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Choose your own camp adventure: Find the one that’s right for you

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

Kids, what do you want to do this summer? It might seem like it’s months away, but now is the time to ask that question and figure out your summer camp schedule.

Today, we offer a choose-your-own-adventure guide to summer camp with just some of the offerings that might fit your kids’ personalities. Find more possibilities at campguide.austin360.com.

Austin Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Jacob Hammond on the set of “A Boy and His Balloon,” a movie produced during the Austin Film Festival’s 2011 summer camp. Contributed
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IS YOUR CHILD A MINI PICASSO?

Check out these art camps.

 

Austin Art Garage

Ages: 4-16

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with extra care available at 9 a.m. and until 6 p.m., one-week camps, June 4-17

Where: 11190 Circle Drive, Suite 202

Cost: $269 a week

Information/registration: theartgarageaustin.com

 


 

Umlauf Sculpture Garden

Ages: Kindergarteners through fifth-graders

When: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., or full-day camps, June 11-July 27

Where: 605 Robert E. Lee Road

Cost: $185 a week

Information: umlaufsculpture.org

 


 

Dougherty Art Center

Ages: 5-12

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in two-week sessions, June 11-Aug. 3. Before camp and after camp care available.

Where: Dougherty Art Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road

Cost: $432 for two weeks, $50 additional for before camp and $50 for after camp hours

Information: austintexas.gov/dougherty

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI ISAAC NEWTON?

Check out these science camps.

 

Austin Science & Nature Center

Ages: 4-11 (half-day for ages 4-5; full-day for ages 5-11)

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for full-day in one- or two-week sessions, June 11-Aug. 17. Extended care available beginning at 7:15 a.m. and until 6 p.m.

Where: 2389 Stratford Drive

Cost: $200 standard price for one week, $150 for half-day camp, $250 for a camp with campouts

Information: austintexas.gov/ansc

 


 

Thinkery

Ages: 4-12

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for part-day pre-kindergarten-kindergarten sessions. Extended care beginning at 8 a.m. and going until 5:30 p.m. for $50, but not available at National Instruments. One-week sessions June 4-Aug. 17.

Where: The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.; National Instruments, 11500 N. MoPac Blvd.; Magellan International School, 7938 Great Northern Blvd.; International School of Texas, 4402 Hudson Bend Road; Emergent Academy, 1044 Liberty Park Drive.

Cost: $365 a week for first-graders through fifth-graders, $385 a week pre-kindergarten and kindergarten full-day, $80 off for part-day.

Information: thinkeryaustin.org

 


 

Mad Science

Ages: 4-12

When: 9 a.m. to noon, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; early drop-off at 8 and late pickup until 6 available, June 4-Aug. 17.

Where: Various locations throughout Central Texas

Costs: $160-$385 a week

Information: austin.madscience.org

 


 

GirlStart

Ages: Fourth through eighth grades

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weeklong camps, June 4-July 27

Where: 1400 W. Anderson Lane

Cost: $350 a week

Information: girlstart.org

Austin Zoo

Ages: 5-13

When:9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekly June 11-Aug. 17

Where: 10808 Rawhide Trail

Cost: $275

Information: austinzoo.org

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI MIA HAMM OR JORDAN SPIETH?

Check out these sports camps.

 

University of Texas Athletic Camps

Ages: First grade through high school

When: Various dates and times depending on sports, with some day camps as well as overnight camps

Where: University of Texas facilities

Cost: $300-$1,000-plus a week

Information: texassports.com

 


 

Crenshaw Athletic Club

Ages: 5 1/2 to 10

When: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in three-week sessions; dates to be determined, but tentatively starting June 4, June 25, July 16 and Aug. 6 (two weeks).

Where: 5000 Fairview Drive

Cost: $720-$750 for each three-week session

Information: crenshaws.com

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI GARY CLARK JR.?

Check out these music camps.

 

Mother Falcon Music Lab

Ages: 11-18

When: July 9-14, July 16-21

Where: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, 1112 W. 31st St.

Cost: $425 a week

Information: mfml.org

 


 

School of Rock

Ages: 6-18

When: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekly June 4-Aug. 17

Where: 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Suite 138

Cost: $550 a week

Information: locations.schoolofrock.com/austin

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI ROBERT RODRIGUEZ?

Check out this film camp.

 

Austin Film Festival

Ages: 9-18

When: Various time blocks 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., June 11-July 27

Where: St. David’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. Eighth St.

Cost: $195-$390 a week

Information: austinfilmfestival.com

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY?

Check out these acting camps.

 

Kids Acting

Ages: 4-18

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 5-Aug. 25

Where: Various locations

Cost: Beginning at $335 for one-week sessions

Information: kidsactingstudio.com

 


 

Camp Paramount/Story Wranglers

Ages: Grade 1-10

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with care available at 8 a.m. and until 5 p.m., June 4-Aug. 10. Two-week camps with performance at the Paramount Theatre on the last day; Story Wrangles also write their script.

Where: Baldwin Elementary School, Murchison Middle School, Trinity Episcopal School and Maplewood Elementary School

Cost: $650 for two weeks

Information: austintheatre.org/camps

 


 

Zach Theatre

Ages: 3 1/2 through high school

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended care available, weeklong camps, June 4-Aug. 16

Where: 1510 Toomey Road and 12129 RM 620 N.

Cost: $255-$350 a week

Information: zachtheatre.org/Education

 


 

Fantastic Magic Camp

Ages: 5-12

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with optional extended stay from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., two-week camps, June 4-Aug. 17

Where: 7500 Woodrow Ave.

Cost: $590 for two weeks

Information: magiccamp.com

 


IS YOUR CHILD THE NEXT OPRAH WINFREY?

Check out these leadership skill-building camps.

 

Camp GEN from Girls Empowerment Network

Ages: Third through eighth grades

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 18-22 or July 16-20

Where: 901 Trinity St.

Cost: $330 a week

Information: girlsempowermentnetwork.org

 


 

Girl Scouts of Central Texas

Ages: Kindergarten through high school

When: Various one-week day camps, one-week overnight camps and one-day STEM camps, June 4-Aug. 23

Where: Zilker Cabin in Zilker Park; Camp Texlake in Pace Bend Park; Camp Kachina in Belton; and Kodosky Service Center, 12012 Park Thirty-Five Circle

Cost: $195-$395 for a one-week camp

Informationgsctx.org

 


 

Boy Scouts of America Capital Area Council

Ages: First grade through high school

When/Where: Cub Scout (elementary school-age) day camps at various times and locations throughout Central Texas in June; TechLab STEAM Day Camp for boys and girls at Anderson High School in June and July; Boy Scout Camp at Lost Pines Scout Reservation in Bastrop, weekly June 10-July 28.

Cost: $65-$320

Information: Cub Scout Day Camp (cubsummercamp.org), TechLab (techlab.camp), Boy Scout Summer Camp (lpsr.org)

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT?

Check out these building and engineering camps.

 

Summer Spark

Ages: Kindergartners through sixth grade

When: 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., with extended hours to 6 p.m. available, one-week camps, June 4-Aug. 10.

Where: Various locations

Cost: $350

Information: summerspark.com

 


 

Snapology Austin Lego/robotics camps

Ages: 4-14

When: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or stay for both sessions. Extended hours at some locations, various dates, May 29-Aug. 13.

Where: Austin Christian Fellowship, 6401 River Place Blvd.; Circle C Community Center, 7817 La Crosse Blvd.; Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Drive; Snapology Austin Discovery Center, 1910 Fort View Road; West Austin Youth Association, 1314 Exposition Blvd.

Cost: $140-$175

Information: austin.snapology.com

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI MICHAEL DELL?

Check out these computer camps.

 

Coding with Kids

Ages: 5-17

When: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 4-Aug. 10

Where: Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Lakeway and Westlake locations

Cost: $279-$329 for half-day; $489-$549 for full-day

Information: codingwithkids.com

 


 

Digital Media Academy

Ages: 6-17

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weeklong camps and two-week camps, June 4-July 20.

Where: University of Texas

Cost: $645-$1,750, plus extra for overnight

Information: digitalmediaacademy.org

 


IS YOUR CHILD A MINI MARTHA STEWART?

Check out these cooking or farming camps.

 

Greengate Farms

Ages: 5-15

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weeklong camps in June, with care available before and after

Where: 8310 Canoga Ave.

Cost: $400

Information: greengatefarms.net

Bake Austin

Ages: 6-16

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 3 to 7 p.m. weeklong camps, June 4-Aug. 17

Where: 81706 East 38 1/2 St.

Cost: $325 a week

Information: bakeaustin.com

 


IS YOUR CHILD A MINI BEAR GRYLLS?

Check out this adventure camp.

 

McKinney Roughs Nature Park

Ages: 5-15

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekly June 11-Aug. 10

Where: 1884 Texas 71, Cedar Creek; shuttle available from Lake Austin Boulevard

Cost: $225

Information: lcra.org

 


 

IS YOUR CHILD A MINI SHAUN WHITE?

Check out these thrill-seeking camps.

 

Rock About Climbing Adventures

Ages: 9 and older

When: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., with a longer day on Fridays, one-week camps, June 4-Aug. 3

Where: Austin Greenbelt, 755 S. Capitol of Texas Highway

Cost: $399

Information: rock-about.com

 


 

Iron Horse Country Ranch Motorcycle Ranch

Ages: 8-15

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekly day camps, June 11-Aug. 24, and overnight camps

Where: Shuttle pickup from downtown, Georgetown, Cedar Park and Steiner Ranch to camp 18 miles north of Austin

Cost: $740 day camp, $1,380 overnight camp

Information: ironhorsecountry.com

 


 

Sky Candy

(aerial dancing and circus camps)

Ages: 6-13

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11-15, June 18-22, June 25-29, July 9-13, July 16-20, July 23-27, July 30-Aug. 3

Where: 507 Calles St.

Cost: $400 a week

Information: skycandyaustin.com

 


 

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING MORE WELL-ROUNDED?

Here are some camps that give kids a typical summer camp experience with crafts, games, swimming and more.

 

Camp Double Creek

Ages: 4-14

When: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. one-week camps, May 30-Aug. 17

Where: 800 Double Creek Drive, Round Rock; 13 bus pickup spots around Austin

Cost: $355 a week

Information: campdoublecreek.com

 


 

Extend-a-Care For Kids

Ages: Elementary

When: 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. one-week camps, June 4-Aug. 10

Where: Various elementary schools throughout Austin and Hays County

Cost: $190

Information: eackids.org

 


 

YMCA Summer Day Camp

Ages: 4-14

When: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 29-Aug. 22

Where: Various locations including schools and YMCA centers

Cost: $178-$240

Informationaustinymca.org

 


 

KidVenture

Ages: 3-12 for day camps; 8-18 for overnight camps

When: 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 a.m., with extra care available at 7 a.m. and until 6 p.m., weeklong day camps, June 4-Aug. 10

Where: Barton Creek Elementary; Club at Sweetwater; Community Center at Rough Hollow; overnight camps in Hunt, Rocksprings and Lower Pecos River

Cost: $255 for day camps

Information: kidventure.com

 


 

Contact Nicole Villalpando at 512-912-5900.

 

 

Explore human body, medical careers at Dell Medical School camp

Dr. Reginald Baptiste teaches Annastesia Rodriguez, Jake Medearis, Ryan Ha and Ethan Liu the workings of a cow’s heart at Dell Medical School Health Sciences Summer Camp held at the University of Texas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2017

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

About 100 middle-schoolers are making their way through a rotation of experiences at the University Teaching Center at the University of Texas campus. There, doctors and UT pre-medical students are teaching them about different parts of the body or different technologies used in medicine.

One group is blowing up a pig lung using an air pump to check how the lungs inflate. Then they look at a diseased lung and see how it doesn’t work as well.

Another group is looking at the different parts of a cow heart.

Jake Medearis, center, holds a cow’s heart as he learns from Dr. Reginald Baptiste. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2017

Campers are looking at a brain of a lamb and discussing why it might be different from ours.

They are practicing how to do a colonoscopy on a model and trying to find the polyps. And one lucky counselor is helping them practice how to do an ultrasound of the heart by being the patient.

This is the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas Health Sciences Summer Camp, which for the past three years has offered a free camp for high-schoolers and middle-schoolers. This year there is a charge, but scholarships are available. The campers were all nominated by their school counselors.

Some of the students were chosen because they think they might want to be a doctor or a nurse. Others were chosen for their interest in science in general.

Ryan Ha, left, and Ethan Liu lean how to work a 3-D printer at Dell Medical School Health Sciences Summer Camp. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2017

“We’re not trying to make doctors,” said Dr. Reginald Baptiste, who organizes the camp as the director of pre-health professions medical education at UT Dell Medical School. “We’re just trying to get the students interested” in science, technology, engineering and math.

“Even though it makes you learn, it’s still really cool,” said eighth-grade camper Gabriela Rodriguez. “It’s fun, even though you’re learning. It helps you narrow down what you want to do.”

This year, the school will be offering two camps for high-schoolers and one for middle-schoolers. Students still have to be nominated to attend by their schools, but there also will be a fee to attend.

Throughout the week last year, the kids visited different places on the University of Texas campus and Dell Medical School, including the room where medical students work with cadavers. They also heard a lecture about why diversity is needed in the medical field.

Eighth-grader Kyra Tucker liked getting to meet with surgeons. “Their world is so fascinating,” she said. “I want to do that.”

While some kids might be squeamish to touch an animal organ, these campers spent many days wearing gloves and holding organs in their hands.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to hear a person’s heart,” she said. “I wanted to see inside a person.”

Camp doesn’t just end in one week. Campers are invited back throughout the school year for other educational programs at the medical school.

 

Contact Nicole Villalpando at 512-912-5900.

 

DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL HEALTH SCIENCES SUMMER CAMPS

When: 9 a.m.. to 5 p.m. July 9-13 and July 23-27 for high-schoolers; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 6-10 for middle-schoolers

Where: University of Texas campus

To apply: Email hssummercamp@austin.utexas.edu to find out more about applying. Contact your middle school or high school counselor to recommend you to the program.

