In this episode, I share one of my most potent tactics in getting teenagers to articulate what they are most curious about.
It starts with a simple question:
"Describe your ultimate fantasy summer camp".
Once I have their answer, I can dig into the details and help them figure out how to connect this fantasy with reality. It works like a charm.
I walk through a case study with a student interested in an ESPN Sports Fantasy Camp.
[00:00:25] Hello friends, and welcome back to the PrepWell Podcast. In today's episode, I want to let you in on a tactic that I use with my private and online PrepWellers to help them think about what they may be interested in down the road when it comes to college majors, careers, industries and as a byproduct, it can also give them some ideas for summer activities to explore as we inch closer and closer to the end of school. The beauty of this tactic, if it works, is that it helps your child think about their future in a more fun and open and creative and not intimidating way. Because if you simply ask your child, as I'm sure many of you had, so what do you want to be when you get older? Or what do you want to major in? Or what type of career do you want to have? You're apt to get a lot of arms and arms, and I don't knows those. We want to try to avoid that deer in the headlights response. The question I like to use is the following. If you could go to any type of summer camp anywhere in the world where you could go all in total immersion for, say, 6 to 8 weeks, what kind of camp would it be? Put more directly. Describe your ultimate fantasy summer camp. This question typically elicits a more thoughtful response than just what do you want to do when you grow up? Because that's just too broad, it's too heavy and it's too loaded.
[00:01:55] If they're not sure what you mean by that or they need a little help, you can offer some suggestions, such as maybe it's a Steven Spielberg filmmaking camp or an EDM camp or a sports fantasy camp, A an archeology camp, A video editing camp. Let them think about it for a day or two if they want some time to brainstorm. Hopefully that question will get in their head and they'll have some fun thinking about all the possibilities. Yes, they can come up with more than one idea, but you don't really want them to go too crazy. I would say two is probably the max, because the point here is that we want to zero in on what they really care about, not give them unlimited options. Narrowing down the choices is part of the exercise, and by calling it a fantasy camp, they get to drop all constraints of time and money and access and even how realistic it would be because our goal is to get to the core of what your child is really curious about or what they would work really hard at doing or enjoy being totally immersed in, even if it's totally unrealistic. Now, does this tactic always work out? No, it doesn't. Teenagers will be teenagers. You'll get the occasional teenager who hits you with, Yeah, I want to go to a CBD camp and learn how to run a cannabis business. Or I want to go to a basketball fantasy camp and get coached by Michael Jordan. Or I want to go to an onlyfans online video marketing strategy camp, or I want to go to an online gaming camp where we play video games 20 hours a day. We would all agree that these are pretty unserious answers, so you might have to deal with a little bit of that.
[00:03:38] Usually students who do this, they're doing it as a defense mechanism because they're scared of taking the question more seriously because it taps into a lot of insecurity. Hopefully, if your child takes this exercise a bit more seriously, their answer will open up a discussion. That's really what we're looking for. We want to see where their head is and then maybe start to pull a thread or two. Let me give you an example. I was talking to a PrepWellers a few months ago who said that he would want to go to an ESPN fantasy camp because he loved all kinds of sports and players and statistics. Now, even though that sounds kind of generic and typical for a teenage boy, the key is with your follow up questions, with some good follow up questions. You can peel some layers of the onion away and get down to what the student might really be interested in. And ideally, you might even be able to offer some ideas on how that student could get closer to that goal. So I start out with a question. What is it about the ESPN fantasy camp that excites you? And the student replies, Well, I've always wanted to be an ESPN announcer because it looks fun and it requires a lot of sports knowledge, which I have. And you get to talk to professional players and you get to go on assignments, to big events. Then I say, Great. Yeah, that does sound cool. Do you envision yourself behind the camera as the on air talent? And the student replies, So maybe not. I'm not sure I'm quite cut out for that, but I like all the activities that support that role research, statistics, creative ideas. And I respond, okay, I got it.
[00:05:18] Have you thought about taking an online class in database management or sports statistics or the business of sports? And he replies, No, I've never heard of such a thing. And then I say, Well, let me ask you this. What do you like more math or reading and writing? And he replies, Well, I like them both about the same. And I say, okay. The reason I ask is because the sports industry is very broad. If you like math, I could see you on the inside, poring over box scores, looking for trends and patterns and anomalies. On the analytic side, you could dig into statistics, do regression analysis, do some database research. You could be the behind the scenes guy coming up with numbers oriented content ideas for the on air talent. If you like reading and writing more. Maybe you would consider a legal angle where you would go to law school and become an agent who represents professional athletes, negotiating their contracts, structuring deals, building in performance incentives and bonuses, leveraging your network. Do any of these things sound at all interesting to you and the student replies. Absolutely. I had no idea I could do those types of things in the sports industry. I thought the only thing available was hosting one of those ESPN marquee shows. And I responded, No, no, no, no, no, no. The sports entertainment industry is huge. You could work in marketing, advertising, training. Front office. Back. Office player relations. Logistics. Social media. Legal finance. Video Statistics. Analytics. You can find almost any type of job function within the sports world. So if sports is really your thing, it might be worth thinking about how or where you might start in this massive industry on the mass analytics side or on the reading writing creative side.
