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Kiddie Koncierge: Resources - Camps
Resources: Camps

Summer Camps
The key with summer camps is that you need to start thinking
about them in December in many cases.  There are a dizzying
array of camps that cater to just about every interest or sensitivity.  
But choose quickly, some of the more popular summer camps
like the Strawberry Canyon camps at Cal are already filled by the
first week of January.  Here are some key sites that we have found

American Camp Association http://www.acanorcal.
org/findcamp.php, This is the site of the Northern California
chapter of a national camp accreditation association
acacamps.org/.  Similarly, the Western Association of
Independent Camps
(www.waic.org) is an organization of private
camps in the Western States.  They include day camps and
residential camps (remember like in Charlie Brown where they
board a bus with their duffel?).  It is a good place to start if you
want to cast your net a little wider.

If you want to be a little closer to home,
Tom Lent's Day Camp Website http://tlent.home.igc.
org/Day_Camp.html.  Tom has collected amazing amounts of
information on Day Camps throughout the East Bay.  While it lists
a lot of summer programs, many of the listings also apply to
Winter and Spring Breaks.  This site is great, it talks about content,
age, cost, hours, and in some cases, opinions.  A broader, but not
as comprehensive site provides useful links to sites providing
summer camp info for ALL parents – East Bay and otherwise):  

Some of Our Favorites:

Sees the Day
Extended Care Available
Kirk Cooper is the camp counselor that your kids love, the dad that
you wish you could be, and the guy who you go camping with who
always has a story to fit every circumstances.  His camp takes
advantage of hidden treasures within Berkeley's Tilden Park, other
East Bay Parks and the University of California to engage the kids
in hiking adventures, nature study, projects, and lots of stories and
games. If you read the brochure, it can sound a little touchy feely,
but believe us, look beyond the buzz words, this is a very special
camp.  Kirk has a way with kids that has them energized and
hanging on his every word.  That being said, he keeps a very tight
ship and places very high value on respect and safety.  The crafts
are meaningful (our boy loves his necklace and won't take it off),
they try to swim twice a week weather permitting, and there is
excellent supervisory coverage of at least two adults and a
number of Counselors in Training (CITs) that keep order and the
kids attention.    Kirk, for the record, is a professional. He used to
teach PE and currently runs the highly popular afterschool
program at Prospect Sierra School.   We highly recommend this

Roughing It
Pre-K - 12 grade
Without doubt, this is our son's new favorite camp.  He does the
four week camp that includes swimming, boating, fishing, and
horseback riding among many other activities.  It is by no means
the cheapest, but you get your money's worth from the
enthusiastic and committed staff to the buses that pick your kids
up to the amazing energy and tight organization that the staff
brings.  There is truly something for everyone.  They offer 1-2 week
camps for those who don't want to commit to a full month.  If you
live in SF, don't fret because we have encountered a good number
of SF kids in the past.  The organizers have been doing this for
years and it shows. They know every camper personally.  The
campers are part of a community and they really go all out to make
all campers feel welcome.  The counselors are all very bright and
enthusiastic.  One complaint our child has had of other camps is
that the counselors can be too peppy and condescending.  He
loved the Roughing It counselors because they treated the kids
"like grown ups" and yet were a lot of fun.  Each age group ends
up having about 7 campers to one counselor.  The ratios get even
smaller when you factor in activity-specific counselors, aftercare,
bus counselors, and the administrators who are there all the time
as part of the group.  We tend to plan our summers around this
camp nowadays.