Cost: $350.

 

 

15 things to consider when picking a camp for your kids

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

Here are 15 things to consider when looking for camps:

  1. Evaluate last year’s camps.
    Will you return? Did they end up being a good fit for your kids? Can you afford them? You might want to ask the camp if there were any concerns with your child last year. If your child told you camp was fine but the counselor reported that your child didn’t socialize with anyone or was disruptive, it might not be the right camp for your child. Also check out how the camp might have changed from the year before. If it’s a new curriculum or entirely new staff, it might not be as enjoyable.
  2. What is your summer schedule?
    Which weeks will you be going on vacation? Which weeks might a family member be able to cover, or one parent or the other? Get an old-fashioned calendar and plot out each week. Put potential camps in pencil as you find them. Put vacations and Camp Grandma/Grandpa/Daddy/Mommy in ink.
  3. What is your budget?
    It’s really easy to get out of hand. Set the budget in advance and figure out how much that averages per week, per kid. Be realistic. You are not going to find much for less than $200 or $300 a week. If your kids have their hearts set on really expensive camps, plan for less expensive camps the other weeks, and ask about scholarships. Need to trim the budget? See what’s available through your city’s parks and recreation department or through your child’s school.
  4. What hours do you need covered each day?
    Can you really pick up a kid from a camp that lets out at noon or 3 p.m., or do you need everyone to stay at camp until after 5 p.m.? Also, can you start work at 9:30 a.m.? If not, camps that don’t start before 9 a.m. are not going to work for you.
  5. Where do camps need to be located?
    Do you want to spend your summer on MoPac Boulevard or Interstate 35 as you try to get your Round Rock-living kids to a South Austin camp, or vice versa? If not, limit the possibilities according to where you’re willing to drive each day, twice a day.
  6. Are there camps that would be a good fit for all of your children?
    This is often a hard thing to find. What might be age-appropriate for one kid might be too juvenile for another. Also, if your kids have vastly different interests, it would be hard to find a camp everyone likes. If you can’t find one camp for all, find camps that are near one another, so you’re not having to pick up kids at opposite ends of town at 5 p.m.
  7. What are your kids interested in, and what would they like to try?
    Summer camp is an amazing time to try out a new activity. If your son has always said he wants to do gymnastics after school, use summer camp as a testing ground. Also consider your kid’s personality. If your daughter hates art and would rather build with blocks, a pottery camp is not a good choice, but a Lego camp is.
  8. Where are their friends going?
    Pick up recommendations from fellow parents, but also consider trying out something new with a friend. It makes it easier to transition into camp if your kid has a buddy.
  9. Where does your kid want to go?
    Sometimes we get so busy in the planning that we forget to ask for their opinions. So ask, then get them to prioritize the list. If you have three camps that you can only get them into on the same week, you will know which one to choose. Or if you can only afford one of your child’s dream camps, you know which one it should be.
  10. Is your kid ready for an overnight camp?
    This might be the year you venture out to overnight camp. Consider if your child can stay overnight at a friend’s house successfully. Consider if your child can take care of basic needs such as dressing themselves, showering and brushing their teeth and hair. OK, some teens still struggle with this, but if your child has never done all of these things independently, work on that before signing her up.
  11. What is the staffing like?
    Ask about ratios and what kinds of breaks the counselors get. Ask if every counselor is first-aid and CPR-certified, what kind of training they do and if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.
  12. Follow word of mouth.Your fellow parents, your kids’ teachers and counselors can give you recommendations about what camps they have tried or heard good things about. Also, ask them which camps they wouldn’t recommend.
  13. Is the camp right for my child with differences?
    If your child has special needs or quirks, ask the camp if it has had similar campers and what it did to accommodate them. This, of course, applies to kids who have learning differences, sensory issues and physical disabilities, but it also might apply to kids who have food, pollen and insect allergies, medical issues such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis, or personality differences such as fear of the dark or fear of animals. You want to know what kind of medical care they will have access to, what kind of accommodations can be used and what kinds of activities will be happening to make sure it’s a match. Ask your therapists, your medical professionals and your school counselors about what camps are available for kids like yours.
  14. What are the campers like?
    Has everyone been going to the same camp all summer long? Your child who comes in the fourth week might have trouble fitting in. The same is true if most of the campers went to daycare at that location or have been going to that camp since they were in kindergarten. Ask about the boy-girl ratio, as well as the age ratio. If most of the kids at a camp for grades kindergarten through fifth are first- or second-graders, your fourth-grader is going to hate it.
  15. What is your backup plan?
    If you get to camp and, after a few days, your kid hates it, gets kicked out or needs to come home, is there somewhere that will take your child for the rest of that week?

Contact Nicole Villalpando at 512-912-5900.

 

Miley Silvas, Brooke Badger, Ayo Isola, Brittany Fontenot and Sebastian Escobar play a horse race game during Camp For All at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. You can find a camp that is right for your kid, including one that happens at their hospital. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

 

Shloak Gupta dumps a plastic cup of water on unsuspecting Jaedon Molinar as they play the Drip, Drip, Drop game at the YMCA of Austin Summer Camp Olympics. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

 

Children from two “clans,” Veritas and Calida clans, run side by side during CG Victory, a faith-based summer camp at Deepwood Elementary School in Round Rock. Contributed by Henry Huey

 

Tumble Tech Summer Day Camps

Don’t miss all the fun this summer with Tumble Tech Summer Day Camps!  With 3 different options and TONS of INCREDIBLE activities your child will have a blast with instruction and guidance from our incredible staff.

Each day will be jam packed with fun activities for your child.  From free play time in our big gym filled with trampolines, mats and a huge foam pit to our incredible Ninja Warrior style parkour area as well as time for arts and crafts and some organized games we will be sure to keep your children active and engaged.  NEW THIS SUMMER!!  We have also partnered with our neighbors at Nitro Swim Center and Austin Sports Center to provide a Mega Sports Camp that includes swimming at Nitro and a variety of sports activities at Austin Sports Center.

Camps will run Monday through Friday during the summer

You can reserve your spot for the entire week or just certain days, whatever fits your schedule best!

Space is limited so make sure to reserve your spot today!

Tumble Tech started with the promise of providing all athletes who have a passion for aerial sports a sanctuary that not only promotes athlete growth, but strives to be the most positive environment for all kids. Its coaches work to captivate and grow kids to be the best athletes they can be while allowing themselves to grow as individuals.

Tumble Tech believes in empowering our athletes to provide a positive, inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.  They go above and beyond to not only do things, but to do things right while also paying attention to the small details that can make a big difference.  Tumble Tech works everyday to provide excellent service to athletes, families and the community alike while providing a safe and fun place for the children of our area.

Tumble Tech has been a member of USA Gymnastics (USAG) since its inception in 2015. USAG provides credentialing for all its coaches that focus on proper skill progression and safety techniques. The education received through USAG allows its staff to be knowledgeable in a variety of sports. Tumble Tech believes that athlete safety and proper coaching education is a top priority and is constantly striving to stay up to date with this ever-changing industry. Whether your child has a passion for cheerleading, gymnastics, Parkour or free running, our mission is to not only grow athletes to their greatest potential, but to value parents and acknowledge their support and involve them in every step of the process.

Visit us at:  https://www.tumble-tech.com/

 

Thinkery Camps—Innovation Near You!

Thinkery Camps spark curiosity and inspire creative learning through hands-on, inquiry-led exploration and discovery. Each weeklong camp provides an innovative, safe and inspiring environment for campers to expand their problem-solving potential—and have a whole lot of fun. Campers dive deep into STEAM, robotics and programming concepts while developing critical thinking skills in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Ready to become a robotics ringmaster or a medieval maker? In 2018, Thinkery will offer seven innovative camp themes to challenge and inspire Pre-K–5th grade campers.

STEAM Camps

Think Austin
Keep Austin—and Thinkery Camp—weird while exploring the unique engineering, architecture, science and art that makes our city so special.

Once Upon a Design
Embark on an imaginative adventure designing and engineering solutions to problems that occurred “once upon a time” for storybook characters.

Up, Up and Away

3, 2, 1, blast off! Join us for a high-flying week of exploration and experimentation that defies gravity.

Engineering with Sound

Let’s make some noise! Boogie while making instruments, vibe with vibrations and investigate the science of sound with us.

Robotics and Programming Camps

Secret Agent Robot

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join an elite group of secret agents to use robotics to crack codes and solve fun challenges.

RoboCircus

Step right up and join the fun, robotics ringmasters! Juggle coding and creative problem solving as you build wacky, whimsical carnival contraptions.

Medieval Minecraft
Let’s travel through time! Explore simple machines and tackle medieval technology to design and engineer your very own kingdom.

Thinkery is expanding its summer camp program to include FIVE locations around Austin, hosting programs at Thinkery, National Instruments, The Magellan International School, The International School of Texas and Emergent Academy.

Now, no matter where you live, there’s a Thinkery Camp near you!

  • Thinkery at the Meredith Learning Lab – East/Central (1830 Simond Ave., Austin, TX 78723)
  • Thinkery hosted at National Instruments – North/West (11500 N. Mopac Expy, Austin, TX 78759)
  • Thinkery hosted at The Magellan International School – North/West (7938 Great Northern Blvd., Austin, TX 78757)
  • Thinkery hosted at International School of Texas – West (4402 Hudson Bend Rd., Austin, TX 78734)
  • Thinkery hosted at Emergent Academy – South/West (1044 Liberty Park Dr., Austin, TX 78746)

Spend your summer tinkering, creating and coding at Thinkery

Have the adventure of a lifetime at Stepping Stone School!

Stepping Stone School is proud to incorporate entrepreneurship and philanthropy into our summer camp program. Over the course of the summer, the children will create and run a series of four businesses from the ground up. From the purchasing of supplies to the division of duties and pricing the products, the students will control all aspects of their enterprises. They will decide what types of items to sell and how much to sell them for, as well as creating advertising for their products. Finally, they will sell their products at the front of the school every few weeks. All the proceeds from our businesses go to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin. To date, our young philanthropists have donated over $41,000 to this worthwhile cause. This year’s summer camp will feature biweekly themes exploring our children’s Creative Genius.

S.T.E.A.M. principles are integrated into our curriculum through Math and Literacy programming. The children will participate in activities, experiments and investigations of these principles each week. They will develop problem-solving skills through critical-thinking projects specific to each featured subject, playing chess and much more! From making instruments and painting self-portraits, to creating sound and visual effects, the children will be hands-on participants in their learning. Children will also experience art as a gateway to learning in each bi-weekly subject and S.T.E.A.M. concepts as a whole. Our program will excite and energize children about these subjects by showing them that discovery can not only be fun, but can shape the world for years to come. This will be accomplished through classroom activities, experiments, and our exclusive Professional Speaker Series. ™ Experts will deliver insightful presentations to the students regarding the bi-weekly themes and put the concepts into real world context, demonstrating the importance of understanding their world and opening the doors to future professions.

How is our S.T.E.A.M. Curriculum Implemented?

Science Documenting and predicting; observing the environment and phenomena; building a water filter; charting magnet races; exploring the solar system. 

Technology Multimedia projects/filming interviews; using the HATCH interactive SMART board; recording a story on a computer; building solar ovens, turbines and anemometers.

Engineering Planning and building a tower; designing a picture using precut shapes; building paper boats and planes, creating a marble maze.

The Arts Designing with mixed media; drawing blueprints for a castle; painting modern art with shapes and textures; creating a new alphabet.

Mathematics Creating origami; measuring long jumps; cooking; counting money; graphing science experiments; predicting patterns; making tallies to count blueberries.

Come join us for the adventure of a lifetime at one of our 15 different summer camp locations! Learn more at steppingstoneschool.com.

Sportball Camps

Sportball camps are built for fun!  Designed for ages 3 to 9 years, our highly trained and passionate coaches help children develop the ability and confidence they need to get in the game!  Coaches break down skills into kid-sized bites of fun that promote the fundamentals and encourage teamwork.  Kids play a variety of sports at our popular multi-sport camps, rotating through basketball, soccer, baseball, football, volleyball, hockey, golf, and tennis. Sport-specific camps focus on individual sports, for those that have a favorite or know their game (and will play nothing else!)

Preschool ages take part in fun games and stories to explore the world of sports in a safe and comfortable environment.  Age-appropriate equipment and creative instruction allow youngsters to have a blast and progress at their own pace.  Older groups practice fundamental skills and play games designed to promote the particular developmental milestones of the school-age child.  Coaches then work towards real game scenarios and scrimmages to put their newfound skills into action!

Sportball is also proud to have recently partnered with the University of Toronto in a study that found our skills-oriented, structured sports instruction can have a significant impact on preschoolers’ and kindergartners’ early physical development.

“Gross motor skills are important for everyday life, and influence not only how we interact with our environment, but also influence our health and well-being,” says Professor Andrea Duncan, at U of T’s Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy. Over the past year, Master of Science Occupational Therapy student researchers completed an observational assessment of children with comparable skills ages 3 to 6 and evaluated their levels of skill development before and after participating in an initial 8-week Sportball program.

All study participants were assessed on a 30-item scale requiring them to perform a variety of movement skills, including kicking and throwing a ball, walking backwards on a line, running, etc. Results showed that participants in the Sportball group demonstrated significant increases in ball skills as well as balance, coordination, and jumping.

Whatever the age or skill level, our mission remains the same… to create lasting memories and a love of sports that lasts a lifetime!

Visit www.sportball.us today to register at a location near you, or sign up for a free trial.  We also do weekly classes, birthday parties and special events for ages 18 months to 12 years!

Questions?  Ph: 512.407.8814

Email: austin_info@sportball.us

Sherwood Forest Summer Camp

Youth Camp

How many of us wonder if we could have been really great at some type of craft or skill, given an earlier start? Sherwood Forest Summer Camp attendees have the opportunity to try their hands at many crafts and skills that are no longer widely taught. Maybe your child is a natural with a bow? Or perhaps they are made for the stage, but never had a chance to be in a play before. It is amazing what a child can learn without the distractions of the modern.

