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Survival tips: The benefits of going phone-free at camp

Melissa Erickson
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2018.

Kids today are super-connected, so it can be a surprise or even a shock to learn that most summer camps follow a no-phone policy. Both parents and kids may push back at the idea of losing connection while at camp, but the experts say kids benefit from time away from their phones.

“Camp is one of very few places today where kids have the opportunity to truly unplug. Unplugging allows this generation to create strong authentic connections with others,” said Dayna Hardin, president of CampGroup and owner/director of Lake of the Woods and Greenwoods camps in Michigan. “In the end that is perhaps why campers say their camp friends are their best friends, or ‘my camp friends know me better than anyone else at home.’ It’s really no surprise — real friends are more meaningful than digital friends.”

Losing the immediate connection to a parent that a phone provides allows kids to grow and problem-solve on their own.

“By removing what is often 24/7 communication between parents and their children, campers really do learn how to navigate and work through normal challenges,” Hardin said. “When we allow children to navigate on their own, in a safe environment, they learn coping skills and become more resilient.”

Unplug and be a kid

“Many children today are scrolling through life instead of living it,” Hardin said. “We know that over-engagement with social media can cause anxiety and feelings of low self-esteem. There are many studies, including one from Stanford, showing that being in nature yields measurable mental health benefits and may reduce risk of depression.”

At home and plugged in, many kids suffer from FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” but not at camp, Hardin said.

“Imagine the feeling of seeing all of your friends at a sleepover that you were not invited to on Snapchat. How would you feel? The fear of missing out creates a lot of anxiety,” she said.

Who needs it more

Before camp begins, both parents and kids are fairly anxious about the no-phone policy, Hardin said. Once camp starts, kids “actually feel relieved. They do not feel any pressure reply to a message or constantly check Snapchat or Instagram to see what they are missing,” Hardin said.

Parents have a harder time giving up instant access to their kids, and that can create anxiety, she said. Good camps have communication plans in place (daily photo galleries, weekly videos on social media, newsletters and phone calls or email chats) so parents can feel connected and “see” what their kids are up to while they are away, Hardin said.

Breaking the rules

“Most of us camp directors know all the cellphone tricks,” Hardin said. “Yes, some kids will try to hide their phones. Some kids bring a decoy phone to camp, meaning they turn one in, but have another one. Parents are the ones promoting this. We tell our parents if we have a rule, we are going to enforce it. If your child has a phone at camp, you are doing them a disservice and we will take it away.”

The pushback on the no-phone policy has eased in recent years as parents have become more concerned with screen addiction, Hardin said.

Spend the summer at college

Bill O’Neill TeenLife.com
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2019.

A classroom might seem like the last place high-schoolers would want to spend those precious few weeks of summer vacation, but there might be all kinds of benefits.

There are hundreds of pre-college summer programs, many on college campuses, that offer both credit and non-credit options that range in length, cost and intensity. Many offer day and residential options. They offer high school students the chance to try out life on campus and even get some college credits under their belts.

Courses range from the arts to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and from entrepreneurship to foreign language. Some last a week; other last several weeks and offer college credit.

“Taking college courses during the summer can be a great way to start to get a feel for the academic expectations of a college classroom and can enhance the rigor of your high school curriculum,” said Mike Lynch, director of undergraduate admission at Emerson College in Boston who meets high school students when they attend Emerson’s summer programs. “Doing well in a college course can help admission officers begin to answer the question, ‘Is this student ready for college-level work?'”

A way to explore new ground

Summer courses should be about exploration or enrichment, said Andrew Palumbo, dean of admissions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

“What we don’t want is students trying to impress the admissions committee and guess what we’re looking for,” he said. “There’s not one formula that’s going to lead to admission. At a school like WPI, we’re completing an individual, holistic review for each student that’s going to take into consideration their personal context.”

Summer courses won’t make or break admission for a student, he says, but having them on your resume will give admissions officers some insight as to things that are important to you.

“High school summers are a finite resource. How students choose to use the summer tells us a little bit about that applicant,” Palumbo says.

Show that you love a challenge

David Dollins agrees that taking college-credit courses can be advantageous for high school students. Dollins is assistant vice president of enrollment management at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He’s also worked in admissions at Northern Arizona University and Colorado State.

