Fun before I'm old
January 2, 2013 6:04 PM   Subscribe

What are some interesting long-term programs (in the US) I could do over a semester or summer? Free or stipend-ed preferred.

I'm graduating next January with a degree in Jewish Studies, and I want to take some time off before I go to grad school.

I'm thinking things like summer camp or educational programs. I don't want touring or work-type programs like AmeriCorps. I'm going to apply for jobs and internships too, but after having tried that in nyc a few months ago, I am not expecting anything on that front.

Some things I found include:

BCI @ American Jewish University : Kind of a Jewish summer camp for ages 18-26. It's only $250 and looks pretty interesting.

Hacker School in NYC : free 3-month programming workshop, gives scholarships to women participants...only downside is you have to actually know how to program, not just want to learn it....

Windells Adult Skateboard Camp : It looks fun but it also looks like literally 99.99999% testosterone-raging guys, and I am a small unassuming 22 year old girl. It also seems kinda short and it's about $2,000.

Anyway, are there any more programs like these? I would be open to any suggestions, but I'm especially interested in Jewish studies/stuff, educational programs especially sociology but anything really, any kind of creative stuff, LGBT/women's studies stuff, and if you can help me find any kind of skateboarding program/camp geared toward women (not girls) I'll give you 10 million extra points.

(And I don't think I could apply for a job at a summer camp, because I feel like you had to have actually gone to summer camp as a kid to get such a job???)

posted by lhude sing cuccu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The National Yiddish Book Center has a summer program (and a year-long fellowship, but the deadline's Friday). YIVO has a summer program, too. (Their 2013-2014 fellowship deadline was December 31.)

If your interest in Jewish studies skews towards Yiddish in some way, me-mail me and I can put you in touch with people who study Yiddish and know the full array of what's out there. The above is 'things I know about because I hang out with people who study Yiddish literature' rather than 'things I can tell you about'.
posted by hoyland at 6:21 PM on January 2, 2013

You definitely don't have to have been a camper to be a camp counselor! I was, but many coworkers hadn't stepped foot on a campground until training. I've worked at three camps for a total of five seasons and while I had my share of stressful events my years have provided me with great life experiences and funny stories! While I understand it's not everyone's idea of a good time I wouldn't rule it out. You might be on the older end of the age spectrum going by the places I've worked but don't let that throw you off. You (hopefully) won't be expected to go through grunt work positions (kitchen prep kid anyone?) To get to the fun stuff!
posted by missriss89 at 8:59 PM on January 2, 2013

If you don't want to do a full-on out-in-the-wilderness summer camp, consider being a counselor for CTY, TIP, or another similar academic "nerd camp." Being a TIP counselor was one of my first real jobs; not much prior work experience needed, let alone camp experience. Many former campers at least apply to be counselors, but the jury's still out on whether being a former camper is an advantage or a disadvantage. (Some argue that former campers have trouble distancing themselves from their own camp experience and tend to be laxer on discipline and such.) Your campers will be all kinds of strange and wonderful. If you have academic skills in an area related to the classes at any of these programs, you can also apply as a TA.

On a completely different note, I've also heard good things about this Jewish farming fellowship.
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:54 PM on January 2, 2013

Would you be into Outward Bound programs or Outdoor Leadership School (OLS)? I did an Outward Bound program, 3 weeks, after graduating from high school and it was really inspiring. They are a non-profit company, but costs for the 3 week program, including airfare and personal clothing gear, run around $3,000 probably. (But that includes all of your expenses for those 3 weeks if you aren't paying for rent someplace!)
posted by shortyJBot at 4:13 AM on January 3, 2013

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