 

Campers may choose to sleep in Sherwood Castle (yes, it’s a real castle) or in one of the Merry Folks’ Pavilions (with nightly bedtime stories). Sherwood Castle is an indoor, climate controlled environment with bunk beds.  A temporary wall separates the 40 lords from the 30 ladies in residence. All Dragons (age 7-9) will be assigned to quarters in the Castle (with strict rules against fire breathing). The Pavilions are large, military-grade tents which stand over a raised wooden platform. They are insulated and climate controlled. Our more adventurous campers will enjoy this option because, although it is a bit more luxurious than traditional camping, campers still get to be closer to nature and enjoy the night air and the sound of crickets and denizens of the forest.

We offer a healthy, kid friendly menu with options to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.  Our catering is performed by BrouHaHa, who has a solid history serving patrons at Sherwood Forest Faire since its inception.

All of our hands-on activities take place in our 23-acre medieval village. Campers will be transported back in time to a world of knights, ladies, and a simpler way of life. Campers will learn skills essential to daily living in the medieval era. No modern entertainment devices will be available. Our new curriculum provides greater choice and variety for our campers. Now instead of being assigned to a set of courses each camper above age 9 will be able to choose all of their individual classes. Another change will be the number of classes. Previously campers were unable to complete more complex projects in classes. Campers will now have 5 hours of class time and will be able to create as much as they desire. In addition we add new classes every year to give even greater choice selections!

Family Camp

New this year! Sherwood Forest Family Summer Camp is a chance for your family to spend some quality time together, in the midst of the beautiful Nottingham Village.  You’ll be exposed to numerous skills and trades of the Medieval era, which means you will be making things with your hands – and that doesn’t mean drawing a picture on your screen with your finger!

Disclaimer: Sherwood Forest is fraught with confrontations between Robin and his Merry Folk, the Sheriff and his deputies, The Black Hand and the Fae Folk. Don’t be surprised if families at some point are asked to defend the castle against an invasion… or perhaps they will be asked to attack, if an enemy force has taken sanctuary within.  Anything could happen!

Grown Up Camp

Sherwood Forest Grown-Up Summer Camp offers adults age 21+ the opportunity to learn skills and crafts of the renaissance era.  Each camper will receive three hours of instruction in five different courses during their camp adventure.  The event spans three days, and in addition to the course instruction campers will enjoy three high-quality meals, some time for relaxation or cooling off in the pool each day, and of course revelry at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem at night!

 

School of Rock – Summer Camps

The School of Rock is the nation’s premier performance-based rock school. We teach guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals via our unique combination of private instruction and group rehearsals, which gets students playing on stage as quickly as possible. Our instructors are all professional Austin musicians, each with years of experience in the music business.

In addition to our year-round performance programs, the School of Rock offers one week full day and half day summer camp sessions.

Our comprehensive camp experience is designed to hone music performance and ensemble skills in a creative and fun environment. We use Rock ‘n Roll to teach guitar, bass, drums, vocals and keys, culminating in an awesome live show on the final day! Our camps cater to rockers aged 6 – 18 of all skill levels – from beginners who are brand new to their instrument through to more advanced rockers with some experience under their studded belts.

Students work in a hands-on atmosphere that includes:

  • Learning the nuts and bolts of live performance
  • Studio/band rehearsal time
  • Individual and group instruction from our highly skilled staff
  • Music theory and Rock & Roll music appreciation
  • Interacting with other young musicians
  • A LIVE rock show performance

Last year’s camps sold out, so take advantage of this awesome deal for Statesman readers only! If you enroll before April 1, you will receive 20% off tuition for any of our summer camps. Just use the coupon code SORSTATESMAN2018 at check out.

Here’s what we have in store for Summer 2018:

Rookies camp – introduces the music fundamentals in a fun way to beginners aged 6-8.

  • Rock 101 camps – the perfect opportunity for budding young rockers aged 8 to 13 to learn the skills necessary to rock out in a band, with a righteous live rock show at the end of the week.
  • Songwriting camp – learn about the craft of writing your own original music and end the week with a recording of your own creation.
  • Performance camps: “Swinging 60s”, “Dazed and Confused: The Sounds of the 70’s”, “80’s Mixtape”, “The 90’s: Alternative Nation” and “Modern Rock”- campers aged 10 – 18 with at least 12 months of previous musical experience rehearse as a band during the week in preparation for an awesome live rock show on the final day of camp!

For more details and to reserve your spot, visit http://rocki.ng/austinrockcamps or call us on (512) 670-2360.

Founded in 1998, the School of Rock is the inspiration for the blockbuster Jack Black film “The School of Rock” (2003).

School of Rock Austin was the 8th school founded in the School of Rock family back in 2005. Since then, we’ve produced more than 100 shows, and just recently celebrated our 11th anniversary in Austin. In the process, we have empowered thousands of young musicians by teaching kids how to rock on stage and in life!

For more info: http://rocki.ng/austinrockcamps or contact 512-670-2360 or austin@schoolofrock.com.

Location: 2525 W Anderson Lane, Suite 138, Austin, TX, 78757

Reach for new heights at Rock-About Climbing Adventure Camp!

The Rock-About Climbing Adventure Camp is an adventurous kid’s dream. Each day, the camp visits natural climbing walls, including Enchanted Rock, Reimer’s Ranch and the Austin Barton Creek Greenbelt, with a climb each morning, followed by lunch and a swim in a natural creek or pool. Rock-About believes climbing young can help groom kids into great adults, and our Austin summer camps are a great way to get your kids outside in a safe way. Rock climbing builds positive interactions with others as well as teaches to work together as a team. Only kids 9 and up are allowed for this camp. In addition to several summer camps, we offer a Christmas break camp as well.

At Rock-About, safety is always at the forefront, and climbers learn how to communicate with one another and check the ropes before they start to climb. Rock-About’s climbing camps include 5 great days of climbing at area locations—two days at the Austin Greenbelt, two days at Reimer’s Ranch and one day at the great Enchanted Rock. The Enchanted Rock trip also includes going through the really neat cave, along with climbing. Everyone’s born a climber, so why wait? See below for camp schedule.

2018 Camp Schedule:

Spring Break Camp: March 12th – March 16th

Week 1: June 4th – 8th
Week 2: June 11th – 15th
Week 3: June 18th -22nd
Week 4: June 25th – June 29th
Week 5: July 2nd – July 6th
Week 6: July 9th – July 13th
Week 7: July 16th – July 20th

Week 8: July 23rd ​- July 27th

Week 9: July 30th – August 3rd​

The cost for the camp is $399 per person. Gear is included—helmets, climbing shoes, harnesses and ropes. For more information, please visit rock-about.com/kids-camps.

Spend a legendary summer at the Paramount Theatre!

Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers something special. Perhaps it’s the uniquely themed camps or maybe it’s our dynamic faculty. One thing is certain, Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers a camp experience you won’t find anywhere else in Austin. But don’t just take our word for it…

This was the most organized, well-put-together, creative, structured, and fun camp any of my kids have ever attended. The communication was above and beyond amazing and my daughter can’t wait to come back next year!” – Parent of Paramount Camper

The Paramount Academy of the Arts will have 10 exciting weeks of summer camps for students entering 1st grade all the way through high school. This summer, the sessions are in convenient sites around Austin.  All final performances will be at the historic Paramount Theatre. No matter your interest, we have a camp for you!

Camp Paramount is a fun and fast-paced 2-week musical theatre camp where campers perform Broadway style musical numbers and iconic pop hits on the historic Paramount Stage! There are 5 sessions offered at locations around Austin with all final shows being performed on the Paramount stage.  All sessions are different and unique -join us for multiple sessions!

Camp Story Wranglers is inspired by our award winning, hugely popular in-school Paramount Story Wranglers program. Campers will explore story-writing, songwriting, costume and prop design, as well as acting, to create a new, thrilling, hilarious, weird, poignant, SNL-style, you-name-it production. There is one session offered at centrally located Maplewood Elementary School.

At Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp your child will have the chance to perform on the historic stage of the Paramount Theatre. They will hone their craft as a singer, dancer, actor and triplet threat performer. They will also channel their creativity and see their own original stories come to life. Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers experiences you won’t find anywhere else! We offer an experience that will create lifetime memories.

Registration and information can be found at www.austintheatre.org/camps, by email at summercamps@austintheatre.org or by phone at 512-692-0526.

Adventures await at McKinney Roughs Nature Park

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Campers ages 5 to 15 experience outdoor adventures at scenic McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Thirteen miles east of Austin, nestled along the Colorado River and the Lost Pines, McKinney Roughs Nature Park has 1,100 acres of pine forests, box canyons and post oak meadows to explore.

McKinney Roughs Nature Park summer camps are based on a child’s age at the time camp starts. Each week’s camp activities revolve around a different outdoor theme and are led by experienced camp counselors. Activities such as zip lining, mountain biking, river rafting, fishing and more are available to campers, as well as uncovering the native plant and animal species in the area.

“This will be the 20th year we’ve provided summer camp fun for campers at McKinney Roughs Nature Park,” said LCRA Parks Program Coordinator Erin Holley. “Our day camp is a great option for parents who want their children to have fun and educational outdoor experiences but still have them close to home.”

Outdoor Camp — $225 per week

Tonkawa campers (Ages 5-6) will visit Dino Adventure Park, climb the rock wall and participate in a camp-wide field day. In addition, there will be guided hikes, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Comanche (Ages 7-8) and Caddo (Ages 9-12) campers will visit Texas Memorial Museum, experience select high elements on the challenge course and raft the Colorado River or Lake Bastrop. This year, Caddo campers will have the opportunity to participate in two new camps: Fishing 101 and Riding the Roughs: Mountain Biking Basics ($550). In addition, there will be guided hikes, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Teen Adventure Camp — $225 per week

Teen campers (Ages 13-15) will swim at Bastrop State Park, experience the thrill of high elements and zip line on the challenge course,  take a river trip and work with the group to plan and execute an outdoor adventure.

Camp information

McKinney Roughs Nature Park provides up to eight weeks of day camp – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday – beginning June 11. A daily shuttle service from two convenient Austin locations (3700 Lake Austin Blvd. and 3505 Montopolis Drive) is available for an additional fee.

For more information and to register, visit lcra.org/camps or call 512–303–5073.

Take Center Stage at kidsActing!

kidsActing, Austin’s favorite and longest-operating year-round school for young performers, has offered engaging summer camps for children ages 4-18 since 1980. This year we’re going all out as we host award-winning single and multiple week camps — all of which culminate in performances for friends and family. Most importantly, kidsActing ensures a summer filled with friends and fun.

WHY ENROLL IN A CAMP AT KIDSACTING?

For starters, summer camps at kidsActing revolve around producing a show for family and friends. They’re designed to be FUN while also teaching kids how to audition, memorize lines, block scenes, sing and learn music (if it’s a music camp), dance or perform stage combat, and create and become characters who captivate audiences.

kidsActing camps are taught in easily digested blocks: new skills, review, fun. These mini-intensives are designed to create a trusting and connected team, encouraging kids to safely stretch outside their comfort zone, and experience creativity in a tactile way.

OUR MULTI-WEEK CAMPS

kidsActing’s multi-week camps are 3 or 4 weeks, for ages 8-18. This year’s multi-week camps include the 3-week, Full-Scale Play Production Treasure Island in June, and the 4-week, Full-Scale Musical Production School of Rock in July. There is also a Student Tech Theatre program for ages 13 and up.

Campers rehearse as well as perform at Center Stage Theatre, our full-sized venue. They learn to trust, listen, and communicate to build relationships on stage with their characters. Campers in a full-scale production experience a professionally produced show from first auditions to final bows.

Professional directors, choreographers, and vocal teachers run Treasure Island and School of Rock camps. Full-Scale plays and musicals also have professionally designed costumes, make-up/hair, sets, props, lights, sound, and live accompaniment (for musicals).

ONE-WEEK CAMPS

Our one-week camps are five full days of fun for various age groups from 5-16. This year, we’re offering several popular camps, including:

Triple Threat Musicals (Various age groups, 5-16)

Campers will sing, dance and act while playing fun theatre games. Kids will perform in a mini-musical revue complete with costumes, lights, live music, and above all, FUN. Each camp emphasizes a specific musical theme. Choose from: Aloha Moana, Annie, Beauty & the Beast, Descendants, High School Musical, Legally Blonde, Peter Pan, Sing, Tangled, and Trolls

Adventures in Acting (Various age groups 6-14)

Campers are invited to join an EPIC journey with no singing required! Campers interested in acting and stage combat become a character in an amazing adventure, and treat friends and family to a performance complete with costumes, lights, and props. There are great roles for everyone, and each camp emphasizes a specific theme. Choose from: Alice in Wonderland, Lightning Thief, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Glee! Show Choir (Various age groups 7-14)

In our Glee! Show Choir, our professional choreographer and vocal coach provide a great week of singing and dancing as a group. Kids get voice training from a professional, and learn to harmonize and dance like pros. Our summer theme is The Greatest Show! Broadway Hits, including selections from Hamilton and Matilda. At the end of the week, kids perform a fabulous show for family and friends.

Creative Kids (Half-Day for Ages 4-8)

These half-day Triple Threat camps are playful fun for our younger theatre kids. Each camp has a specific musical theme where the young ones work together to prepare a mini-musical revue, complete with costumes, lights, props, and live music. There are great roles for everyone, and each camp emphasizes a specific musical theme. Choose from Aloha Moana, Peter Pan, and Sing.

ACT NOW!

Award-Winning kidsActing summer camps are a place where children of all ages will not only get the chance to learn valuable skills and have fun, but also to let their star shine all summer long. kidsActing camps are hosted in over 15 locations in and around Austin. It’s easy to find a summer camp in your neighborhood. Visit www.kidsActingStudio.com for more details, or call 512-836-5437.

Idea Lab Kids

Idea Lab Kids provides a tremendous balance of FUN and EDUCATION through uniquely developed and engaging STEM Curriculum.

