23 Pittsburgh summer camps that are great for teenagers

Photo above courtesy of Sarah Heinz House.

Though many teens look for summer jobs, parents may also be in search of a camp where their teenagers can learn some new things or just spend the summer making new friends. We’ve combed through our 2024 Big Summer Camp Guide to collect these 23 teen-friendly options:

Pittsburgh Musical Theater Conservatory: Summer Musical Theater Camp at the PMT Conservatory shines the spotlight on kids up to age 18. The four-week camps train kids in acting, voice and dance, but also help kids build confidence, make new friendships and learn collaboration. Teens can choose from a performance, dance or technical theater/design track. Campers rehearse for a full-scale performance as a grand finale. This summer’s shows will soon be announced and registration opens soon. Financial aid and payment plans are available.

“Newsies, Jr.” photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Musical Theater

Readiness Institute Summer Program: This six-week paid experience for rising high school seniors helps them become community and future-ready. The program runs from June 24 to Aug. 1, with applications accepted now through March 31. A maximum of 45 campers will be accepted and each will receive a stipend of $2,000, use of a laptop while enrolled. The program is open to rising high school seniors with preference given to those attending high school in Allegheny County.

WQED Film AcademyWQED Film Academy is a youth education program in digital media arts and filmmaking. The Academy is open to all high schoolers, from rising ninth-graders up through recent high school grads. Teaching artists and professional mentors will offer a curriculum covering all aspects of digital media production, including storytelling, camera, audio, lighting and editing. Summer session dates and details should be announced soon.

Photo courtesy of WQED Film Academy.

Glade Run Lutheran Services: Looking for summer camps around Pittsburgh that focus on social-emotional skills? Glade Run’s Specialized Adventures Camp is a social skills development course specifically designed for kids with moderate to high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. But any kids up to age 18 who need help with social skill development will be considered. Activities include horseback riding, trail and stream exploration, and gardening. View the brochure for details. A limited number of partial scholarships are available through the Glade Run Foundation.

Sweetwater Center for the Arts: Students up to age 16 can find their muse through a wide variety of mediums at Sweetwater Center for the Arts‘ summer camp. From ceramics and watercolor to animation and graffiti, teens will find ways to express their creativity. Past years included cooking classes, STEM circuitry and acting, too. Check out the complete schedule and register here. Scholarships are available.

Courtesy of Sweetwater Center for the Arts

The Hillman AcademyThe Hillman Academy provides authentic research experiences and mentorship to high school students ages 15 and older. Participants work in labs on a cancer research project alongside a Pitt faculty member, graduate student or post-doc. The seven-week program tentatively runs June 17 to Aug. 2 with a final application deadline of Feb. 11. The program offers 34-plus stipends to students from underrepresented groups.

Pittsburgh Glass CenterSummer intensives and teen boot camp sessions are planned this summer for grades 6–12 at Pittsburgh Glass Center. The SiO2 Teen Boot Camp, happening July 15-19, introduces the science and art of glass, offering hands-on experience with glassmaking. Sessions include glassblowing, flameworking, kilnforming and coldworking. Scholarships are available.

Glass Center
Pittsburgh Glass Center classes fire up imagination. (Photo courtesy of Nathan J. Shaulis)

ICE-T Project: In this initiative of The Citizen Science Lab, Black youth will explore the computational and experimental techniques required to examine the physiology, biochemistry, and voltage potential of microbial fuel cells (MFC), a living battery powered by bacteria. After learning basic concepts, students will build and create a device powered by these living batteries. The program is open to all Black high schoolers. We weren’t able to confirm details for summer programming as of Feb. 1, but they should be coming soon to their website.

Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code summer programs teach high school girls and non-binary students the computer science skills they need to drive community impact and prepare for a tech career. Participants will get exposure to tech jobs, meet women in tech careers and join a supportive sisterhood of girls in tech. The program is available as a two-week intensive immersion or a six-week self-paced program and offers a $300 needs-based stipend for eligible students. Apply here.

University of Pittsburgh Gene Team: Science-minded teens from Pittsburgh Public Schools and other urban high schools who have an interest in biology are invited to apply for the five-week Gene Team program. Pitt Biology Outreach will provide state-of-the-art laboratory training to collect data for a current research project. Bus passes will be supplied and participants will receive a stipend at the end of the program. Sessions will include a focus on strategies and skills that will help with college applications. To be eligible, kids must have completed one year of high school biology. Gene Team runs from June 24 to July 19. Applications will be available in March and accepted through April. Students will be selected for the program and notified in May.

Sarah Heinz HouseRegistration is now open for day camp (for kids through grade 10) at Sarah Heinz House and Heinz House Resident Camp (for kids through grade 12) on the Slippery Rock Creek in Ellwood City. Kids can have a great summer at the House or go away to a camp experience designed to entertain and educate them about the importance of teamwork, effective communication and also valuable wilderness skills. Day camp at Sarah Heinz House begins June 17. The 11-day overnight camps begin June 16 for boys and July 14 for girls. Pre-care and post-care will be available for day campers. Limited financial assistance is available.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Heinz House.

