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What'll your teens do when school's out? Hang out at the mall, watch TV? How about getting them into a program that suits their needs and interests? This year, offer them . . . : . . . The Summer Challenge


It is about this time of year that parents start to picture their teenagers out of school, on endless summer vacation. If the image includes three months of beaches, malls and body piercing parlors, don't panic. Help is at hand:

Here are 40 summer programs designed to keep young people challenged--from cleaning up National Parks to programming computers and learning to ace the SATs. Additional information, including programs outside California and overseas, is available in "Peterson's Guide to Summer Opportunities for Kids and Teenagers" (Web site:

With so many options available, choosing the right program requires some homework. "The glossiest brochure doesn't mean the best program," says David Coombs, director of Harvard-Westlake's Summer Program. "The best evaluation of a program is talking to a kid who's recently experienced the program. The good ones will give you a list of names of students from your school area. If they refuse, that's suspect."

Costs are subject to change and financial aid is available for many of these programs.


* Exploration of Architecture, University of Southern California, School of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0291; (213) 740-2420. One- to three-week residential program in July for ages 14 to 19. Boarding program: $800 to $2,100.


* American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program, 2550 Paloma Street, Pasadena, CA 91107; (818) 798-0777. July 7 to Aug. 15 for thespians 14 and up. Admission by audition for courses in acting, stage movement and vocal production. $800.

* International Young Artists Peninsula Music Festival, Norris Theater for the Performing Arts, 6931 Vallon Drive, Palos Verdes, CA 90275; (310) 377-8891. Young musicians perform in public, June 14 and 15. $30 audition fee.

* Crossroads School Arts Conservancy, 1714 21st St., Santa Monica, CA 90404; (310) 829-7391. Visual and performing arts for 10- to 18-year-olds, including trips. $270-$1,000.

* Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036; (213) 857-6000. Teens and adults. Five studio and art history classes. $86.

* Otis Summer of Art High School Program, Otis College of Art and Design, 2401 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057; (800) 527-6847. Program in fine arts and design for ages 15 to 19. Twenty-day program: $675.

* Saturday High, Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91103; (818) 396-2200. Ten weekly design, drawing, film, graphic arts, painting and photography classes. For artists ages 14 to 18. $150.

* Stanford Jazz Workshop, Stanford University, Box 11291, Stanford, CA 94309; (415) 386-8535. One-week workshops in July and August for musicians 12 and up. Boarding program: $695.

* Young Artists Vocal Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Cheadle Hall 1317, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2010 (805) 893-2377. College preparatory program for high school vocalists 15 to 18. Boarding: $2,205.


* The Intensive Internship Program, Constitutional Rights Foundation; (213) 487-5590. Stipend program for inner-city high school students. Assignments include business, law and government offices.

* Fire Explorers; (213) 485-6272. Weekend and evening meetings for 14- to 20-year-olds interested in fire service and community outreach. Apply by contacting Los Angeles city and county fire stations. Free volunteer opportunity.

* Landmark Volunteers, Box 455, Sheffield, MA 01257; (413) 229-0255. During two-week sessions, teams of students provide service to Santa Cruz Island, Music from Bear Valley and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Boarding program: $575.

* Natural History Museum Family Education Division; (213) 744-3534. Teens can lead tours and work with younger children at the Natural History Museum, George C. Page Museum and Petersen Automotive Museum. Free volunteer opportunity.

* Police Explorers; (213) 485-3133. 14- to 20-year-olds attend weekend classes at the L.A. Police Academy in Elysian Park and go on to do community service and crime prevention. Contact the Youth Service officer at any LAPD station. Free volunteer activity.

* Summer Youth Employment Program; (213) 485-4675. Federally funded program offering paid summer work experience in nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Requirements: 14- to 21-year-old residents of the City of Los Angeles from low-income families.

* Volunteer Bureau of the City of Los Angeles; (888) CARE4LA. Places high school students in non-paid internships doing clerical work, data entry, basic research, recreation and park counseloring and museum work.

* Academic Study Associates at Stanford University; (800) 752-2250. June 25 to July 26 for students completing grades nine and 10. Students select courses in humanities and the arts, social sciences and natural sciences. Boarding: $4,095. Day program: $1,500.


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