 

The culture Idea Lab Kids has created over the years has led to a tremendous program, showing off some of the most unique camps in town. Each year, we strive to develop a new and unique set of programs that include the most up to date Technology and Tools for learning in a STEM environment.

By doing this, Idea Lab can provide your family a terrific opportunity for summer learning. Don’t miss out on your child being an Idea Lab kid!

Have an EPIC summer at Girl Scout camp!

Girl Scouts of Central Texas camp is an amazing experience that builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. It’s a place where girls come ready to play, explore, discover, and have the time of their life. It’s a wonderful place for girls to spend their summer, it’s accredited through the American Camp Association, and most of all it’s FUN. Every girl should have the chance to spend summer trying new things, exploring the great outdoors, making incredible memories with awesome new friends, and growing under the supervision and mentorship of highly-trained camp staff. At Girl Scouts of Central Texas camps, you’ll find something for every girl.

“We have so many cool camps,” said Lolis Garcia-Baab, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Girl Scouts of Central Texas. “For older girls, we’ve got a camp with the fire department. We’ve partnered with our fire chief, and she’s going to have female first responders putting on a camp for our older girls. So that’s going to be really awesome.”

There are dozens of other great camps on deck this year, including a cyber security camp, Girl vs. Wild (the ultimate Survivor-like camp challenge), and the Star Wars-themed Jedi Academy and Rebel Explorers camps, just to name a few. Campers will also enjoy Wayfinders (which teaches campers how to navigate using the stars) and the culinary Bake, Blend & Chop for aspiring chefs. There’s also horseback riding, and even wand making and playing a lively game of Quidditch at our “Harriett Potter” camp!

 

Girl Scout camps offer outdoor adventures, wacky water fun at the pool, team challenges, creative crafts, games and so much more! Additional camp themes include:

 

Wilderness Explorers—teaches classic camping and wilderness skills

Cowgirl Splash— learning how to ride horses, going on a trail ride, kayaking on the lake

Smooth Sailing— master sailing skills by practicing knots and rigging a boat, learn about safe capsize recovery and captaining a boat

Engineers to the Rescue— build a water filter, wind-powered crank, rubber band powered car and more

Flashlights and Fairy Tales— bring favorite fairy tale characters to life by learning their skills and having personalized adventures, like shooting arrows like Merida, swimming like Ariel, and searching for Winnie the Pooh in Camp Texlake’s 100-acre wood

At Girl Scout summer camp, the adventure is high, the fun is big, and the experience is one-of-a-kind. In a world of screens—smartphones, laptops, TVs and tablets—it’s the perfect opportunity to get away from it all.  Whether just coming for the day, or a two-week overnight adventure, at Girl Scout camp, girls learn new skills, meet new people, and try things they’ve never done before.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas also believes in the importance of experiencing camp for all young people, and works hard to make sure camp is financially within reach for every Girl Scout! Our 2018 Camp Guide is an invaluable resource to help a girl choose the camp program that’s right for her. Visit www.gsctx.org to learn about what makes each of our adventures unique, what to expect during registration, and where to find answers about what our campers can expect during their stay. Register now to help a girl go to camp and become a woman who shapes tomorrow.

Game Worlds

Does your kid spend all day dreaming up the next big video game, do they want to bring the creatures in their sketchbook to life, or love the feeling of cracking codes and saving the world? Then Game Worlds summer camp is the place for you!

At Game Worlds, kids learn the skills needed to make their very own video games. Real-world game developers guide kids through a crash course into how games are made, and help students bring their vision to life through practical skills such as programming, design, testing, business, writing, audio engineering, and art. Students come away with a game they’ve created while learning game development.

The curriculum is developed by game developers, which means that students will always get relevant, practical, and up-to- date knowledge. On Friday, the students present their work to a panel of Game Industry professionals for prizes and feedback, and and get to celebrate with a Friday Night Pizza Party that goes until 9pm!

 

“The Game Worlds camp was amazing. Not only for educational purposes, but for my son to feel a part of a team.” -Erin, Parent.

 

“I just wanted to thank you guys for the great experience I had at camp, it was amazing! Game Worlds summer camp has really sparked my interest and talent for art to a whole other level. In the future i want to go to art school, I feel that this experience has given me another reason to become a artist.” -Natalia, Student

 

“The Game Worlds camp was an excellent experience for my son. I have not seen anything motivate him to do computer programming, not books, not computer game tours, nothing at all; until he went to the Game Worlds camp. His excitement over what he created has fueled his learning. This camp has met and surpassed my expectations on how it has changed my son’s perspective on game programming! He said “he is sad the camp ended for him, wishes he can go back again and do some more fun stuff”, that is evidence of this camp’s value.”- Jeni, Parent

 

Website: www.gameworldscamp.com

Dates: June 8-August 17 (1 week sessions throughout summer)

Location: ACC Highland Business Center, 5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin TX

Times: 7:30am-5:30pm

Cost: $550-650

Ages: 8-18

Includes: Healthy catered lunch, equipment and software, Friday Night Pizza Party, T-shirts and Prizes

Discounts are available: http://gameworldscamp.com/registration-details/

To Register: http://gameworldscamp.com/register/

Contact email: Alicia at  aandrew@gameworldscamps

Contact number: 512-609-0052

Go Around the World in 50 Days with Extend-A-Care!

Extend-A-Care for Kids Summer Day Camp is the place to keep your children physically active and engaged in learning activities while making new friends and enjoying new experiences. An enriching, fun-filled childcare program licensed by the State of Texas, Extend-A-Care offers camp sites at local elementary schools— including Andrews, Cunningham, Dawson, Elm Grove, Kyle, Palm and Pleasant Hill. The camp runs from 7:15 a.m. (7 a.m. for Hays) to 6:30 p.m. each day. Mid-morning snack and afternoon snack are provided, and fee assistance is available for qualifying families. Infant & preschool program services are available during summer as well.

This summer, during Extend-A-Care’s “Around the World in 50 Days” Summer Camp, our centers will embark on a multicultural fantasy voyage around the world, learning the customs, crafts, and cuisine of destinations as diverse as Africa and Alaska, from the rainforest to the Sahara! Sessions include Island Getaway!, From Russia with Love, Rescue the Rainforest!, Make Room for China!, Arabian Days and Nights, Vive la France!, African Adventures, I’ll See You, in C-U-B-A!, North to Alaska! and Home Away from Home.

Mornings will begin with mindfulness yoga exercises guided by the book Yoga for Children by Lisa Flynn. Campers will also move beyond technology consumption, and into creation with Makerspace tools and kits, as well as MaKey MaKey challenges— including a banana piano and musical marshmallows. Other fun resources for this summer include Little Kids First Big Book of the World from Nat Geo Kids, Feel the Beat (with CD) by Marilyn Singer, and Travel Book, The Lonely Planet Kids: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World.

Children will also participate in afternoon swim trips at local pools weekly, weather permitting. Parents complete swim surveys to inform staff of their children’s swimming abilities. Extend-A-Care also provides water safety curriculum to the children prior to their first trip. Children must accompany their groups on field trips and swimming trips.  All children are encouraged to swim; however, they do not have to swim. To ensure, at the most, a 1:10 adult to child ratio at the pool, children not participating will be required to sit along the edge of the pool near a group leader for proper supervision.

Children will participate in weekly field trips as well. Parents will be notified about the time and location at least 48 hours prior to the field trips and swimming trips.  Extend-A-Care does provide afternoon rest breaks for younger children to nap; and older children to rest or have quiet time.

With dozens of amazing camp experiences inspired by cultures across the globe, Extend-A-Care is a one-of-a-kind camp with something for every kid. For more information, and to register your kids for Extend-A-Care’s “Around the World in 50 Days” Summer Camp, please visit www.eackids.org.

Enjoy painting, drawing, mosaics, jewelry making and more at The Contemporary Austin!

The natural setting at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria has been fostering creativity and enhancing visual awareness for visitors for more than 50 years, and this summer is no exception with a wide variety of programs for all ages!

Highly qualified art teachers guide students in small classes (12 to 13 kids) as they learn to observe the beauty that surrounds them and appreciate it through the creation of art. We’re looking forward to artistically inspiring the more than 2,500 kids who are expected to enroll this summer in classes on the gorgeous 12-acre historic site at The Contemporary Austin – Art School at Laguna Gloria.

Classes fill quickly, so don’t wait to sign up! Register online at www.thecontemporaryaustin.org, or by calling 512-323- 6380. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Chaparral Ice Center

The Coolest camps in town are at Chaparral Ice Center.  Catch the Olympics Bug and learn how to ice skate!

Spring break camp is your first shot at attending our Camp De Champs camp.  Your child will spend their day learning how to ice skate, playing games with friends, learning off-ice and training techniques doing arts and crafts and much more.  March 12th to 16th.   Enroll now, space is limited.

During the summer session, we offer two different camps to suit any child’s needs.

Camp De Champs offers 11 weeks of figure skating and hockey skating instruction.  Kids receive two lessons daily as well as public skating time, off-ice training, goal setting, arts and crafts, and a new, optional performance

recital on the Thursday evening of each week.

Camp Avalanche is our general day camp that is offered only during the summer.  We offer 11 weeks of fun.  Your child can spend their summer going on the most outrageous adventures across Austin. Our campers fill their days swimming, going to the park, going on field trips, doing arts and crafts and of course ice skating.  Field trip options include Typhoon Texas, Dart ‘Em Up, Zipline Adventures at Candlelight Ranch, Quest Wakeboard and water Adventure Park and more.  Our staff are amazing, and our campers return year after year as a testament to the quality programming we provide. Visit Our Website: www.chaparralice.com

Chaparral Ice Center- 2525 West Anderson Lane, Suite 400, Austin TX, 78757

Camp Balcones Springs

Established in 1993, Camp Balcones Springs was founded on Christian principles and is among Texas’ most progressive camps, redefining the camp experience for children, ages 7 to 17, and having one of the highest counselor-to-camper ratios in the industry. With unique activities and traditions CBS is the perfect place for your camper to call home. At Camp Balcones Springs our mission is to change lives for the better through fun, relationships, and spiritual impact.

Go full STEAM ahead at Austin STEAM Scout Camp!

It’s the fourth year for the Austin STEAM Scout Camp, and this year, they’re gearing up to explore one of Earth’s deepest and most mysterious natural wonders with TechLab: Caves.

“Each year, the Austin STEAM Scout Camp trains youth to live in extreme environments,” said Jessica Snider, Director of STEM, Conservation and Sustainability, Boy Scouts Capitol Area Council. “This year we’re exploring how to survive the extreme environment of caves.”

The Austin STEAM Camp provides the type of engagement, excitement and hands-on activities required for successful early STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education. Camp attendees use tools like DSLR cameras, laser cutter/engravers, 3D printers, robotics kits, hydrology display boards, Adobe Creative Suite and Labview software to explore, design and create.

New classes for this year’s camp include a welding class for older youth, and a CNC woodworking class, where the kids can use CNC (computer numeric control) routers. For younger kids, there will be two different tracks, covering topics including programming, animation, physics and geology.

Campers are taught by professional staff assembled through Austin Independent School District, STEM Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. The camp believes that the future of a creative and tech savvy population in Austin rests in engaging and educating children. In a world where more and more jobs require knowledge of STEM, the Austin STEAM Scout Camp is a positive learning experience for every camp goer. In addition to powering full “STEAM” ahead into the world of caves, this year’s camp will also focus on collaboration and the importance of treating others well.

“This year, we’re going to talk about collaboration and inclusiveness,” said Snider. “One of the things the camp’s really working on is helping kids start to work in collaborative environments, to communicate their ideas, and to hear and value each other’s ideas.”

The camp is open to boys and girls entering the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth grades, and camp participants do not have to be a registered Boy Scout or Girl Scout to attend.  Week 1 runs June 11-June 15, Week 2 runs June 18-June 22, Week 3 runs June 25-June 29, Week 4 runs July 9-July 13, and Week 5 runs July 16-20. There are 200 spaces available each week, with seven class options for ages 11 and up, and two different class set options for younger campers, giving them a broad and thorough survey of the various disciplines.

“The younger kids go through all of our classes,” said Snider. “One of the interesting things we found is that, when younger kids come in, most want to do robotics, but by taking all four classes, they gained a broader interest in all of the topics.”

The Austin STEAM Scout Camp also believes STEAM should available to all youth, and is working to ensure opportunities are in place so anyone who wants to attend is able to do so. Generous grants have allowed the camp to provide scholarships for several students from disadvantaged areas. It’s all part of the camp’s mission to share the importance of STEAM with students from all walks of life.

“Attendance in a camp like this can make the big different in students’ STEM readiness,” said Snider. “We aim to make sure all youth know that STEAM can be for them.”

Registration is $325 per youth, and includes a T-shirt, patch, flash drive and two nutritious snacks daily. For registration and more info, visit www.techlab.camp today!

 

 

Austin company Waldo Photos has new way to find kids’ camp photos

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

Every July, as I send my kids to a three-week camp near Waco, I become a crazy person. Each day, I log into the camp’s photo site and begin searching like a mad woman for proof of life. On days, when there might be a happy, smiling photos of one of them, I’m over the moon. On days when I can’t find them anywhere, I’m in the depths of depression and worry. Are they having a good time? Are they participating? Is everyone playing nicely with others? Do they have any friends.

This whole process takes hours. Each day.

Austin-based Waldo Photos wants to change that. This summer, it’s working with camps like T Bar M Camps, Camp Balcones Springs and Still Water Camps to use its facial recognition software to find particular kids’ photos among the hundreds they upload each day and text parents the photos of their children.

Chief operating officer Rodney Rice started Waldo Photos because he was just like me. For the last 20 years, he and his wife would spend hours each night trying to find their three kids’ photos at camp. It was a shame, he says, because it was the only week out of the year when they had time to themselves, and yet, they were spending hours looking for their kids.

“What we’ve tried to do is make it simple,” Rice says.

The camp registers to be part of Waldo Photos and gives each parent a code. Parents then download the app and put in a code that registers them to participate. They then upload a photo of their child and Waldo Photos begins searching for their child’s photos among the hundreds the camp uploads.

