate campers. Older campers can excel in activities which require them to learn and hone a real skill which they may have not been able to grasp or master at a younger age before developing a finer point on their motor skills.
  • Challenge by choice. You want to choose activities that have a purpose, the underlying goal should always be enjoyment but it’s important that there is also a level of challenge, fulfillment, and personal growth to the activities that you plan for your older campers. Never try to force these lessons onto your campers, they need to be able to choose the level of learning they take away from each activity and grow according to their own goals and needs.
  • Developing leadership skills and mentoring. Give them plenty of opportunity to work with peers and younger campers. One of the best tools to develop campers into young leaders is showing them how their own leadership behavior is taken in by those who may look up to them.
  • More extensive rules and safety precautions. Because older campers may be participating in more challenging or even risky activities, it’s important to go in depth into all the rules and safety guidelines involved. They are also at an age where they can now fully understand the consequences if rules aren’t followed or precautions aren’t taken. They may also need to teach these rules themselves one day so you need to make sure that they fully understand why the rules exist.
  • Some independence. Teenagers want to feel like young adults, not like junior campers. Take a step back from the activities and give them the freedom and independence to figure things out on their own. They’ll get more out of the experience if there is subtle guidance, rather than a strict set of rules and lessons they need to be taking away from every activity.
  • Socialization and down time. Every teenager wants a little time to themselves in the day, make sure you’re giving them the opportunity to relax and unwind, as well as socialize with their peers. Camp is also for making those amazing friendship connections that can last a lifetime.
  • Self-evaluation and reflection. It’s a good idea after giving your older campers a challenging or leadership development activity to give them a few moments to reflect. Have them go over what went right and what could use improvement. Don’t dwell too much on the negative but rather have them share what they learned from the experience.


Examples of appropriate activities for this age group might include:

  • Team building exercises that test skill and/ patience in a group environment.
  • Independent self-reflective exercises where they are given the opportunity to evaluate their own performance.
  • Skill development- working towards developing the finer skills involved in a sport, art, or activity so that one day they can work towards sharing their skills with others. Activities like sports, arts, and environmental studies.
  • Activities purely for the purpose of socialization. Giving them the opportunity to get to know and interact with their peers on their own terms in an open and unstructured activity format (pool parties, campfires, crafting, team based sports).

Activity planning for younger groups (programming and games). 

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Manitoba Pioneer Camp

Manitoba Pioneer Camp

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