“It shows hard work and dedication, and that grit component is something that a lot of admissions officers are looking for,” he said. “College has highs and lows during the four years. Summer courses show they can do college-level work, but also that they’ve challenged themselves and they are motivated. Faculty members love students who are engaged in the academic experience.”

Classes in an overnight summer program can give future college students “a confidence boost,” said Palumbo.

“One of the most difficult parts for most college students is the transition to a residential experience,” he said.

But students who have participated in overnight summer programs on college campuses learn more than academics and have an advantage over other incoming freshmen.

“They’ve gotten over the hiccups of how do you engage with other students when you don’t know anyone,” he said. “What is it like to have some back-and-forth with a college professor? They’re having some of these experiences earlier, so they have a little comfort that their peers don’t.”

Check whether credits will count

One advantage, especially for STEM students, is that taking a course or two for credit before college can help them progress to hands-on projects and upper level courses earlier in their college careers, says Palumbo.

But that’s not always the case, he warns. Some colleges want to be sure students all have the same foundation in a course.

“A calculus class should be a calculus class, but, in reality, colleges and universities make decisions, whether it’s calculus or physics, about what’s going to be offered in an introductory course and how that supports all of the coursework that students scaffold on top of that foundation,” he said.

That’s why it’s important to check into whether you’ll be able to transfer credits you earn over the summer.

“There’s no foolproof way of knowing,” said Palumbo. “It’s going to be different for every institution. A lot of schools have a credit-transfer database on their website. It will list what colleges and courses have received credit at that institution.”

And course credit may not be the most important takeaway from a summer program.

“From my perspective, the real value of a summer course is the experience. The secondary value is the potential flexibility it brings with credits,” Palumbo says.

If you do want to rack up some advance credits, general education courses are going to be most beneficial, says Dollins.

“They will help you advance through the general education curriculum more quickly and get into your major sooner. College level math, English 101 and 102; just knock that out of the way.”

Palumbo encourages students also to explore something new.

“Particularly in the STEM world, there is a hyper-focus on the major,” he said. “Maybe applicants are great at math and science, but they’ve also challenged themselves and excelled in the social sciences or a language or English. We don’t want them to lose that interest or that skill set.”

The best part of taking summer college courses, Dollins says, is that it helps to demystify college course work.

“There’s an impression that college is going to be more difficult. It is more challenging, but it’s very doable for students,” he said. “Summer courses help you build the confidence to succeed during your first year and beyond.”

If you’re looking to explore academic summer programs for high school students, you might want to check out these:

TeenLife Media connects students, parents and educators with the best teen opportunities outside the classroom, including pre-college, summer, arts, therapeutic, gap and community service programs. Find out more at teenlife.com.

Friends for life: Camp can create strong bonds

Melissa Erickson
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2019.

Elizabeth Much’s summer camp days are long behind her, but the friendships she made 30 years ago are still going strong. What is it about summer camp friendships?

“Summer camp is a life-changing experience,” said Much, chief executive officer of East 2 West Collective, a public relations agency with offices in Los Angeles and New York City. “Living in close proximity with other girls your age in a small cabin is intense. It’s like a female lifeboat. It’s all about friendship and camaraderie.”

From ages 9 to 14 Much spent weeks of each summer at Eagle River, Wisconsin’s Chippewa Ranch Camp, a classic girls summer camp set under a canopy of red and white pine trees alongside a clear, sandy-bottomed lake.

“The experience defined my life,” Much said.

Summer camp is a transitive experience where children are freed from parental supervision yet safely contained and watched over by camp counselors whose aim is to create meaningful, memorable moments.

“Summer camp creates a special bond between friends. It’s a special place where kids can develop close friendships as they experience new things together,” said Louis Lasko, assistant camp director of Camp Laurelwood in Madison, Connecticut.

For many kids the new experiences are not just horseback riding or water skiing.

“At camp you really get down and dirty. Your parents are not there to do things for you. You have to work together to do linens, pitch the tent, clean the cabin, start a fire,” Much said.

Living in such close quarters brings kids together and makes them more well-rounded and self-sufficient, Much said.