Once Waldo Photo’s software finds their child’s photos, it texts to the parents (and grandparents and campers themselves or whomever they designate). As more photos get uploaded, they get more texts of their child. They can then post the photos to the social media of their choice. They can control what other people see, versus the camp posting all their photos on Facebook for all to see. The photo parents upload to Waldo Photos to recognize their child is also secured from public view, Rice says. “Security is at the cornerstone of what we do,” Rice says. “We take it really seriously.”

Parents pay $15 for a one-week camp and $25 for a camp that is two weeks or more. The camp receives 50 percent of that money. Most of the camps have put it toward a scholarship fund.

“It’s a win win for everyone,” Rice says.

The technology took Waldo Photos two years to perfect. Children’s images are more complicated than adults, Rice says, because their facial features aren’t as defined, and often kids have similar features. Their features are also changing, so a recent picture to compare it to is important as well.

The technology, though, has been “crazy unbelievable” when it comes to what it has been able to pull up from the huge pile of photos it searches through. “We were worried about the action shots, the jumping of the cliffs,” Rice says. They were also worried about face painting, too. “It’s been pretty cool to see what people are getting.”

The hope is that after multiple years of pulling kids’ photos parents will also be able to very easily create a memory book for camp without having to go through all the photos again.

For the camps, Waldo Photos is also creating a dashboard where the camp can see how many times each camper was photographed. “They want to know that they are capturing all their campers,” Rice says.

Waldo Photos can also do this for events like family reunions, conventions and weddings. waldophotos.com

 

 

 

Waldo Photos curates a camp’s photos and texts parents their child’s photos.

How to survive parties, school, camps in a gluten, dairy and egg-free world from chef Amy Fothergill

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

San Francisco-area chef Amy Fothergill had to put her training to use in a different way when she had two children with food sensitivities. Daughter Kate, 9, has flare ups of her eczema when she eats gluten or dairy. Her son, Santo, 11, has intestinal reactions when he has gluten.

Five years ago her family went gluten-free. Three years ago, they also eliminated dairy and eggs, but have since added back in eggs. While they never confirmed that Kate has celiac disease, they did do genetic testing that found that both Fothergill and her husband are carriers for the genetic mutation that people with celiac disease have and she’s noticed that has better digestion, has more energy, more restful sleeping and overall improved health.

Fothergill, who has a book “The Warm Kitchen:Gluten Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love,” offers us these suggestions for parents who have children with food allergies or intolerances, particularly gluten, about how to adjust to school and social activities.

Have good communication with teachers and other parents. Be vocal about what your child’s food needs are and be proactive about finding solutions. However, don’t expect that the teacher or parent will change what they are planning to suit your child. It’s nice when it happens, but not realistic to depend on that.

Try to pre-plan with similar food alternates. Fothergill finds out ahead of time when there will be a party at school or what a birthday party host will be serving.

If it’s not what her children can eat, she will make her children the gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free equivalent if that is possible. A teacher even asked her to make the whole class gluten-free spaghetti for an event so that it wouldn’t be an issue.

Try to always have food on-hand. Fothergill keeps a freezer of food, especially baked goods for parties. She also sets up teachers with either pre-packaged cookies or frozen cupcakes they can keep in the freezer at school for when parties happen. Of course, on the occasion when her kids don’t have access to an alternative, they learn that “they can’t always get what the want,” she says. “Sometimes you have to wait.”

Eat before an event. If her kids are headed to a play date, she has them make a gluten-free sandwich beforehand. If there aren’t good choices at the event, they won’t be hungry.

Bring something with you. She also tries to have snacks on-hand wherever they go.

Learn where there could be cross-contamination. They stopped eating things like corn chips and fries because of the cross-contamination that happens when a restaurant fries the onion rings or the chicken nuggets in the same fryer as the chips or the fries. She’s also learned to always ask questions even if you would think something like a risotto would be gluten-free, but you find out that that particular chef puts flour in his risotto. She’s also learned to look at beauty products as well.

Empower kids to be their own advocates. It gets easier with time, but her kids have learned how to talk to adults and their friends about their food needs. “It makes them independent,” she says.

That’s not to say there are never hitches. Last year, her son went on an overnight field trip. She had checked about what food was going to be served in advance and had made arrangements for some gluten-free alternatives, but when the actual trip happened, her son didn’t have access to the gluten-free food, and he didn’t want to ask about it. He paid the price the next day with discomfort.

Here is Fothergill’s recipe for cupcakes her kids can eat:

Dairy and Egg-free (and Gluten-free) Vanilla Cupcakes

Milk substitute:

1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice

1 cup milk substitute

Egg substitute:

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. water

Dry ingredients:

2 cups Amy’s Gluten-free Four Blend

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. xanthan gum

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable shortening, melted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cupcake pans with liners or grease a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan.

Measure the milk substitute and add the vinegar or lemon juice. Mix the applesauce, baking powder, oil and water in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum together. Add the milk substitute, egg substitute, coconut or vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix together smooth.

Using a hinged scooper, portion batter into cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake about 15-18 minutes. Cupcakes will spring back when they are done. For cake, bake for about 27-30 minutes.

Cool pans on wire racks for 5 minutes then remove cupcakes from pans, place cupcakes back on rack and cool to room temperature before frosting, about an hour.

Keep the leftovers refrigerated after one day so the cupcakes or cake stays fresher or freeze for future use.

Amy’s Gluten-free Flour Blend

3 cups brown rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour or starch

1 cup potato starch (not flour)

1 cup millet flour

Mix together and keep in an air-tight container.

Note: If you can’t find or don’t want to use millet flour, you can substitute with an equal amount of white rice or brown rice flour.

Dairy-free Creamy Frosting

1 cup vegetable shortening, softened

4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tsp. milk substitute

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the shortening for 30 seconds. Add 4 cups of the sugar, vanilla and milk substitute. Mix until blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add more sugar if the frosting is too thin.

Makes enough for 24 cupcakes or one large cake.

 

— “The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love,”

Amy Fothergill

 

Amy Fothergill is a chef who knows how to cook for gluten-free kids because she has two.

 

Before you forget: Evaluate this summer’s camps for next year

Jessica Gonzales, from the Oak Hill YMCA, is outnumbered as her camp kids spray her with water guns as part of the festivities in the summer camp Olympics. The YMCA of Austin is hosting its 2015 Summer Camp Olympics Friday, July 24, at the Texas School for the Deaf. The Summer Camp Olympics is designed to engage children in good old fashioned fun and to get a little wet on a hot day. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

Every year you swear your going to write down some things about the summer camps you’ve been sending your kids to so you’ll remember them when it’s time to sign up next year. And then you don’t. Then come January or February, when it’s time to start signing up for camps again, you think, “Huh, I think my kid liked that camp, but I can’t remember why.” “Huh, I remember there was something about that camp that was problematic … what was it?”

The really horrible things you remember. The OK things you don’t. We’re here to help. Even if your child has aged out of a camp, jot down some notes because it will help you figure out a camp or activity for the next year.

Print out these questions below to help you and your kids put your mental notes onto paper, or at least take some electronic notes and mail them to yourself based on this evaluation. You also can add your own questions to this evaluation.

Name of camp:


Contact with phone number, email, website: 


Location:


Was it easy to get to?


Length of camps in weeks, hours: 


Price:


Was it worth the price?


Were meals and snacks provided or did I provide them?


Other equipment or supplies needed?


Did I feel my child was safe and well-cared for at this camp?


My impressions of the staff at this camp:

 


My child loved this camp because …

 


My child did not like this camp because …

 


Things my child wishes would have been different: 

 


Things my child would be upset about if it wasn’t there next year: 

 


Friends my child made that we should connect with during the school year:

 


Children my child should not be with next year if possible: 

 


Things I liked about this camp:

 


Things I would like to see changed for next year?

 


Does my child want to go back?

 


Do I want my child to go back?

 


Does this camp offer school-year holiday coverage or after-school care?

 


Would my child want to attend those other activities?

 


 

 

 

Thinking ahead to summer camp: Save the dates for when to register for popular camps

6/22/05 Dylan Hoover, 9, John O'Farrell, 9, and Cosmo Nixon, 9, (l-r) get ready for a canoe adventure on Town Lake on Wednesday. Counselor Alia Strawn helps them get into the canoe at the Rowing Dock on Stratford Drive. They are all participating in the Austin Nature and Science Center Adventure Camp. The camp runs all summer long with different sessions throughout the summer. Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando
nvillalpando@statesman.com

January often feels too early to think about summer camp, right? It’s not.

Some of Austin’s most popular summer camps open their registration this month or next month and are full within days, sometimes minutes after opening for registration.

Here are four that tend to sell out quickly:

The Thinkery

Science, technology, engineering, art and math-themed camps. Themes include designing and engineering a storybook problem, exploring STEAM in our city, engineering with sound, flight, robots and Minecraft.

Ages: 4-12

Location: The Thinkery camps are at four locations, including at the Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.; (East);  National Instruments, 11500 N. MoPac Blvd. (North near Domain); Magellan International School, 7938 Great Northern Blvd. (North Central); International School of Texas, 4402 Hudson Bend Road (West near Lakeway); Emergent Academy, 1044 Liberty Park Drive (Southwest).

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for part-day pre-kindergarten-kindergarten sessions.  Extended care beginning at 8 a.m. and going until 5:30 p.m. for $50, but not available at National Instruments. One week sessions June 4-Aug. 17

Cost: $330 for members, $365 for non-members for first-graders-fifth-graders, $350 for members, $385 non-members for pre-kindergarten-kindergarten full-day, $80 off for part-day.

How to register: Registration for Thinkery members is happening now through Jan. 15. Non-members can register Jan. 16. Register online at thinkeryaustin.org or over the phone at 512-469-6201. You have to pay the full price to reserve your spot.

What if you don’t get in: The Thinkery does not maintain a waiting list, but you can check back on the website to see if a spot opens up.

 


 

Austin Science & Nature Center

Nature and science-based camps based on a theme each week. Some camps include off-site campouts.

Ages: 4-11 (half day for ages 4-5, full day for ages 5-11)

Location: 2389 Stratford Drive

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for full day in one- or two-week sessions, June 11- Aug. 17. Before care beginning at 7:15 a.m. and late care until 6 p.m. is also available.

Cost: $200 standard price for one week, $150 for half day camp, $250 for a camp with camp outs

How to register: Go to austintexas.gov/ansc and select online registration. Select the camps you want. Registration is open to Austin residents 10 a.m. Feb. 10 and 1 p.m. Feb. 10 to non-residents. You pay a deposit for 20 percent of class price. If you don’t know your user name or password or have other questions, call the center at 512-974-3888 before Feb. 10.

What if you don’t get in: Complete registration and ask to be put on the waiting list.

 


 

 

6/21/2012 – Jay Janner/American-Statesman – Micah Baldwin, 6, cleans his paint brush during the Summer Arts Adventure Camp at the Dougherty Arts Center on Thursday June 21, 2012.

Dougherty Art Center

The City of Austin art center offers affordable art camps.

Ages: 5-12

Location: Dougherty Art Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in two-week sessions, June 11-Aug. 3, you can also add a before camp and after camp session

Cost: $432 for two weeks, $50 additional for before camp and $50 for after camp

How to register: Go to austintexas.gov/dougherty and select online registration. Select the camps you want. Registration is open to Austin residents 10 a.m. Feb. 17 and 1 p.m. Feb. 17 to non-residents. You pay the full amount of the class at the time of registration. If you’ve created an account before and don’t know what your user name and password is, contact the office in advance to get it reset, 512-974-4040, DACschool@austintexas.gov.

What if you don’t get in: Call the office or email and ask to be placed on the waiting list.

Crenshaw Athletic Club

A full-day camp with gym, computer time, field trips, swimming, games.

Ages: 5 1/2 to 10

Location: Crenshaw Athletic Club, 5000 Fairview Drive

When: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in three weeks sessions; dates to be determined, but tentatively June 4, June 25, July 16 and Aug. 6 (two weeks).

Cost: $720-$750 for each three week session

How to register: Fill out the registration form on  crenshaws.com and put it in the mail on March 1, not any earlier. Include a $100 deposit. Or you can register in-person beginning at 6 a.m. on March 5, but the mailed registrations postmarked March 1, 2, and 3 will be taken before you. Mailed registrations with an earlier date will be taken after the March 5 registrations.

What if you don’t get it: Asked to be put on the waiting list.

You can get more summer camp ideas by checking out last year’s camp guide, campguide.austin360.com. We’ll be introducing this year’s guide on Feb. 16.

You can also get inspiration at Austin Family’s Summer Camp Fair: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Palmer Events Center.

Know of another camp that frequently fills up that you want us to investigate when and how to register? Email nvillalpando@statesman.com.

 

Cutlines:

Micah Baldwin, 6, cleans his paint brush during the Summer Arts Adventure Camp at the Dougherty Arts Center.  Jay Janner/American-Statesman 2012

Dylan Hoover, 9, John O’Farrell, 9, and Cosmo Nixon, 9, get ready for a canoe adventure  as part of a Austin Nature & Science Center camp. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2005

Kids learn can learn to do all kinds of engineering skills at Thinkery camps. Photo by Hunter Douglas

 

 

 

 

Get ready for summer camp with these tips

4/9/97 Ralph Barrera/AA-S; Eco Camp goers Rene Ruedas, center in boat, and Shauntey Walker, center back in boat, try to manuever pass another canoeist, Juan Carlos Ibarra, with paddle in air, without colliding in the waters of Lake Travis at Camp Texlake Wednesday morning. These kids, all from Barrington Elementary School, combined with kids from Zavala Elementary were attending Ecocamp, sponsored by the LCRA and BFI Industries to educate inner-city students about the enviornment in a natural non-urban setting and celebrate April as Earth Month. About 50 kids from the Young Scientist group at the schools camped overnight and learned about composting and water analysis, and tried their hand at canoeing, and a nature hike. (feature only)

For this year’s camp guide, we offer a choose-your-own adventure to find the choose the right camp based on your child’s personality.

