Your exp. with "educational" summer camps? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 02-02-2005, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When does one begin to consider "summer camp" with children?
Not necessarily sleep away in the woods all summer camp, but
interesting camps specific to an interest? I remember my alma mater
had groups of computer kids wandering around in the summer,
swim campers staying in the college dorms.

From the exotic (whale watching/sailing camp) to the local YMCA language camp
what is your exp with educational summer camp? What age
to start at? Is this like landing a prize internship for elementary kids?
I am getting to think people plan these camps and book a year
in advance! Is this a sub culture I know nothing about?
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#2 of 11 Old 02-02-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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I haven't enrolled my kids in any of them yet, but I'm researching them.

For many working parents, they are used for child care during the summer. I work out of the home, but my dh is a teacher, so that's not my interest in them, but I can understand that parents feel great pressure to line up a succession of these camps so that their children will be occupied during the summer months. Our university has a very good one, but it is not advertized other than by word of mouth, and it tends to fill up almost instantly upon registration opening.

A friend of mine does use them for her kids, and she's had some excellent experiences with some the local museums run.
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#3 of 11 Old 02-02-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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I have sent my oldest son to educational day camps for the last few years. In 2003 he went to 2 weeks of Archeology Camp run by the Haffenreffer Museum of Brown University.
In 2004 he went to a week of oceanography camp run by Save The Bay of Rhode Island, then a week of camp run by a dog training school.
From 1998 to 2002 he went to YMCA or another day camp for the summer, I worked outside the home and needed it as daycare.

So far, 'dog camp' was his favorite :LOL

Every February, the local paper puts out a special section in the Sunday Paper where the hundreds of local camps are listed. We go over this together and I let him pick 2 weeks of camp (all we can afford) Maybe your paper has something like this.

Kristina; wife to Max, Mom to Tristan (17) and Zackariah (7) and Lillian (5)
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#4 of 11 Old 02-02-2005, 05:23 PM
 
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My ds got interested in this sort of thing around age 6. There were not tons of offerings around here, but he went to day camp called Camp Invention which is for all "would be" inventors. He had a blast. Cub Scout overnight camp I went with him for two years. I think the important thing is to know something about the staff, know the staff: child ratio, transportation methods, etc. I have seen some poorly run camps in which it is just luck that no one got hurt or lost. The really expensive ones be attended by rich kids, I guess. There are several around here that are completely out of our league!!

 
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#5 of 11 Old 02-05-2005, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info ladies!
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#6 of 11 Old 02-05-2005, 07:53 PM
 
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My sister and I both went to sleep away camp every year from third grade to our junior year of High school, and LOVED it -- for both of us, it's one of our favorite child hood memories, and we still have 'camp' friends that we're in touch with ten years later. We both started off in YMCA camp, which was focused on the usual outdoorsy, nature-and crafts stuff. I switched to horseback Riding Camp and then language camp, where I learned Spanish and Russian, and my sis eventually started doing more outward bound stuff -- canoeing and hiking, ending with a 6 week trip to canoe in the arctic.

My mom loved it as well -- she got time to focus on each of us alone and when we got older and went for longer periods of time she would make sure one of our weeks overlapped so she got a vacation from kids. We didn't have a lot of money, so my sister and I always did fund raisers and walked dogs and shovelled snow to pay for camp that summer.

I think my sister started out in Day Camp in first or second grade for a few weeks, which was kind of in leiu of the normal daycare we were in over the summer. We both started sleep-away camp for one week in third grade, and in fifth or sixth grade went up to two weeks, and then four weeks in eigth or ninth grade. (My four week langauge camp offered high school credit for one full year of Spanish per four week term)
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#7 of 11 Old 02-06-2005, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you research the safety or qualifications of camp staff?

and

Are there any clearing house websites with camp listings?
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#8 of 11 Old 02-08-2005, 06:52 PM
 
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My kids are too young for specialized camps, but I am obsessed with the idea of summer camp for this summer. My son (now age 5) did 3 hour, 3 times a week "play camp" at our local park district the last two summers, but I would like something different for this summer. I went to a summer camp fair this past weekend and there are alot of sports camps and language camps, but I would ideally like something three days a week that includes swimming lessons. That doesn't seem like too much to ask, but only the Y seems to offer that and our local YMCA doesn't have much outdoor space, so that is an issue for me.

I am considering a sort of academic play camp at a local school - 4 mornings a week for 4 weeks. Each week they will focus on a different culture. That sounds nice. I called the Montessori school near us and summer camp is over $2,000 and is full day so that won't be an option for us!

I want my son to have fun, be engaged, get some outside exercise and for us to still have time to go to the zoo and do fun summer stuff. Alot of camps are all day, every day. To me, that is too much for a 5 year old.

I love the idea of speciality camps for older kids - I would say starting at age 8 (or whenever they express an interest in something specific!) I went to a photo camp at a college when I was in high school and I loved it. I also went to sleep away camp in 6th, 7th and 8th grade for a week each summer and that was great too.

Kathleen
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#9 of 11 Old 02-09-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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My kids (who were 6 and 7 last summer) went to day camp at the zoo last summer! It was half days for one week, they loved it, and they learned a ton!
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#10 of 11 Old 02-28-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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My older ds went to two camps last summer when he was four.

The first was at the Baltimore Aquarium for three half-days and you brought an adult with you (he actually went with my dad - a retired science teacher - Grandpa found the camp, paid, and enjoyed it more than my kiddo!!!)

He liked camp so much that he wanted to go to another one and went to four day (3 hours a day) "space" camp at a local elementary school. He really liked it and has mentioned it a bunch of times throughout the year.

This summer he wants to try a sports camp - so he is probably doing a three day (3 hours a day baseball camp)

I LOVED sleepaway camp as an older child and spent several summers as a day camp counselor so I have a very positive view of well-run camps and the variety they offer kids to try things you just can't do at home (I learned to sail, ride a horse and waterski, and work a pottery wheel at summer camp) However, I HATE the idea of my kids being away from me in the summer. As it is, summer is just too short, I hate the idea of sharing them

BJ
Barney & Ben
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#11 of 11 Old 02-28-2005, 05:54 PM
 
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My kids have been to camps at the Pacific Science Center (Science Museum), ShooFly Farm, Gymnastics camp, Nature camp, Laura Ingalls Camp, Aquarium Camp, Zoo Camp, and a camp at their school. We use it for daycare in the summer. Every year, Seattle has a couple of big camp fairs where you find out about the camps. Some of the camps fill very fast.

Thus far this year, we have signed up for Wilderness Awareness camp and Nature Day Camp. Tomorrow we sign up for Science Camp.
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