“I think sharing memories for eight weeks — meals, activities, being homesick, laughing, etc. — allows you to grow with friends,” said Samantha Wenig, vice president of London Misher Public Relations in New York City and alumna of Camp Robindel in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. “We were in bunks with 20-plus girls so it was also really nice to learn about everyone’s family, traditions and stories. I was also lucky that a lot of my best camp friends live close to me during the school year so we were able to see each other prior to the next summer.”

Even if summer camp friends don’t live near each other they often stay in touch and share special parts of each other’s lives, such as standing up in each other’s weddings, Lasko said.

In summer 2017, Much attended a Chippewa Ranch Camp reunion staying with three other alums in a cabin.

“It was like time had stood still. We felt like teen girls again. That’s the intensity of the feeling,” she said.

Reigniting friendships, they spoke of marriages, divorces and illnesses. “It was very powerful,” Much said.

They spent the days enjoying the trees and nature, riding horses, waterskiing and canoeing, then winding down around the campfire at night.

“Everybody remembered every word of the campfire songs we sang,” Much said.

As an adult many of Wenig’s camp friends are still a part of her daily life.

“Good friends are forever and will love you no matter what. … Pretty amazing to have these special bonds that were all made within eight weeks at camp,” Wenig said.

People who have made long-lasting camp friendships are often inspired to have their own children attend the same camp so their kids can also be friends, Lasko said.

Wenig’s mother, Jody Berger Wenig, also went to Camp Robindel. “I loved seeing her name written in the bunks,” Wenig said.

For first time campers … and their parents

Melissa Erickson
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2018.

Sleep-away camp is a big deal for both campers and their parents, and it often brings feelings of excitement and anxiety. Is your child ready for it?

“One way to gauge a child’s readiness for overnight camp is if the child has had successful overnight experiences away from home, at a friend’s or relative’s,” said Tom Rosenberg, president/chief executive officer of the American Camp Association. “Beyond those experiences, parents should involve their child in the search and preparation process. Reach out to the camp director and ask questions. If possible, tour prospective camps in person prior to choosing.”

Missing home is normal

“Homesickness is not a sickness. It’s normal for kids to miss home. Kids can have the most wonderful time at camp and still feel homesick,” said Corey Dockswell, director of Camp Wicosuta, a traditional four-week sleep-away camp for girls in Hebron, New Hampshire.

What’s most important is to take your cues from you child, Dockswell said.

“If they’re excited about camp, talk about what fun they’re going to have. Don’t put negative thought in their head,” she said.

What to look forward to

“The best thing is for families to stay positive,” said Jared Shapiro, director of Camp Winadu, a boys summer camp in the Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts. “Talk about all the friends they’re going to make, all the fun activities they’re going to do. What’s unknown is what often makes kids nervous, so discuss what they should expect.”

“Parents should discuss the info they’ve gathered in the search process,” Rosenberg said. “Discuss the answers that camp directors have given the family. Check out the camp’s website as a family and look at packing lists, maps of the camp, photos from last summer.”

How to stay in touch

Whether they’re going for a few weeks or all summer long, let your child know how you will be staying in touch, if it’s by letter, email or phone call, Shapiro said. Learn what the camp policy is so they will know what to expect, he said.

Make getting prepared fun

Take a trip to the store together or pack things from home to make their cabin a home away from home, Dockswell said. Kids will feel more comfortable surrounded by their favorite blankets and stuffed animals, photos of family and friends, and small games.

No pick-up deals

Avoid any suggestions that you will pick up your camper if he feels homesick or unhappy, all experts agreed.

“This conveys a message of doubt and pity that undermines children’s confidence and independence,” Rosenberg said. “The camp director and camp staff are your partners. If your child is homesick, feel free to call the camp and discuss ways in which you can work together to solve the problem.”

Make a fast getaway

When saying goodbye, the best course is to make it quick and easy, the shorter the better, Dockswell said. Prepare your child by telling them how it will go. For example, when you drop her off at the bus tell her you will give her a hug but you won’t be getting on the bus with her.

“Take a deep breath. Save those emotions for after the bus pulls away so your child knows you’re 100 percent behind the decision to go to camp,” she said.

Questions to ask

Camps accredited by the American Camp Association have voluntarily met up to 300 health and safety standards through a peer review, Rosenberg said. The American Camp Association recommends visiting the camp in person, if possible. This will allow the family to calm any fears and get a firsthand preview of the experience.