We’ve been writing about camp for 25 years and have shared a lot of tips.

Here are some of our favorite recent camp tip stories:

How to pick a camp

How to find the right summer camp for your kids

The questions every parent should ask when choosing a summer camp

Know what to ask before signing kids up for camp

Let kids try something new, challenging at camps

Our to-do list

Get your camp plans made with our to-do list

Pick your camp: How to map out your summer schedule

Plan for camp Mommy or Daddy now

Safety/medical

Get swim lessons now before kids head off to camp

Take lice precautions before sending kids off to camp

Get your physical, medical forms lined up

Who’s on the list to pick up your child from camp?

Keep kids safe around water this summer

A guide to sun screen and sun protection 

Packing tips

Find the right containers to pack for camp

Get packing for camp with these tips

Special considerations

Talk to camp early about child with different physical, emotional needs 

Tips on paying for camp

Once at camp

Letters from camp: What they say and don’t say about your child

 

Camp for a Day

Left to right, Quinn Callahan, 10, Clara Brady, 8, Asha Rountree, 10, and Lizzy Brady, 10, prepare to rock climb at the Rock About Climbing Adventures Camp in Reimer's Ranch Wednesday July 13, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando

Clara Brady, 8, scampers up the rock face at Reimers Ranch Park in Dripping Springs. Below her, Asha Rountree, 10, belays the ropes under the watchful eye of Adam Mitchell, the head of Rock About Climbing Adventures Camp.

He gives out instructions like “there’s a hole right there,” or “all the way over with your left hand.” He tells the belayer to give more slack or to avoid crossing the ropes.

In North Austin at Fantastic Magic Camp, Alex Friedman teaches a group of about 20 kids a sleight-of-hand trick using a bead and two shoestrings. “Notice what I did,” he says as he teaches them how to “tie” the strings in a way that looks like the bead is attached to them when it’s not really. Then he shows them how to sneakily palm the bead to hide it from an audience.

In Southwest Austin, three different groups of kids are making art inspired by pets at Art Garage. The preschoolers are making airplanes out of paperclips for “Paw Patrol.” The grade-schoolers are making story quilts using geometric designs done in oil pastels, washed by watercolors, based on Faith Ringgold’s work. The middle-schoolers are painting paper they will later cut and paste into Pete Comer-inspired birds. Elsewhere, an older group is exploring the Blanton Museum and visiting an artist’s studio before coming back to the Art Garage to create art.

These are three of the camps held one day last summer in Austin. Whether you’ve got preschoolers or high-schoolers, Austin’s camp scene has something for everyone all summer long. Your challenge: finding the one that your kids want to attend, at the right week, for the right price and in the right part of town.

Higher and higher

Rock About Climbing Adventure Camp is an adventurous kid’s dream. Each day for five days, Mitchell takes kids to a different natural climbing wall. They start out with easier climbs at the Barton Creek greenbelt the first two days, then head to Reimers Ranch Park for two days, then finish the week at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Each day they climb in the morning, stop for lunch, and then go for a swim in a natural creek or pool. At Enchanted Rock, they also climb through a cave.

It’s a small group, so each kid gets individual attention, and they can climb as many times as they want, Mitchell says. He encourages each kid to at least try a climb once.

Last year, Lizzy Brady, 10, was encouraged to climb, even though she wasn’t as eager as her sisters. “It’s fun,” she says, “but scary. I don’t like to climb. I cried the whole way up.”

Mitchell assures her. “It’s not dangerous,” he says. “You know you have a lot of protection.”

“Yes,” she answers him, then adds, “swimming is a lot of fun.”

A future rock climbing champion she might not become, but she’s encouraged to try this climb.

Safety is always at the forefront. The climbers learn how to communicate with one another and check the ropes before they start to climb. “They’ve got to be responsible for someone else,” Mitchell says. “It’s amazing what that one thing will teach you.”

Because it’s a small group, with only two climbers at a time, Mitchell is there to remind them what to do and make sure they are being safe first.

 

Mitchell supplies the helmet, the harness and the climbing shoes. The kids just need to bring a lunch, water, a towel and swim gear.

“Oh, this is too cool,” Asha says as she gets to the rock face they’re going to climb that day.

The Brady sisters, who in addition to Clara and Lizzy include older sister Kate, 12, have climbed indoor rock walls but never outside before they tried this camp.

“This is way more fun than other camps,” Kate Brady says. She likes that it’s a small camp as well as that it’s outside and they get to hike and swim.

Quinn Callahan, 10, is excited as he rappels down the rock. “I made it all the way to the top!” he says. “I could have climbed more and more.”

Abracadabra

Fantastic Magic Camp attendees gather around the main room as they wait for camp to start. Then comes the announcement: “Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for. You’ve been waiting for it, and you don’t even know it.” This day, an ordinary Thursday in July, will now be known as Judi Day. Why? Because an attendee named Judi is having a birthday, and each year her birthday is forgotten. Judi also has become sort of the camp scapegoat each session, and so to honor her, it will be Judi Day and everyone will be named Judi. (Oh, and the real Judi is totally loving all this attention!)

Make sense? No? Don’t worry. A lot of Fantastic Magic Camp doesn’t make sense unless you’re a camper in it … and then, once you start as a camper, you might not ever leave. Seriously. You might turn into a counselor in training and then a counselor. That’s what happened to Friedman, who, at 19, is a college student at Brandeis University, but he’s been at camp since he was 6. “I’ve always had magic stuff with me,” he says. Anytime people find out he knows magic, they come up to him and ask, “Oh, show me a trick!” he says.

He starts kids off with a few simple tricks as well as teaching them magic terms and bringing more and more difficult tricks to the older kids.

While kids are learning from Friedman in the big room, another set of counselors and counselors in training are teaching juggling. Kids are spinning plates and moving diabolo sticks in the air.

“I really want to learn how to do the swords,” says Gavin McFarlen, 11. He has tried it. “I’m still alive,” he says. “I haven’t been hurt yet.”

In a different room, the youngest kids are making puppets out of paper plates. Each day, it’s a different kind of puppet, and not just making them but giving them names and personalities.

Fantastic Magic Camp has been running for 24 years and tried a variety of classes. No year or day is the same.

 

 

“I love that I get to learn new things,” says camper Kat O’Brien, 12, who has been coming for two years.

Fantastic Magic Camp caters to all kinds of kids, including those who might have trouble in traditional social settings or have anxiety, attention deficit disorder or are on the autism spectrum. “I like how accepted everyone is,” says camper Hayden Misenti, 12, who has been at camp since age 7. “There’s all different kinds of people.”

Hayden also likes the performance academy that happens at the end of each session. “It allows people to show off,” Hayden says.

Director Peter Hinrichs, who goes by the stage name Peter the Adequate, says parents will tell him all the time that “my son or daughter found their people” at camp.

Wild about art

At the Art Garage each week, art takes on a different theme. On this particular week it’s all about pets, tied to the movie “The Secret Life of Pets.” Each group, no matter how young, is making art based on the masterpieces of artists who came before them. The kids study the works of the masters as well as contemporary artists with each project.

In the youngest group, each table of four kids is named after a different artist. The instructor calls for the Monet table or the Van Gogh table as they take turns flying their Da Vinci planes.

Each group makes art in a variety of media, from paper sculpture to clay to paintings to collage to sewing. Some days they work on a couple of little projects; other days they might be working on one big project or take the next step on a project they’ve already started.

 

 

“I love animals, and I love art, and then putting them together is awesome!” says Erin Shick, 11.

While each work is based on a famous artist, the kids make it their own by drawing or painting what they love: “Minecraft,” their own pets, “Pokemon,” San Francisco.

Aubry Morrison, 7, is painting a story quilt that includes her favorite colors and her pet cat, Charlie. “I like painting and drawing,” she says. “I love all the art.”

Five-year-old Izzy Mattis is enthusiastic about camp. “There’s lot to do,” she says. “We wish we could never go home.”

 

 

ROCK ABOUT CLIMBING ADVENTURES CAMP

What: Learn to rock climb at outdoor climbing areas.

Where: Meets at Seismic Wall Barton Creek greenbelt, 3755 S. Capital of Texas Highway

Who: Ages 9 and older

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., except on Fridays when it is 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One-week camps June 5-Aug. 4.

Cost: $399

Information: (512) 415-0804 , rock-about.com

 

FANTASTIC MAGIC CAMP

What: Learn magic, juggling, puppeteering and more.

Where: 7500 Woodrow Ave.

Who: Ages 5-12

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with extended time from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two-week camps June 12-Aug. 18; one-week camp June 5-9.

Cost: $590 for two-week camps, $295 for one-week camp

Information: 512-988-3045, magiccamp.com

 

ART GARAGE CAMPS

Art camps

What: Half-day art camps with themes like galaxy, sharks, rainbows, “Pokemon,” Disney, monsters, dragons, animals, horses, comics and France

Where: 11190 Circle Drive, Suite 202

Who: Ages 4-13; camps are divided by age group.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an early and aftercare option. One-week camps June 5-Aug. 18.

Cost: $269

 

Van-A-Gogh-Go!

What: It’s a traveling art class. Visit the Blanton Museum, Contemporary Austin downtown or Laguna Gloria, plus art studios and public works, and learn techniques like wheel pottery throwing, metalsmithing and bookbinding.

Who: Sixth- to 10th-graders

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. One-week camps June 12-July 28.

Cost: $445-$465

Information: 512-852-9900, theartgarageaustin.com

 

 

Girls Empowerment Network’s Pathfinder Leadership Summit fosters personal and professional development

Mackenzie Abbitt (cq) left speed dates with mentor Hilary Corna (cq) at GenAustin's Pathfinder camp at Google Fiber's downtown Austin location on June 16, 2016. GenAustin's Pathfinder is for girls grades 9-12 and teaches them how to be business leaders and entrepreneurs. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando

The high school girls at Girls Empowerment Network’s Pathfinder Leadership Summit are mingling with professional women at the Austin headquarters of Google Fiber. The last time these girls were in this building was probably when it was the Austin Children’s Museum. Now they are all grown up and learning skills to help them find a pathway toward a career.

Sometimes camps for high-schoolers are hard to find, plus there’s pressure kids face of doing something in the summer to advance college applications. This camp provides that, and not for thousands of dollars, either.

The girls apply to be part of the camp and pay $450 for six days of interacting with professional women at different businesses throughout Austin. Scholarships also are available.

On this day, the girls and mentors start with a game of “Would You Rather?” Questions are asked, like, “If you had to take a test, would you choose an essay where you can free write and explain all your thoughts or would you choose a multiple choice exam?” The group divides by their answer into different corners of the room and starts talking to someone they haven’t met.

Later, they have a speed mentorship round (much like speed dating). The girls sit on one side of the table, the mentors on the other side. The girls have a series of questions to ask like: How did you end up in your current job? What did you learn in college and how does it impact your current job? What skills do you do every day?

Then Ami Kane, development director at GEN, tell the group that “because our girls have a ton of knowledge and expertise as well” the mentors should ask questions, too, such as: What do you want to do after college? What are you most excited about? What makes you nervous?

Kane tells the girls that they should go off-script if they get to a table and are like “Oh, my God, she has my dream job! I don’t care about any of these questions.”

The speed mentoring begins and through multiple rounds, the girls meet all kinds of women with real jobs. Sandra Bryant, a benefit specialist at the University of Texas, tells Unique Shanklin, a Bowie High School ninth-grader, about pursuing her dream: “Go for it. Don’t be shy. Jump out there.”

Bryant advises Unique to read a lot to increase her future knowledge.

 

Sheila Garcia, who is in marketing, talks to Riya Chaundhry, a McNeil sophomore, about high school. She shares with Riya that in high school she didn’t want to ask questions. “It’s OK to ask for help,” Garcia says. She advises Riya, who wants to be a pediatrician, to reach out to a pediatrician to find a mentor.

Mackenzie Abbitt, an 11th-grader at Hendrickson High School, shows her art portfolio to Sandra Bucklin, who is in marketing at Rackspace. “Continue to nurture your passion,” Bucklin advises. “I think this is amazing. … You have the talent. You just need the confidence.”

Sydnee Williams, a 12th-grader at Vandegrift High School, called Pathfinder “empowering and inspirational.” “They care about you, and they want the best for you as well,” she said.

GEN wants girls to come out of the conference with confidence and skills, says Blair Stirek, project manager for GEN. “We want them to learn about public speaking and how to write a résumé but also we want them to find their path,” she says. “We want all the opportunities presented to them, and they can choose what to do with their lives.”

Rithi Mulgaonker, a 12th-grader at LASA high school, said she came to Pathfinder with an idea about what she wanted to do, but “my mind has been open, my eyes have been open. Now I’m kind of flustered. … I feel like I haven’t been exposed to this much advice and leadership skills ever. … I have met numerous women who are inspirational, passionate about their jobs and are super educated in whatever field they want to go in.”

The experience would help any woman, says Kayla Ford, an 11th-grader at Akins High School. “If you do this, you’re getting a head start and different connections to help you,” she said.

Pathfinder is about girls discovering “their unique strengths,” Stirek said. “We want them to get excited about that and their futures.”

 

Pathfinder Leadership Summit

What: Girls Empowerment Network’s personal and professional development program.

Where: Girls Empowerment Network’s Office, 3000 S. Interstate 35, Suite 400.

Information: girlsempowermentnetwork.org. Apply at blair@girlsempowermentnetwork.org, 512-808-4044, ext. 106.

Who: Girls entering ninth grade-12th grade.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 12-16 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 17.

Cost: $450, scholarships available.

GEN also has camps for younger girls. Find more at girlsempowermentnetwork.org.

 

 

Enjoy learning, creativity and fun at YPW Camps

Statesman Content Marketing

Young Peoples Workshop (YPW) in Austin, TX offers a unique spin on summer camp, with customizable camp options and even a full-immersion Spanish Day Camp that are sure to make your child’s summer one of learning, creativity and fun.

