An “Adulting: Are You Ready” summer camp hosted by the University of Florida will teach teens skills to prepare them for living alone in college and beyond.
Gayle Whitworth, an instructor with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension facility in Cocoa, said the camp was started four years ago to teach practical knowledge students aren’t learning in high school.
“We came up with the idea, partly from other states that we heard of who had similar programs, but, basically, we understand that the youth of today are leaving home without some of the skills that are really necessary to help them be successful, because it’s not in the schools anymore,” Whitworth said.
Students will learn how to make basic clothing repairs like sewing on buttons and automotive upkeep like checking oil.
A culinary unit will include teaching students knife skills and how to use basic cooking equipment. Students will learn basic nutrition using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations. They will be given a food budget and told to come up with meal ideas.
To teach additional budgeting skills, each student will be assigned a job at the beginning of the week, and will navigate adult budget hassles by drawing “life happens” cards. After drawing the card, a student will have to find a way to pay for unforeseen expenses like flat tires within the constraints of their hypothetical budget. They can pay it on credit, but will end up paying more in the long run.
The week will also include resume help and a mock interview process. During a trip to the mall, they will be given a budget and told to select a hypothetical outfit for a job interview.
Other lessons include depositing a check at a bank and navigating public transportation. Students also will learn communication and relationship skills to aid them with roommates or in the workplace.
“We typically have kids who are kind of assigned to come by their parents,” Whitworth said, laughing. “They end up having a good time, and really learning a lot.”
At the end of the week, students will leave with an “adulting tool kit” worth over $100 that contains cooking items, an emergency roadside kit and a sewing kit.
The camp costs $150 to attend. Whitworth said the class can accommodate a total of 15 students.
The camp is open to teens ages 15-18, and will take place daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 28-July 2 at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension facility in Cocoa.
Lunch is provided, and face coverings will be optional for all participants and instructors.
Bailey Gallion is the education reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at [email protected]