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Getting your teen ready to leave the nest is a road with many twists and turns. No sooner do you get past orthodontia, learner permits, and Snapchat selfies, then college destinations, SAT scores, and “what am I going to do with my life?” come flying around the corner.
Whether your teenager is ready to spread their wings and fly, or still finding their sense of direction, one thing is true: connecting the dots between what they like to do now and what they can do as a career is a challenge.
The Benjamin Franklin Experience
Benjamin Franklin Experience (BFE) is a summer program that gives teenagers, ages 14-18, an introduction to 10 different career fields in science, technology, arts, engineering, journalism, medicine, music, law, and more. Each day the class is led by a different expert.[clickToTweet tweet=”The Benjamin Franklin Experience allows teens to experience 10 different career fields.” quote=”The Benjamin Franklin Experience allows teens to experience 10 different career fields.” theme=”style3″]
For example, in one class, students work with an environmental biologist in two local streams—one pristine, and the other near a construction site. Teens will be taught how to analyze and compare the health of each stream by examining macro invertebrates under a microscope. In the next class, teens work with a composer who writes music for the NFL. They’ll spend the day creating a two-minute musical piece, composing it, playing the instruments, recording it, and mastering it.
Discovering Interests, and Creating an Impressive College Application
These meaningful career experiences are intended to help teens envision a path to a fulfilling life, and help them explore and define their interests.
Most colleges recommend experiential learning opportunities for teenage students before they enter college. And, most college applications ask for a list all schools and programs attended since ninth grade. They require a long a description of what was learned during those programs.
BFE instructors guide teens through a focused reflection exercise at the end of each day. These written entries are edited by professional writers, and compiled into a portfolio for students to keep.
These portfolios—in addition to becoming wonderful mementos—become an invaluable resource for college applications.
Reinforcing Positive Messages
BFE also provides a way to combat the pressures and messages teens get from peers, TV, and social media. Too often, kids get a sense of what they should be, or they are drawn by the glamour of what they see on social media.
In addition to meeting expert instructors in each BFE class, students are introduced to visiting-mentors. Visiting-Mentors attend select classes alongside students. They are high-performing professionals from a variety of fields, interested in sharing their career stories with students and participating in class experiences. Students may be paired with visiting-mentors based on interests expressed in their program application, which could include former Olympians, CEO’s, venture capitalists, restaurant owners, architects, and more.
When an impressive person has come to spend the day with you, to introduce you to a new world, and tell you that you too can pursue a career, it can have a very powerful affect.
The classes also provide students a look at the day-to-day realties of a profession. While being a professional musician can appear glamourous, the amount of work and dedication required to make a living is tremendous. While moms and dads can try to explain those realities to teens, the class makes it easy for students to connect the dots, and gain real understanding from the experience.
Summer Schedule and How to Apply
The camp is scheduled for four courses over the summer, and each course is two-weeks in length.
Course 1: Monday, June 5 — Friday, June 16
Course 2: Monday, June 19 — Friday, June 30
Course 3: Monday, July 10 — Friday, July 21
Course 4: Monday, July 24 — Friday, August 4
The cost of tuition is $2,370 per course, which covers all instruction, equipment, transportation to-and-from class headquarters and field trips, lunch, a certificate of learning, and all other necessary costs. Scholarships are available.
There are approximately 100 slots, and the application process is competitive, requiring both a nomination from a teacher, pastor, coach, counselor, or close adult—and an application from students.
The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.
BFE is looking for kids with grit and enthusiasm—those who are ready to take a bite out of life. Benjamin Franklin had many careers over the course of his life. Teens today are more likely to move in and out of a variety of careers before they retire. BFE is a place to help them get started, find the profession that will bring happiness into their lives, and set them up for future success.
Learn more or apply online at www.FranklinExperience.org.
Have you ever heard of a program like this before?