Available to children ages three to twelve, YPW leads over 28 camps including science, art and technology camps offered in English. These camps include “The Scientific Artist” where your child will discover the artistic side of science (i.e. the difference between light and pigment), “Engineering FUNdamentals” where campers learn how engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge to design machines and devices through hands-on activities, and “Mosaics & Sculptures” where your child will utilize no-bake clay, glass tiles, wire, fabric and more to create beautiful sculptures and mosaics. Campers can choose a variety of classes to create a customized schedule based on their interests.

“We have a camp for every child’s curiosities,” said Monica Moreno, director of YPW. “We make learning exciting by creating an interactive and individualized experience for every camper.”

YPW also offers the “YPW Spanish Immersion Day Camp.” This is the only YPW camp offered in Spanish, and all activities are conducted entirely in Spanish, with beginner to advanced levels for preschool to middle school age groups.

“The best way to learn a language is to become completely immersed in it,” said Moreno. “Even beginner students become quickly comfortable with this method of education.”

Instructors use a playful teaching style, with dramatic presentation, songs, games, miming and gestures to enhance both comprehension and fun during this full-immersion camp experience. Spanish Camp features unique curriculum such as how to prepare and cook traditional Latin American dishes, as well as a variety of field trips to a Latin Supermarket, Latin TV News Station, Austin Zoo, Mexican-American Cultural Center and more.

YPW is also helping to ease the registration and selection process for parents by designing a customized summer camp schedule, ensuring a rich and diverse experience for the camper. This “YPW customized camp experience” is available at www.ypwkids.com/specialcampschedule. Parents can fill out the online form, and YPW will custom-select camps in both English and Spanish for each campers. YPW can also customize the whole summer to include only camps in science, technology and art in English, or a combination of both English and Spanish camps.

YPW Camps run Monday through Friday from June to August, with full and half day options available. All YPW instructors are certified schoolteachers or highly trained professionals with extensive experience. For the summer camp registration form and more information about YPW, please visit www.ypwkids.com.

 

 

 

15 things to think about when choosing a summer camp for your kids

Shloak Gupta dumps a plastic cup of water on unsuspecting Jaedon Molinar as they play the Drip, Drip, Drop game as part of the festivities in the summer camp Olympics. The kids are from the Pflugerville YMCA. The YMCA of Austin is hosting its 2015 Summer Camp Olympics Friday, July 24, at the Texas School for the Deaf. The Summer Camp Olympics is designed to engage children in good old fashioned fun and to get a little wet on a hot day. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando
Austin American-Statesman

We know you’re thinking about spring break, but summer vacation is only 14 weeks away. Not to stress you out, but some of the most popular camps already might have waiting lists. Now is the time to form a plan.

Here are 15 things to consider when looking at the thousands of possibilities:

1. Evaluate last year’s camps. Will you return? Did they end up being a good fit for your kids? Can you afford them? You might want to ask the camp if there were any concerns with your child last year. If your child told you camp was fine but the counselor reported that your child didn’t socialize with anyone or was disruptive, it might not be the right camp for your child. Also check out how the camp might have changed from the year before. If it’s a new curriculum or entirely new staff, it might not be as enjoyable.

2. What is your summer schedule? Which weeks will you be going on vacation? Which weeks might a family member be able to cover, or one parent or the other? Get an old-fashioned calendar and plot out each week. Put potential camps in pencil as you find them. Put the vacations and Camp Grandma/Grandpa/Daddy/Mommy in ink.

3. What is your budget? It’s really easy to get out of hand. Set the budget in advance and figure out how much that averages per week, per kid. Be realistic. You are not going to find much for less than $200 or $300 a week. If your kids have their hearts set on really expensive camps, plan for less expensive camps the other weeks, as well as ask about scholarships.

4. What hours do you need covered each day? Can you really pick up a kid from a camp that lets out at noon or 3 p.m., or do you need everyone to stay at camp until after 5 p.m.? Also, can you start work at 9:30 a.m.? If not, those camps that start before 9 a.m. are not going to work for you, are they?

5. Where do camps need to be located? Do you want to spend your summer on MoPac Boulevard or Interstate 35 as you try to get your Round Rock-living kids to a South Austin camp or vice versa? If not, limit the possibilities according to where you’re willing to drive each day, twice a day.

6. Are there camps that would be a good fit for all of your children? This is often a hard thing to find. What might be age-appropriate for one kid might be too juvenile for another. Also, if your kids have vastly different interests, it would be hard to find a camp everyone likes. If you can’t find one camp for all, find camps that are near one another, so you’re not having to pick up kids at opposite ends of MoPac Boulevard at 5 p.m.

7. What are your kids interested in and what would they like to try? Summer camp is an amazing time to try out a new activity. If your son has always said he wants to do gymnastics after school, use summer camp as a testing ground. Also consider your kid’s personality before you choose. If your daughter hates art and would rather build with blocks, a pottery camp is not a good choice but a Lego camp is.

8. Where are their friends going? Pick up recommendations from fellow moms, but also consider trying out something new with a friend. It makes it easier to transition into camp if your kid has a buddy.

9. Where does your kid want to go? Sometimes we get so busy in the planning that we forget to ask for their opinions. So ask, then get them to prioritize the list. If you have three camps that you can only get them into on the same week, you will know which one to choose. Or if you can only afford one of your child’s dream camps, you know which one it should be.

10. Is your kid ready for an overnight camp? This might be the year you venture out to overnight camp. Consider if your child can stay overnight at a friend’s house successfully. Consider if your child can take care of basic needs such as dressing themselves, showering and brushing their teeth and hair. OK, some teens still struggle with this, but if your child has never done all of these things independently, work on that before signing her up.

11. What is the staffing like? Ask about ratios and what kinds of breaks the counselors get. Ask if every counselor is first-aid and CPR-certified, what kind of training they do and if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.

12. Follow word of mouth. Your fellow parents, your kids’ teachers and counselors can give you recommendations about what camps they have tried or heard good things about. Also, ask them which camps they will never do again or have not heard good things about.

13. Is the camp right for my child with differences? If your child has special needs or quirks, ask the camp if it has had similar campers and what it did to accommodate them. This, of course, applies to kids who have learning differences, sensory issues and physical disabilities, but it also might apply to kids who have food, pollen and insect allergies, medical issues such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis, or personality differences such as fear of the dark or fear of animals. You want to know what kind of medical care they will have access to, what kind of accommodations can be used and what kinds of activities will be happening to make sure it’s a match.

14. What are the campers like? Has everyone been going to the same camp all summer long? Your child who comes in the fourth week might have trouble fitting in. The same is true if most of the campers went to daycare there or have been going to that camp since they were in kindergarten. Ask about the boy-girl ratio, as well as the age ratio. If most of the kids at a camp for grades kindergarten through fifth are first- or second-graders, your fourth-grader is going to hate it.

15. What is your backup plan? If you get to camp and after a few days, your kid hates it, gets kicked out or needs to come home, is there somewhere that will take your child for the rest of that week?

It’s a jungle of possibilities out there. Use our camp guide to help you find the right one.

Express yourself this summer with TexARTS

Statesman Content Marketing

Since 2006 TexARTS, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) performing and visual arts center, has called the Lake Travis area home.  Located in the heart of Lakeway, TexARTS has served thousands of Austin area students by offering year-round arts education classes in voice, dance, acting and the visual arts.  Additionally, the TexARTS Academy produces a full season of completely staged youth and teen musicals.

TexARTS has an incredible summer planned, offering full day, half day and mini camps in dance, theatre, voice and visual arts.  TexARTS will kick off the summer with the musical theatre production of the Broadway hit Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” (June 5-25).  Young actors, ages 7 – 14, of all levels are invited to audition for this three-week production-based camp. The Youth Summer Musical allows students to rehearse while receiving instruction in acting, dance and vocal technique. The camp culminates in public performances on June 22 – 25 at the Kam & James Morris Theatre at TexARTS. Placement auditions will be held the first day of camp and everyone gets a role!

TexARTS will also continue to offer the popular series of youth summer performing and visual arts camps and a variety of programming for children and teens of all levels. This year’s lineup includes the youth acting intensive  “The Cinderella Chronicles” (June 26 – July 7) and “Charlotte’s Web” (July 17 -28), and a dance technique intensive (August 7-11) led by Broadway veteran Darren Gibson.

The weekly “Best of” camps offer students the opportunity to learn songs, scenes and choreography from various Broadway shows including MOANA, WICKED, ANNIE, HAIRSPRAY, and other kid friendly musicals.  These week-long camps are under the guidance of experienced professionals and will focus on basic vocal technique, acting skills, dance and musical theatre.  Each “Best of” camp ends with a public performance for friends and family.

Young painters, sculptors and artists have the opportunity to enroll in four different visual arts camps.  Each session is designed to let campers work with different materials and focus on various techniques.

Campers, ages 2 – 4, can take part in the fun by enrolling in a Mini Camp.  Mini Camps are an exciting introduction to the world of theatre.  Weekly themes include Super Heroes Unite, Elsa and Olaf’s Summer Vacation and the Cat in the Hat’s Madcap Adventure.  It’s a summer you won’t want to miss.

TexARTS summer session begins June 5 and run through August 18. Camps will be held at TexARTS in the Erin Doherty Studios (2300 Lohmans Spur, Suite #160, Lakeway, TX). For more information or to register for TexARTS upcoming performing and visual arts summer camps, please visit www.tex-arts.org or call 512-852-9079 x104.

 

The Questions Every Parent Should Ask When Choosing a Summer Camp

Two happy boys enjoying kayak on the river

Summer dawns, which means one thing for thousands of Texas children: camp.

Here are the questions every parent should ask when choosing a summer camp for their children,

  1. What is the camper to teacher ratio for the majority of the day?
  2. How do they handle supervision of children, discipline issues?
  3. . What age groups will be combined together? (If you have a younger child, you may not want them mixed with older children.)
  4. What is the schedule for the program, what will they be doing each day? Review how much is downtime versus planned activities.
  5. Ask the qualifications of the teacher? Age, training, years working with children: especially ask who has First Aid and CPR
  6. Does all staff have satisfactory and up-to-date criminal background checks?
  7. What is the policy for handling injuries and illness?
  8. What does the physical space and outside play area look like? Can children wander away or can outsiders reach them? Are there fences, locks or other precautions?
  9. Do the campers go swimming or near water? Do they take swim proficiency tests? Is there a lifeguard on duty? What are the ratios for supervision in water?
  10. What insurance does the program carry? Do they have liability insurance?

Consideration for field trips

  1. Who is driving the vehicle and what is their driving record?
  2. Are there safety restraints in the vehicle?
  3. How far do they go on field trips?
  4. What is their procedure for checking the vehicle to ensure no child is left on?
  5. How many teachers attend a field trip?
  6. Is there a vehicle inspection report?

Embracing Nature! Stepping Stone School

By Susan Brunk, M. Ed. Associate Director of Curriculum, Stepping Stone School

In the spirit of fall, I took my children to a nearby farm for some outdoor fun.  Squatting in a small field, I attempted to capture some cute pumpkin patch photos while the children sat on the itchy hay squinting in the sunlight:

“It too bright, Mommy!” my three-year-old says. My older daughter whines, “I’m hot!” And then the baby falls back, hits her head on a pumpkin and begins to wail. Outdoor time over…

All too often outdoor time is grouped in the “Maybe later…” category of our lives or we shorten it to fifteen minute chunks of time and call it recess. Why is that, I wonder? Maybe it’s the challenge of getting out there… sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, insect repellent, proper footwear, proper outer wear, etc. Or the fears that have become associated with the outdoors: sunburn leads to skin cancer, mosquito bites lead to Zika virus, and boisterous play leads to broken bones.

In a startling statistic by James Campbell in his publication “Are we Raising a Generation of Nature-Phobic Kids?” he states, “Many children now spend less than 30 minutes per week playing outside. It’s not just kids and their preoccupation with iPads and video games, or busy streets and ‘stranger danger’ that is fueling the disinclination to get outdoors. It’s a widespread phenomenon. Grown-ups fare little better. Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that adults, too, spend 93% of their lives inside buildings or vehicles, living under what nature writer Richard Louv calls ‘protective house arrest.” (ExchangeEveryDay, Sept. 6, 2016)

Less than 30 minutes PER WEEK!  As I attempt to pick my jaw up off the floor, consider the following:

  • According to research, children who play outdoors regularly are happier, healthier, stronger, and more imaginative than children who do not spend time outdoors. (Head Start Body Start, 2014)
  • Time spent outdoors is the best way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for a properly functioning immune system and plays a role in regulating a person’s mood. (Head Start Body Start, 2014)
  • As time spent outdoors has dwindled, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled over the past three decades. (Spencer, 2007)
  • Outdoor play provides ample opportunity for children to practice and develop physically through ball-handling skills, climbing, jumping, and running. (Pica, 2014)
  • Imaginative play outdoors fosters independence, social skills, and cooperation. (Pica, 2014)
  • Playing outside provides children with the opportunity to connect with nature and builds a healthy respect for nature. (Spencer, 2007)

So, the next time you are tempted, to again place outdoor time in the “Maybe later…” category consider the benefits which ultimately outweigh the momentary hassles and allow your children to soak up the sunshine and fun.

Enjoy the fine arts at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

Statesman Content Marketing

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School is hosting a summer of fantastic camp experiences for all young artists from Austin, Central Texas and beyond.

All Camps are hosted on the beautiful 370 acre St. Stephen’s campus nestled in the hills of West Austin.  The campus offers breathtaking views and state-of-the-art facilities perfect for camps.  Our fine arts facilities include a 400 seat theater, dance studios, recording studios, photography studio and a darkroom as well as art classrooms and numerous other performance spaces. 24 hour security ensures peace of mind for all parents regardless of whether your child is attending either our day or residential camps. We have something for those interested or talented in photography, improvisational acting, singing, playing in a band, directing, producing or movie making.

The World of Improv is an exploration of all aspects of improv comedy and theatre performance. From storytelling, to off-the-cuff scene work to straight up wacky gameplay, you’ll be certain to get a heavy dose of hilarious as Mr. Sweetlamb (a near 20-year veteran of improv who has trained at Second City, UCB, and other awesome places in NYC, Chicago, and LA) delves deep into his bag of tricks. These will not be games played in any theatre class run by Mr. Sweetlamb at St. Stephen’s but a whole new slate of fun and funny games.