[00:07:15] And the student responds, It sounds like you just described the perfect ESPN fantasy camp. I'd like to try my hand at almost every one of those things you just mentioned. And I said, I agree. Who wouldn't like to see how all the behind the scenes stuff works? It does sound exciting. In fact, I happen to know that there actually is an ESPN sports broadcasting camp over the summer in Bristol, Connecticut, which is where their headquarters is. So if you're interested and you have the time and the resources to make that happen, that's probably as close to what your fantasy camp was all about. But even if you can't go to that camp, for whatever reason, you can start to put together a plan to get close to what you've been looking for. There are programs online for nearly everything I just described. Legal Representation of Athletes. How to become a sports Agent. Sports Analytics. Sports Statistics. How to market your athlete. Then the list goes on and on and on. And the student responds. Wow. My head is about to explode. I never knew any of these things existed. And then I said, Let me ask you a question. Have you ever done color commentary for one of your high school sports games? He said, No, I haven't. I said, Have you ever written an article for the school newspaper on how one of your sports teams are doing? He said, No. I said, Have you thought about starting a podcast about some aspect of sports that you're very passionate about? He said, No. I said, Have you ever got involved as a referee or an umpire or a line judge in any sports at any level? He said, No. I said, Have you thought about going down to the local community college and shadowing their athletic director for a day to see what their day to day schedule is like? He said, No.
[00:09:02] I said. Who's your favorite local professional sports team? He responded, The New York Giants. I said, Have you considered starting a New York Giants Instagram fan page where you post interesting content about the Giants? Player profiles, interesting statistics, trade rumors, highlight clips, photos, gossip, he said. No, I haven't. I said, Have you thought about working as a camp sports director for a youth sports camp or a sports league in your town where you're in charge of setting team rosters, organizing game schedules, renting facilities, organizing tournament play? He said No. I said, Have you ever organized a sports fantasy league with your friends? He said, No. I said, Okay, why don't we stop here for our first session together? I think you're starting to get the picture. Here are my thoughts. Even though there may be no such thing as a quote unquote ESPN fantasy camp exactly as you've imagined it, it sure seems like there are a lot of opportunities for you to explore different facets of the sports world on your own right in your own backyard. And the student says, Yes, there does. I hadn't really thought about any of those things. I've kind of just been watching sports on TV and on my phone and not much more than that. And I say, Great, That's why we have these one on one sessions. Hopefully, I've given you some food for thought. I've tried to suggest some ideas that you could take for action over the next two or three years. Certainly over the summers. Many of them are very practical suggestions. Most don't cost any money. Don't require you to submit a resume and pray that your name gets picked. They don't take up all of your time, and if you do some of these things, you'll certainly have a much better idea of what it would be like to work in the sports industry as the on air talent or otherwise.
[00:10:58] And the student wraps up with. I'm definitely going to look into a bunch of these ideas. Thank you for the inspiration. Okay. So that was a typical back and forth that I might have with a propeller based on what they put down for their fantasy camp. And you can see how the camp idea itself is not necessarily the answer. The answer lies in digging deeper into why that fantasy camp interests them and giving them some practical ideas on how they might be able to create their own little mini camp or mini experiences over the next few summers and years. And if they fall in love, what they're doing awesome. They'll continue to pursue these types of things and they'll have a great story to tell when it comes time to apply to college. If they lose steam and they start to get bored or uninterested in the topic, that's not necessarily a bad thing either. At least they're finding out now versus waiting until junior year in college when they have to scramble to change majors. So I encourage you to go through this activity with your son or daughter if they've seen it already in their prep. Well, videos, great, then they should be a little bit ahead of the game. But it's one thing to hear me talk about it on a video and it's another thing to actually talk to someone about it one on one. And if you would like your child to go through this exercise with me, reach out. We'll set up a one on one session where I walk them through this same exact process. That's all I've got for you today, folks. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for your continued support. Case you didn't know this broadcast supports prep academies online mentoring program where high schoolers and their parents receive weekly videos from me, where I break down important topics and give timely advice about college admissions, particularly for top tier colleges, service academies, and for ROTC and athletic scholarships.
[00:12:49] Many parents who listen to this podcast already have their high schoolers enrolled in Prep Academy, which is great. If you don't yet, please consider enrolling them. Registration is only open during freshman or sophomore year. After that, we no longer accept new students. So if you have a freshman or sophomore in high school and you like what you're hearing in these podcasts and you'd like to get more content like this tailored specifically for your child for their specific grade and with their specific goals in mind, go to PrepWellAcademy.com and enroll today. If you know a parent with a middle schooler or high schooler that might find this helpful, please share the episode with them and give us a rating if you get a chance. Word of mouth and positive ratings help our podcast reach a much wider audience. If you have questions, comments, or an idea for an upcoming episode, please reach out to me by email, DMS and Instagram. Check out our blog Facebook page. Connect with me on LinkedIn. I would love to hear from you. Until next week, Goodbye. Good luck and never stop preparing. This podcast is brought to you by PrepWell Academy. PrepWell Academy is my one of a kind online mentoring program that delivers to your ninth or 10th grader a short, highly relevant video from me every week. Every Sunday, in fact, where I give them a heads up about what they should be thinking about, to stay ahead of the game to get these valuable lessons into your child's hands. Please head over to www.PrepWellAcademy.com and enroll your child today.
PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank (2X), etc.
Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.