When a friend of mine emailed to tell me about her new endeavor, BeautyCamp NYC, I have to admit I was like…what? Why would a girl spend an entire week in the summer at a beauty camp learning about makeup tips, when she could be playing or swimming or learning coding or pretty much anything else? But then I looked closer. And you know? It’s grown on me. Here’s why.

BeautyCamp would probably be more accurate if it were called ConfidenceCamp  or OhMyGodDon’tDoThatToYourEyebrowsEverAgain Camp (as our own Kristen once said when her daughter got a hold of some tweezers), but those names just don’t have the same ring to it.

Now those of us with younger children might not be able to entirely grasp the connection between the confidence and makeup which admittedly feels superficial. But anyone with teens–or who’s ever seen The Princess Diaries or uh, Orange is the New Black Season 2–can understand that feeling good about yourself and having a grasp on the skills that help get you there is a huge aspect of success in life for anyone at all.

It’s hard to deny that our hair, our posture, our skin, and our ability to do our makeup without looking like a drag queen–with all respect to drag queens–can be a big factor in self-esteem, especially for those who struggle with any of it daily.

BeautyCamp NYC helps develop confidence and self-esteem in teens

BeautyCamp NYC: Why it could be huge | Cool Mom Picks

BeautyCamp NYC: happy campers

From the early photos of the site, I like that I’m seeing regular girls of all kinds, not pageant contestants or Gossip Girls, getting real hands-on tips from pros to develop skills that will serve them well as they start applying to colleges, interviewing for jobs and internships, or just going about their days trying to look nice.

Or hey, just trying to work with the changes that adolescence brings, like skin problems, braces, or bad hair weeks. (A.K.A. The story of my own teen years.)

Not surprisingly, the camp was started by Heather Church, a very cool mom herself who’s spent years working in beauty production at New York’s top ad agencies. This means she knows the best photographers, make-up artists, stylists, skincare experts who will be mentoring the girls all week–as opposed to random “experts” on YouTube who, let’s be frank, can put together some pretty scary beauty tip videos.

You could do worse than your daughter walking away understanding the importance of sunscreen. Let alone the importance of kindness and respectfulness to others, which is a core value of the program.

And I especially like the quotes from this spring’s campers who describe learning to feel appreciative of the features that make them different, and accepting that differences are a part of beauty.

(Psst…Dove? Big opportunity for you here. Just saying.)

Of course all this professional attention for a whole week does not come cheap. Definitely more than a free makeover at a department store from a stranger who gets a little freaky with the purple mascara, but reasonable relative to the $1300 (!!) day camps I’ve seen in and around New York this summer.

Considering my initial ambivalence, I never would have thought that I’d be keeping my mind open to something like this for my own girls one day.  But, as with princesses and pink, I’ve come to accept that some things are simply a part of raising daughters today. And ideally, learning how to cover a zit or keep your hair out of your face doesn’t mean they won’t still be in the robotics club or building sets for the school play too.

June sessions are sold out but there are still availabilities for July 14, 21, and 28. Classes run from 9-3:30 each weekday, and tuition is $950 which is pretty standard in NYC. Also, probably, why lots of you don’t live in NYC.