Photography Camp is an introductory photography course designed for middle and high school students. Students will be introduced to basic principles of photography (f-stops, shutter speeds, composition, lighting) and the digital darkroom, including basic Photoshop techniques. Students will have the opportunity to shoot a variety of subjects, including portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Individual interests and ideas are encouraged as students build their portfolios. The daily schedule will include shooting time in the studio and in the natural environment on campus. The course will end with a brief introduction to alternative processes such as cyanotypes.

VocalEase Singing Camp.  Experiencing the whole body as the vocal instrument creates a foundation for developing a singer’s fullest potential.  In VocalEase Singing Camp, young singers will learn the mechanics of the vocal instrument, will be coached with the most current and cutting edge methods of voice training in bodywork and alignment, and practice the stability and beauty of traditional Bel Canto training. Singers can step into a new level of vocal freedom to optimize creative vocal expression.

Rock On!  Each summer there are some kids who don’t want to play sports or make pottery. They want to wear ripped jeans and play their music loud.  Introducing Rock On. Campers will experience the evolution of Rock through band formation, songwriting and specialized instruction. Our budding rock stars will record, mix and produce each other’s music. They’ll practice like pros, with pros. Camp will conclude with a couple of performances for our new bands.

Texas Arts Project offers a personalized artistic journey combining inter-disciplinary coursework, individual attention from industry professionals, artistic challenges encouraging growth, and a safe space for students from all backgrounds to overcome personal artistic obstacles. There is no benchmark at TAP camp. We believe that with direction and motivation, each camper can push beyond his or her perceived personal limitations. Teachers use the small classes as an opportunity to advance and enhance each student’s personal journey. Fast-paced, professional-style rehearsals and film shoots allow campers to excel as both artists and people. Campers leave with a sense of personal fulfillment, often exhibiting greater self-confidence, a deeper passion for their art form and a true commitment to themselves, their art, and the people around them.

For more information about all summer programs at St. Stephen’s please go to www.sstx.org/summercamps contact Shane Maguire at smaguire@sstx.org or call 512-327-1213.

 

Immerse in nature and medieval at the Sherwood Forest Summer Camp!

Statesman Content Marketing

Imagine the creative answers Sherwood Forest Summer Camp goers give when asked by their teachers that quintessential question this fall: What did you do this summer? You can bet the answer won’t be about the latest video games. In fact, the reply might even come in proper Queen’s English.

Sherwood Forest Summer Camp activities, which start July 9-15, takes place in a 23-acre wooded medieval village where campers are transported back to a world of knights, ladies and a simpler way of life. Campers now have the option to sleep in the castle or “rough it” in a pavilion where they might have a late-night visit from the Merry Folk of Sherwood Forest.

While at camp, kids are immersed in nature, new experiences and building friendships. Modern devices like cell phones, video games and television aren’t available, giving youngsters an opportunity to fully engage and explore a magical Renaissance world.

“Green” campers, who have never attended the camp, will follow the Path of the Scholar where they learn a bit of everything, experiencing 10-12 classes twice per week. All Sea Dragons (age 7-9) will follow the Path of the Scholar as well.

“Veteran” campers— those who have already attended at least one week of Sherwood Forest Summer Camp— can continue following the Path of the Scholar, or if they are age 10 and older, they can choose the specialist path offered during their session as an alternative. Specialist paths offer campers the opportunity to delve more deeply into that week’s subject matter.

New campers attending multiple weeks must follow the Path of the Scholar their first week and then may choose either to continue as a Scholar or to specialize for subsequent week(s).

Developing skills essential to daily Renaissance life is exciting and edifying for young campers, especially at an impressionable age when positive influences are most valuable. Try Falconry, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking and more.

Session 1 runs July 9-15, Session 2 is July 16-22 and Session 3 is July 23-29. And for those parents who may be a bit jealous of the fun our campers have been having, there is now a weekend “Grown Up Camp” that runs July 23-25!

With a maximum of 160 campers per session, early registration is important. Complete details on the camp, schedules and activities, including a downloadable brochure, are available at www.sherwoodforestfaire.com

 

School of Rock: Rock & Roll Summer Camps for the aspiring rocker in your family!

Statesman Content Marketing

The School of Rock is the nation’s premier performance-based rock school. We teach guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals via our unique combination of private instruction and group rehearsals, which gets students playing on stage as quickly as possible. Our instructors are all professional Austin musicians, each with years of experience in the music business. In addition to our year-round performance programs, the School of Rock offers one and two week summer camp sessions.

Our comprehensive camp experience is designed to hone music performance and ensemble skills in a creative and fun environment. We use Rock ‘n Roll to teach guitar, bass, drums, vocals and keys, culminating in an awesome live show on the final day! Our camps cater to rockers aged 6 – 18 of all skill levels – from beginners who are brand new to their instrument through to more advanced rockers with some experience under their studded belts. Students work in a hands-on atmosphere that includes:

  • Learning the nuts and bolts of live performance
  • Studio/band rehearsal time
  • Individual and group instruction from our highly skilled staff
  • Music theory and Rock & Roll music appreciation
  • Interacting with other young musicians
  • A LIVE rock show performance

Last year’s camps sold out, so take advantage of this awesome deal for Statesman readers only! If you enroll before April 1, you will receive 25% off any summer camp tuition. Just use the coupon code SORSTATESMAN2017 at checkout.

Here’s what we have in store for Summer 2017:

  • Rookies camp – introduces the music fundamentals in a fun way to beginners aged 6-8.
  • Rock 101 camps – the perfect opportunity for budding young rockers aged 8 to 13 to learn the skills necessary to rock out in a band, with a righteous live rock show at the end of the week.
  • Songwriting camp – learn about the craft of writing your own original music and end the week with a recording of your own creation.
  • Performance camps: “British Invasion”, “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary”, “Legends of Rock” and “Indie Rock” – campers aged 10 – 18 with at least 12 months of previous musical experience rehearse as a band during the week in preparation for an awesome live rock show on the final day of camp!

Founded in 1998, the School of Rock is the inspiration for the blockbuster Jack Black film School of Rock (2003).

School of Rock Austin was the 8th school founded in the School of Rock family back in 2005. Since then, we’ve produced more than 100 shows, and just recently celebrated our 11th anniversary in Austin. In the process, we have empowered thousands of young musicians by teaching kids how to rock on stage and in life! For more details and to reserve your spot, visit http://rocki.ng/austinrockcamps or call us at (512) 670-2360. You can also email us at austin@schoolofrock.com.

The School of Rock is located at 2525 W Anderson Lane, Suite 138, Austin, TX, 78757

 

Spend a legendary summer at the Paramount Theatre!

Statesman Content Marketing

Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers something special. Perhaps it is the historic venue. Maybe it’s the uniquely themed camps or our dynamic faculty. One thing is certain, Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers a camp experience you won’t find anywhere else in Austin. But don’t just take our word for it…

This was the most organized, well-put-together, creative, structured, and fun camp any of my kids have ever attended. The communication was above and beyond amazing and my daughter can’t wait to come back next year!” – Parent of Paramount Camper

The Paramount Academy of the Arts will have 10 exciting weeks of summer camps for students entering 1st grade all the way through high school. No matter your interest, we have a camp for you!

Camp Paramount is a fun and fast-paced 2-week musical theatre camp where campers perform Broadway style musical numbers and iconic pop hits on the historic Paramount Stage! There are 4 sessions on-site at the Paramount and one offered in South Austin.

Camp Story Wranglers is inspired by our award winning, hugely popular in-school Paramount Story Wranglers program. Campers will explore story-writing, songwriting, costume and prop design, as well as acting, to create a new, thrilling, hilarious, weird, poignant, SNL-style, you-name-it production. There is one session offered on-site at the Paramount and one in North Austin. 

roboARTS Camp combines playmaking and robotics. Students in roboARTS write original plays, design and program robots, and then perform in their plays alongside their original robot characters. This exciting new camp is offered through a partnership with Science in a Suitcase and will be hosted at Hyde Park Baptist Church.

For our older students, Paramount Academy for the Arts offers Summer Technique Intensives for Teens. This summer’s intensives include Film Acting, Comedy, and Song Writing, all offered on-site at the Paramount.

At Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp your child will have the chance to perform on the historic stages of the Paramount and Stateside Theatres. They will hone their craft as a singer, dancer, actor and triplet threat performer. They will learn artistic skills from some of Austin’s most celebrated artists, and they will channel their creativity and see their own original stories come to life. Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers experiences you won’t find anywhere else in a venue second-to-none. We offer an experience that will create lifetime memories.

Registration and information can be found at www.austintheatre.org/camps, by email at summercamps@austintheatre.org or by phone at 512-692-0526.

 

 

Discover the great outdoors at McKinney Roughs

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Campers ages 5 to 15 can discover the great outdoors at scenic McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Thirteen miles east of Austin, nestled along the Colorado River and the Lost Pines, McKinney Roughs has 1,100 acres of pine forests, box canyons and post oak meadows to explore.

McKinney Roughs summer camps are based on a child’s age at the time camp starts. Each week’s camp activities revolve around a different outdoor theme and are led by experienced camp counselors. Activities include river rafting and zip lining, as well as uncovering the native plant and animal species in the area.

“We’ve provided outdoor experiences for campers at McKinney Roughs for 15 years,” said LCRA Park Program Coordinator Erin Holley. “Our day camp is a great option for parents who want their children to have fun and educational outdoor experiences but still have them close to home.”

Outdoor Camp — $225 per week

Tonkawa campers (Ages 5-6) can swim at Bastrop State Park, climb the rock wall and participate in a camp-wide field day. In addition, there will be guided hikes, guest presentations, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Comanche (Ages 7-8) and Caddo (Ages 9-12) campers will swim at Bastrop State Park, experience select high elements on the challenge course and raft the Colorado River or Lake Bastrop. In addition, there will be guided hikes, guest presentations, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Teen Adventure Camp — $225 per week

Teen campers (Ages 13-15) will experience the thrill of high elements on the challenge course, including riding an exciting zip line, taking a kayaking trip down the Colorado River and working within a group to plan and execute various outdoor adventures.

Camp Information

McKinney Roughs provides up to eight weeks of day camp – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday – beginning June 19. Each one-week session is $225. A daily shuttle service from two convenient Austin locations (3700 Lake Austin Blvd. and 3505 Montopolis Drive) is available for an additional fee. Before and after care is available onsite during sessions three (July 10-14) and six (July 31-Aug. 4). The cost is $30 for either before or after care, or $60 for both. Before care is from 7-9 a.m., and after care is from 4-6 p.m.

For more information and to register, visit lcra.org/camps or call 512–303–5073.

 

 

Learn skills and have fun with Lonestar Soccer Club

Come and have fun kicking a ball around this summer and improve your soccer skills at a Lonestar Soccer Club (LSC) camp! Our Lonestar Premier Camps are designed around developing a player’s individual technique and love for the ‘beautiful game’ in a fun, safe and challenging environment. Premier camps are designed for U5-U12 boys and girls of all skill levels and are held at convenient locations— from South Austin to Williamson County, Round Rock and Taylor.

The typical student-teacher ratio is 12:1 or better. Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, speed and agility training and daily tournaments. Our experienced and nationally licensed staff is from Spain, Argentina, Brazil, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Each coach has extensive professional soccer coaching experience, and offers an unmatched level of talent and enthusiasm for teaching your child the greatest game in the world.

2016 camps start at Spring Break and run through summer and winter. Spring and winter camps are a set fee of $150, and summer camps are $225. Each camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Campers should bring snacks and a bag lunch each day for breaks and lunchtime. And every summer camper receives a free Nike camp T-shirt and Nike soccer ball!

Ready to play? For more information, visit www.lonestar-sc.com or contact Robert Lopez at rlopez@lonestar-sc.com. We look forward to seeing your child at one of our camps this year!

 

“All the world’s a stage” at kidsActing Studio

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William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage,” in his play As You Like It. But, kidsActing Studio, Austin’s best and most fun place to learn acting, is bringing it to life by providing kids between the ages of 4 and 18 an opportunity to try musicals, comedy, show choir, stage combat, and more. They may choose one-week classes or multi-week sessions that culminate in a full production performance – lights, sounds, costumes, action!

Established in 1980, kidsActing is Austin’s longest operating performing arts school, serving over 2,500 students per year. With over 15 locations, there are a variety of camps, classes, and shows from which to choose.

“At kidsActing, we believe in empowering every student by providing a supportive and fun environment where young people can be inspired, creative, and can shine!” explained Dede Clark, Artistic Director. “This summer, we’re so excited about our fun camps. There is sure to be something to keep your young actor in the limelight.”

This summer kidsActing is offering themes like Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Snowy White and the 7 Dogs, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and many more. For the older stars, there’s Club Glee! Show Choir, featuring hit songs from Broadway. Young musical performers love Triple Threat classes that include Aloha Moana, Tangled and Peter Pan.

And, for those looking to hone their acting skills, our 3-week acting camp and 4-week musical camp offer full production, in-depth classes to learn and apply core acting tools and methods. kidsActing’s full-scale summer productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Addam’s Family.

“From auditions all the way to final bows, kidsActing gives kids the experience of starring in a professionally produced show,” Dede explained. kidsActing also has a student tech program for those who want to work backstage and learn the technical aspects of theatre while running the show.

Dede is also very excited about the newly announced Center Stage Theatre Elite Ensemble and its production of Cabaret. “This group of teen performers (ages 13-19) have a passion and dedication to musical theatre, clearly evidenced by their excellence. They are talented and committed to achieving a high standard.” No matter how your young star wants to shine, kidsActing is guaranteed to have the right camp, class or production for them. For a full list of summer camps and productions, visit www.kidsActingStudio.com.

kidsActing Studio
2826 Real Street
Austin, Texas 78722
512.836.5437

KidsActingStudio.com