Other questions to ask when choosing a camp include:

  • What is the camp’s philosophy and program emphasis?
  • What is the camp director’s background?
  • What training do counselors receive? What is the counselor-to-camper ratio?
  • What are the ages of the counselors?
  • How does the camp handle homesickness and other adjustment issues?

For more information, visit acacamps.org.

Camp-packing tips

Melissa Erickson
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2018.

Packing for summer camp can be a chore or a fun family activity. Follow these tips for a better process.

Involve campers

“While it might be easier as a parent of a young child to just do it yourself, it’s worth the extra time and effort to involve the campers,” said Carolyn Dorfman, director at Camp Walt Whitman, which offers co-ed summer camps in Piermont, New Hampshire. “On the most basic level, it’s good for kids to see what is going in the bag. Since part of the camp experience is learning to take greater responsibility of your items, it’s helpful when kids know what these items actually are.”

It also can help soothe nervous campers because it gives them a sense of control, Dorfman said.

“Camp isn’t just happening to them, as they get to decide what goes with them. Involving the kids also ensures that we don’t miss any comfort items, little things from home that sometimes we don’t think about as adults but that give kids a greater sense of security knowing it will be with them at camp,” Dorfman said.

Start early

“The preparation for packing should start weeks ahead of time, but I wouldn’t start packing too soon as many of the items that will be packed are items that your child will need at home before camp begins,” Dorfman said.

The key is to get and follow the camp’s packing list.

“We always recommend that parents don’t make themselves crazy going out to buy new items for camp unless they need to, as everything at camp is going to get really dirty and washed in a commercial laundromat,” Dorfman said.

Forget fashion

“Of all of the places to worry about children’s fashion, camp should be the last place on your list,” Dorfman said. Bring comfortable, worn-in clothes and bedding.

“Favorite old blankets, pillows and stuffed animals are way more comforting to kids when they arrive at camp then something that was just purchased new. Buying lots of new things for camp also sets parents up for disappointment as, no matter how hard kids and camps try, inevitably some items get lost or ruined during the summer,” she said.

Label it

While it’s a pain for parents, labeling items makes it more likely misplaced items will be returned their proper owners. There are plenty of options, including iron-on labels, peel-and-stick labels, sew-on labels or just plain permanent marker.

“While it takes more time, you can’t only label clothing. You should really label everything that is going to camp — sleeping bags, backpacks, tennis racquets, baseball gloves, water bottles, towels, stuffed animals, etc.,” Dorfman said. “Parents need to remember that not only are their children sharing a living space with a number of other children where things get mixed up and sometimes borrowed, they are also bringing items all over camp with them, and in the excitement of the moment things get left behind.”

Dorfman’s space-saving tips

1. Between cleats, hiking boots and sneakers there are lots of shoes that have to go to camp; make sure to use the space inside your shoes for socks and other small items.

2. Rolling clothes rather than folding them creates more space in the bag.

3. “Don’t get nervous on packing day and start throwing tons of unnecessary items into your child’s bag because your brain starts to play the ‘what if’ game. Trust yourself and trust the camp that if there is something your child needs, the camp will make sure they get it,” she said.

Advice for pre-camp jitters

Melissa Erickson
This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2019.

While some kids may feel pure excitement about heading off to summer camp, most combine those emotions with a bit of nervousness, too.

“The nerves are normal when kids are dealing with the transition from home to camp,” said Corey Dockswell, director of Camp Wicosuta, a traditional four-week sleepaway camp for girls in Hebron, New Hampshire. “The most important thing to share with your child is that they shouldn’t worry about the fact that they are feeling nervous — it’s normal.”

“For children any step toward independence involves excitement, anticipation and nervousness. It’s completely normal,” agreed Michael Thompson, a supervising psychologist at Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts, and author of “Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow.”

Homesick and happy

To alleviate anxiety about the upcoming separation, give your child some practice being away from you, for example through sleepovers, Thompson said. Additionally, give him some role in the decision-making about which camp he will attend, he said.

Research has shown that about 80 percent of children who go to summer camp will experience some sort of mild homesickness, Thompson said.