Cal Youth Camps
Extended Care Available
Age groups differ from camp to camp:
Explorers Age 5-6
Adventures Age 8-17
Discovery Ages 9-13
Blue Camp ages 7-13
And many more specialty camps for all ages including
gymnastics, aquatics, rock climbing, sailing, a Sports and Science
Camp, and many others.  The University of California runs a
series of excellent camps for children throughout the summer.  
The pace is pretty rigorous.  Our son did Explorers and
was going from drop off to pick up with sports at roughly 45 minute
intervals.  Whether your kid is a jock or just a kid who enjoys
games and sports, these camps are very enjoyable and well run.   
The counselors are Cal students and athletes and the directors
are professionals who take the camps very seriously.  We visited
the camps to review processes and were impressed at how the
sports were treated.  The drills and games were run in a fun way
that allowed the less competitive kids to have as much fun as the
ultra competitive children.  The counselors are very aware of how
easy it is for some of the more jocky kids to run roughshod over
the less athletically inclined and they keep it fun for all levels.  They
also have swim instruction by certified WSIs daily in their heated
pool.  The ratios are very good (about 8:3) and the staff is very
professional.  Check out their very informative .pdf chart that lays
out the options by age here

Monkey Business Camp
Extended Care Available
Ages 5-10 (CIT opportunities 11-17)
Monkey Business has camps at Tilden Park, Berkwood Hedge
School, Roberts Park in Oakland.  Each day the kids engage in a
range of activities that include (depending on the camp), wildlife,
field games, waterplay/swimming, drama, stories, sports, art, and
much more.  Even though the camps seem simple, they pack a lot
of energy and fun into the hours that the kids are there.  Our child
had a wonderful time here.  The specialty camps include
Animalia, Circus Arts, Drama/Performing Arts, Cooking, Eco-
Adventures, Hip Hop & African Dance, Mad Science, Magical
Mystery Tour, Mosaic & Jewelry Making, Pirates, Woodworking,
Sports & Art, and a Girls only program.  

Monkey Business has programs throughout the year including
school breaks.  

Camp Galileo
Multiple Locations Around the Bay Area
campgalileo.com Camp Galileo combines programs from the
Tech Museum of San Jose, the De Young Museum, and Klutz
(makers of creative activity books) in a series of three one week
programs at 19 locations across the Bay Area.  Each one-week
program has a theme: Crime Solver/Ancient Egypt, Amusement
Park Science/Shape-Sculpt it, Space/Psychadelic 60s (after you
go through the three programs, they repeat.  Full and half day
programs, ages K-5, extended care available until 5:30.  06/23 -
08/01 (06/16 - 08/08 at some locations).  The staff is energetic,
well-qualified, and well-organized.  Each week opens with an
opening ceremony and closes with a closing ceremony.  The
energy is unbelievable.  Our son went there last year and he could
not wait to go back every day.  Registrants also get passes to the
Tech Museum and the De Young.  Scholarships are available.

Steve & Kate's Camp
18 Locations including Marin, San Francisco, and
Steve and Kate's is great for several reasons:  1) it is a good 1
week filler camp in case you are at a loss for a camp.  2) you can
register last minute.  3) You can pay by the day or pay by the
season.  4) you get refunded automatically at the end of the
summer if you don't use all your credits.  5) meals and snacks
created by a chef are included; and 6) of course, they have lots of
great things to do, great instruction, but not so much structure that
you couldn't spend the day throwing pots, for example, or working
on that movie, Lego or sewing project.  Steve & Kate's Camp
conforms to kids. Not the other way around. Campers choose
minute-to-minute from a tantalizing array of activities including
everything from Filmmaking, Culinary Arts and Sewing to Bungee
Jumping, Bumper Cars and Basketball.  Steve and Kate's
specializes on camps with expert instructors and professional
grade equipment (i.e., film and recording studio, ceramics studio,
jewelry studio, computer classes, among many other fine
examples).  They also have soccer, tennis, karaoke, Lego, an
inflatable water slide for hot days, and much more.  If your kid
needs a little more guidance, they do have
Kindercamp where the
kids have a team of counselors who hang with them and help
facilitate their camp experience by helping them choose activities,
make sure that they have lunch, get to the bathroom, and get the
most out of their day.  

The reason we say it is good for a week is that it could get
repetitive and boring after a week.  There is less teaching than
guidance and supervision.  That being said, our child enjoyed
each day.

Steve & Kate's Camp conforms to kids. Not the other way around.
Campers choose minute-to-minute from a tantalizing array of
activities including everything from Filmmaking, Culinary Arts and
Sewing to Bungee Jumping, Bumper Cars and Basketball.

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