SAIT offers summer camp that teaches teens how to grow up

SAIT in Calgary has a new kind of summer camp that teaches young people life skills to help them transition into adulthood.

Adulting camp includes financial literacy, job finding skills and first aid

Rozlynn Wick is the strategic youth initiatives coordinator at SAIT in Calgary, which is the home for a new two-week-long summer camp devoted to teaching teenagers life skills they need as adults (Ellis Choe/CBC)

There's a new kind of summer camp coming to Calgary that sounds like it might be a dream come true for parents.

That's probably because adulting camp came about as a result of asking parents what sort of camp they thought their kids needed, said Rozlynn Wick, SAIT's Strategic Youth Initiatives Coordinator, in a Wednesday interview with The Homestretch.

"We heard from parents that there was a bit of this gap that we were seeing," Wick said.

It turns out there was no app for growing up, so Wick and her colleagues did the next best thing: devised a two-week-long camp that combines fun with learning how to function as an adult.

"It's really for teens who are in Grade 9 all the way through Grade 12," Wick said, "so really, that high school population is what we're targeting with Adulting 101.

"We saw a need for helping the youth to develop their life skills — so things like, how do I start to look for a job and how do I research and learn about different post-secondary options? How am I going to pay for these options? Learning about some financial literacy: how am I going to start budgeting for things, what is the true cost of things like a hair appointment or going out to eat?

"And how," she added, "can we help prepare these young adults as they make that transition into adulthood?"

As for those who might ask how Adulting 101 differs from college classes that high schools offer, Wick said the camp version includes fun — and a few useful tools.

"It's not school, so I think we've got that going for us right from the beginning," she said, "and it is a camp and it's the summer and it is really meant to be to be fun."

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary is offering Adulting 101, which teaches life skills to young people. (David Bell/CBC)

Community volunteering

Included in the two-week-long camp will be a community volunteering component, Wick said.

"We also want to make sure that those kids get some certifications that they can use in life, so they're going to do first-aid and CPR, which we know is a valuable certification for them to have," she said.

The camp will also utilize some of its campus resources in order to share some life skills with participants.

"We're going to have some of our SAIT experts come and work with the youth — so folks from our student employment centre are going to come and speak with them about networking,  do some mock interviews and give them some feedback about what that's like."

Among the skills participants learn will be leadership and mentoring.

There will also be some frank discussion — about money.

"We're going to have some folks from one of the local banks come and talk to them as well about budgeting and chequing and savings accounts and how do I even open a bank account, with [the reality that] some of these kids might not even have a bank account yet."

Adulting 101 is just one of many camps offered by SAIT, and while Wick concedes that Adulting Camp might be more appealing to parents than to the children they enrol, there's something for just about every young person looking for a camp available at SAIT, although quite a few are full. (Adulting 101 is about half-full, she said).

"Hopefully they're not being pushed into the camp by their parents and they're making the choice for themselves," she said.

"That high school demographic is hard to get sometimes for a lot of competing priorities in the summer," she added. "A lot of them are working. They might be volunteering, or they've got summer school perhaps — so how might we make sure that there's value in what we're offering? They're getting some skills."

With files from The Homestretch


Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email:


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