U.S. Golf Camps at Kiski School: The folks at US Golf Camps offer the Ultimate Junior Golf Camp Experience for boys and girls 9-18 years old, kicking off on June 16. The overnight camp at the Kiski School in Saltsburg includes a private golf course and practice range exclusively for campers. Three programs are designed for different skill levels: a fundamental program for relative beginners, an advanced program for high school golfers and an elite program for players who want to play competitive college golf. Get details here.

Steel City Rowing Club: The Steel City Rowing Club offers camps for kids ages 8-18. At River Camp, kids ages 8-12 explore the Allegheny River in kayaks and canoes in Verona, while enjoying swimming and paddle boarding or just relaxing on the docks. An excursion to Sycamore Island to explore the environment on and around the island is part of the adventure. Rise & Row Camp is offered (in July only) for youth ages 12-15, while Youth Summer Rowing is offered for ages 11-18. Registration is open for the five-day camps running from June 10 through Aug. 2.

Courtesy of Steel City Rowing

Air Force Association CyberCamp: The annual Air Force Association CyberCamp is presented via a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security and Pitt Information Technology. This year, the free, weeklong camp is scheduled from June 24-28. High school kids will be immersed in a range of technical skills and digital literacy with a focus on cyber ethics and systems security. Sign up to be notified about registration tentatively opening in May.

August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s Hip-Hop Camp: Dance: The AWAACC is bringing back their Dance Camp for the third year. Led by educator Christian “JITA” Brown, this camp teaches the fundamentals of dance and highlights what makes hip-hop dance an influential style. JITA will take students ages 10 to 16 on a journey through popping, locking, and break dancing, while encouraging them to use their individual style and personality. Kids can attend some or all sessions (though attending all is recommended and rates are discounted) on June 8, June 29 and July 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Students will perform at the Center’s July Community Day on July 20. Class size will be limited to ensure all students receive proper instructions to achieve their goals. Get all the details and register here.

Shady Side AcademySummer camps at Shady Side Academy, designed with working parents in mind, include before-care and free lunch. High schoolers will find a range of weekly camps on four campuses in Fox Chapel and Point Breeze. They can even take for-credit classes in art, math and science, as well as courses in essay writing and SAT/ACT prep. Click here for the complete lineup and registration.

Venture Outdoors: Registration is open for Venture Outdoors’ summer camps for kids up through 12th grade. All camps will be hosted this year at North Park between June 17 and Aug. 16. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy active recreation like kayaking, fishing, biking and geocaching. Science experiments, crafts and leadership development will help kids gain self-confidence and a greater appreciation for nature. Check out the lineup and register here. Limited scholarships are available.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors.

Ascend Pittsburgh: Ascend Pittsburgh’s summer camps are designed to grow strong minds and bodies. Caring, experienced counselors guide kids through fun and developmentally appropriate activities, including bouldering, top-rope climbing, yoga and slacklining. Kids develop strength, dexterity and balance while they’re having fun and making friends. These classes are designed to be accessible for all levels for students up to age 16. Registration will open (probably later in February) for camps at the Point Breeze and South Side locations. Financial assistance is available.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Camps for Creatives are perfect for arts-focused or arts-curious kids. These popular sessions return in June with camps for everyone up through high school seniors. The five-day camps concentrate on developing creative skills in topics like theater production, sewing and design, storytelling and science. Registration is now open.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust,

Gemini Children’s Theater: Five-day Summer Acting Workshops at Gemini Children’s Theater channel energy and talent toward the theater arts. Campers up to age 17 will write, rehearse and perform a play that they help develop from their imagination, learning scene building, collaborating and character development. Early bird discounts, scholarships, tuition assistance and payment plans are available. Learn more here.

Cello Fury Rock Camp: The Cello Fury Rock Camp gives young musicians a chance to play in a high-energy string rock orchestra. Registration is open for violin, viola, cello and bass players up to age 17. Five-day sessions for various age groups run from June 24 through Aug. 9 at two locations: PYCO School of Music in Wexford and The Ellis School in Shadyside. Camps include masterclasses, sectionals, the musical theory game “Furyoploy,” workshops and rock orchestra. The sessions conclude with a concert for campers’ families. Get more information here.

Image courtesy of Cello Fury.

Luminari’s Camp Delicious: Aspiring teen chefs will find culinary confidence at the five-day Camp Delicious. Teens will participate in tastings and learn about food sourcing and preparation under the guidance of some of Pittsburgh’s most prominent chefs and nutritionists. By the end of camp, kids should have the ability to create scrumptious meals at home. Camp runs from July 8-12. Register here.

67. Point Park University Summer Camps and Intensives

Is your teenager ready to spend summer in the city? Point Park University’s 2024 Summer Camps and Intensives include courses in the arts and sciences, athletics, business, cinema arts, communications, performing arts and more. Click here for more information and to register today.

Summer camp photo courtesy of Point Park University.