“Many parents don’t realize it’s possible (for summer campers) to be both homesick and happy. A child can miss home, maybe cry a little bit before going to bed, but be able to wake up happy and take part in camp life,” Thompson said.

Take your cues from your child when talking about camp before it happens, and don’t project your own concerns onto your child, Dockswell said. If you have concerns as a parent, reach out to the camp director.

“Parents know their kid’s pressure points,” Dockswell said.

If a child is a picky eater or has a difficult time falling asleep on his own, ask the camp director how to help smooth the transition.

“What can you share about the routine at camp that will help make my child feel better?” Dockswell said to ask.

How to handle nerves

Simply asking questions about camp, such as who will be their bunkmate or will they get their first choice of activities, doesn’t mean children are feeling anxious or scared, Dockswell said.

“Respond to the question your child is asking, but avoid suggesting things you might be concerned about,” he said.

While a parent wants a child to be prepared in case something goes wrong, it’s not helpful to talk about all the things that could go wrong, Dockswell said.

“That could cause a child who is fine to become nervous about camp,” he said.

Never promise that you will come get a child if she is not enjoying herself, Thompson said.

“Don’t say, ‘If it’s scary, I’ll come get you.’ Coming to the rescue is not good parenting,” he said.

Instead, assure children that they will be OK and talk about what coping skills they can use while at camp, Thompson said. Ask them if they become anxious or nervous, what will they do? Whom will they talk to?

“Mentally practice how they will handle it,” Thompson said.

Take the stage with ZACH Theatre summer camps!

Statesman Content Marketing

Give your kids the amazing experience of theatrical arts during ZACH Theatre’s summer camps! Each summer, ZACH hosts a series of exciting camps for kids of all ages at its three-stage main campus, located in the heart of Austin along Lady Bird Lake. ZACH Theatre also offers camps at its North Campus at 12129 Ranch Road 620 N. As the longest continuously running theatre company in Texas, ZACH Theatre creates intimate experiences to ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. ZACH Theatre has also been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The New York Times, as well as numerous theatrical awards. Check out the camps below, and visit ZACH Theatre online at zachtheatre.org to see all summer camp offerings.

Broadway Kids: The Wizard of Oz 

Kindergarten – Grade 2
July 2 – 6, 2018 (No camp July 4th) | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This class is an active and fun introduction to the world of Broadway musicals. Students act, sing, and dance while learning famous Broadway material. On the last day, family and friends are invited to a demonstration that showcases favorite song and dance numbers. This week will focus on material from The Wizard of Oz. Extended Care is available from 8:30-9 AM and 4-5:30 PM for an additional fee.

Musical Theatre Camp: Peter Pan 

Grade 3 – 5
August 6 – 10, 2018 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If your student loves to sing, dance, and act, this camp offers a chance to find out what being a “Triple Threat” is all about. Each day features learning theatre games, character development, voice and dance technique, working toward putting together a musical theatre revue. On the last day, family and friends are invited to a demonstration that showcases favorite song and dance numbers. This week will focus on material from Peter Pan. Extended Care is available from 8:30-9 AM and 4-5:30 PM for an additional fee.

Acting Workshop: Shakespeare 

Grade 6 – 8
Dates: July 23 – 27, 2018 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

These exciting camps are for actors who are ready to dive into their training. Students create characters, build ensemble, and use their voice to project and articulate while having a lot of fun exploring skills and technique. On the last day, family and friends are invited to a demonstration that showcases favorite classical acting exercises and scenes. This week will focus on Shakespeare. Extended Care is available from 8:30-9 AM and 4-5:30 PM for an additional fee.

Acting Workshop: Auditioning 

Grade 9 – 12
July 2 – 6, 2018 (No camp July 4th) | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

These exciting camps are for actors who are ready to dive into their training. Students create characters, build ensemble, and use their voice to project and articulate while having a lot of fun exploring skills and technique. On the last day, family and friends are invited to a demonstration that showcases favorite acting exercises and sample auditions. This week will focus on Auditioning. Extended Care is available from 8:30-9 AM and 4-5:30 PM for an additional fee. 

 

15 things to consider when picking a camp for your kids

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

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.

    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
  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.
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

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.

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!

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?

 


 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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 kayaking 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

Statesman Content Marketing

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