Learn About Our Teen Leaders Program!

For our Leadership Academy team, one of the true joys of returning to camp each year to beautiful landscapes, majestic trails, and summer fun is knowing we’ll share the wonder of the outdoors with our beloved campers. Some start out shy and unsure but then become outgoing and carefree by the end of camp. Others come in missing their video games and laptops but soon can’t be bothered to go back inside to sit at a screen. Many of them come to camp each year with a smile on their face, and then the next year, that familiar smile becomes a little bigger, they become a little taller, a little stronger, and more sure of themselves. 


Seeing campers grow up and return to camp year after year has been a cherished display of the impact ten years of Leadership Academy has had on our community. At a time when the average teen spends more than seven hours a day on their phone, we know that seeing them form connections and new activities is important to their development and to their parents. The opportunities we have created for outdoorsy, fun-loving teens helps them tap into leadership and team-building skills. We are happy to be a haven where they can connect in nature. Whether our teen campers are seasoned Leadership Academy campers or are just trying something new, we know that teens deserve a way to test out their capabilities and independence. Our Teen Leaders program is that special outlet for teens to tap into leadership development that they will draw upon as they carve out who they will be in the future. 

Why Teen Leaders? 

We know that you want your teens to be healthy, strong, and capable young adults. We also know that spending time outdoors emboldens the best parts of ourselves. That is why we have developed a range of opportunities in outdoor recreation and community leadership just for teens! These roles will inspire teens to create positive change in their community and environment and inspire them to take on roles and skills that they may not have previously sought out. Leadership programs teach teenagers that they are able to contribute to the world around them. Teens today deserve a chance to become independent, free-thinking young adults in enriching environments removed from screens and social media. 


Sometimes the stress and confusion of adolescence make teens lose sight of the simple activities that they love. We want teen campers to keep the inspiring momentum that they had the first time they felt the breeze through their hair or splashed in the water, and we don’t believe one has to compromise when choosing between learning and fun. That is why we have created 9 unique programs for ages 13-17+ that tap into a variety of interests with sessions available every week of the summer. If your teen is into being outdoors, they are sure to find a program that aligns with their vision of a fun-filled summer! 

Teen Leader Pathways

We offer two Teen Leader Pathways, one mostly on land, and one in the water! Teen Leaders at Camp Twigs is focused on teens aged 13-17, providing plenty of fun, friends and learning at Camp Twigs! This teen leader opportunity offers a classic camp experience with plenty of time for skill development. Participants revel in outdoor games, make friends, complete service projects, and lead younger campers in activities. 


Teen Leaders at Nashville Sail Camp is the perfect opportunity for those who live for days spent on the water. Over the years Nashville Sail Camp has been proud to grow our summer camp staff from within, hiring veteran campers to aid and instruct at the camp they know and love. The values of learning, service, and skill of Teen Leaders continue here with added structure so that participants are ready and confident to advance to staff positions. Our team at Nashville Sail Camp is happy to support the development of 21st century skills, leadership, sailing ability, and instruction. Nothing makes us prouder than seeing campers back on deck year after year, and eventually work towards certification with US Sailing! 


Available in both pathways is Leaders In Training (LIT) for our younger teens, 13-15, designed to equip those who wish to be leaders with the tools, ideas, and skills to impact the world around them. This program is developed as a multi-year experience in which teens can grow as a leader, teammate, and friend. For older teens, ages 15+ we have Counselor-In-Training (CIT) positions! This unpaid internship starts with pre-camp training, and then campers choose the weeks they will be at camp as an intern for hands-on learning and mentoring. Our CITS spend their day bonding with campers, leading games, and being a support helper to camp counselors. At the end of this advanced leadership program, your teen will have gotten to know the leader within them and will forge forward with confidence and the knowledge that they can make a difference. 


Teen Adventure Week

On July 5-7, we are hosting a Teen Overnight Adventure for ages 13-17. We welcome you to join us at Bells Bend Park for three days of fun that includes mastering outdoor skills and leadership development. There will be tons of fun activities, such as paddle boarding, fishing, indoor rock climbing, snorkeling, and archery. Discounted registration is available for teen volunteers. Be sure to secure your teens spot by signing up today! 


Visit our website or email us at [email protected] for more information!