By Felicia Levine
City & Shore Magazine
Summer is fast-approaching and you know what that means. Your little darlings will soon have lots of time to troll Facebook and numb their brains on video games. Or you could enroll them in a super-fun, life-enriching camp.
May we suggest the latter?
Offerings in 2016 are mind-blowingly diverse. There are robotics classes in state-of-the-art labs, theater camps culminating in Broadway-style shows, painting programs taught by professional artists and baseball instruction from championship-caliber coaches.
Trending in a big way are specialty programs that conclude with dazzling results, be it video, digital-media or stage productions. We’re also seeing personalized programs that combine academic enrichment with fun diversions such as an advanced-reading course and a tennis camp. There’s even a resident overnight camp where kids spend weekends at home (great for campers – or parents – with separation anxiety) and a scholarship program to help make sleepaway camp possible.
And while the summer camp experience has come a long way since the days of pudding snacks and potholder crafts, the all-important psychosocial and emotional benefits remain the same: building and navigating new friendships, developing coping skills that result in more resilience, gaining independence through decision-making, and more.
Here is a sampling of summer offerings. Be aware that dates and times are subject to change, so call the camps to confirm or visit their websites for further information.
SUMMER DAY CAMPS
This camp has been around for more than 30 years, with 40-acre campuses in Plantation and Boca Raton/Delray Beach. It offers kids 3-14 an innovative slate of specialty programs including robotics (in a state-of-the-art pre-engineering lab), science adventure (with hands-on experiments, field trips and outdoor projects), musical theater (acting, music, dance and creating a Broadway-style show) and video production (students learn to write, shoot, edit and host a web-based show). Athletics, arts and crafts, games and other traditional activities are also offered, along with excursions such as bowling, movies, horseback riding, ice-skating, miniature golf and water parks. The school offers the American Heritage Summer academic-enrichment program for high-achieving students.
NOTE TO PARENTS: All camp groups are supervised by adults, with a one-to-three–counselor-to-camper ratio. Twenty-five lifeguards provide daily swimming lessons for kids ages 3-8.
WHEN: June 6-Aug. 5 at the Boca Raton/Delray Beach campus; June 13-Aug. 12 at the Plantation campus. Hours: 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m., with extended hours available from
7 a.m.-6 p.m.
WHERE: 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, 954-472-0022, ext. 3043; 6200 Linton Blvd., Boca Raton/Delray Beach, 561-637-2440, ahschool.com.
EAGLES LANDING CAMP
& THE NIGHT OWLS AT
NORTH BROWARD PREPARATORY SCHOOL
Located on the school’s woodsy 82-acre site in Coconut Creek, this camp offers a traditional northeastern-style day program and a resident sleepaway camp. On the scene since 1998, the day camp serves kids 3 through ninth grade. It features five tennis courts, three pools (including two Olympic-sized), a professional-grade gym, regulation baseball, soccer, football and Field Turf athletic fields and a lake for boating. The Night Owls resident sleepaway camp is offered Monday-Friday. Overnight campers (first through ninth grade) are treated to dinner, scavenger hunts, game shows, poker nights, sports leagues and Thursday socials with a professional DJ.
NOTE TO PARENTS: The Night Owls program makes a great alternative to out-of-state camps, with kids sharing bunks of eight to 12 including at least two counselors.
WHEN: June 13-Aug. 5 at the Day Camp; June 13-Aug. 5 for the Night Owls Camp.
WHERE: 7600 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, 954-571-8709, KidsLoveELC.com.
Reserve your spot early for this popular day camp for kids 4-14 at its Boca Raton campus and 5-18 in Fort Lauderdale. The 20-acre Boca locale holds weekly programs with trips to local attractions and specialty programs such as a fine-arts camp (includes visual and performing arts and private music lessons) and band camp (kids perform in a 45-minute show). A four-week digital-media camp lets kids 9-14 create music videos, short films and news stories with state-of-the-art HD video cameras and video-editing software. They can also enjoy swimming, a video arcade and waterslides. There’s the Elevate academic program and the KidVenture indoor/outdoor activity camp. The Fort Lauderdale campus offers weekly (and longer) sessions, plus the Elevate program and more than 40 activities ranging from coding and robotics courses to bingo, beading, archery and kayaking.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Choose from weekly specialized camps, courses for credit and traditional day-camp activities or tailor
WHEN: June 6-July 29 in Boca Raton; June 13-July 29 in Fort Lauderdale. Hours in Boca Raton: 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., with extended hours from 7:45 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Hours in Fort Lauderdale:
7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
WHERE: 2700 St. Andrews Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-852-2823; 1501 NE 62nd St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-492-4100, pinecrest.edu/summer.
ST. MARK’S EPISCOPAL SCHOOL SUMMER CAMP
Interactive theme weeks are a big part of the fun at this 10-acre school-based camp, including a water week featuring water-slide rides and mystery week with a real-life game of “Clue.” Day camps serve kids in PK2-sixth grade, with the tiniest campers treated to story time, water play and snack breaks. Campers through eighth grade can choose from specialty programs such as the Hispanic cultural experience, musical theater, drama, soccer, basketball and robotics. The camp offers spacious cabins equipped with Smart Boards and Mac labs for techies. There are field trips throughout Fort Lauderdale, twice-weekly swimming at the Coral Ridge Country Club, a vacation Bible school for kids 4-10 and a CIT (Counselor in Training) program for seventh- and eighth-graders.
WHEN: June 6-July 29. Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with early and extended care available upon request.
WHERE: 1750 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-563-4508, saintmarks.com.
SUMMER ART CAMP AT
BOCA RATON MUSEUM
This camp encourages future Picassos and Warhols ages 5-12 to explore their creative chops in a structured, nurturing environment. Each week campers get the opportunity to experiment with different mediums, genres and themes, from woodworking and clay sculpture to painting and photography. They will be taught by professional artists and instructors to develop technical skills and explore self-expression. A typical day might include age-appropriate art projects in multiple studios, indoor exercise time, lunch and film- and cartoon-viewing.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Both the museum (501 Plaza Real in Mizner Park) and the art school offer adult and family programs. Choose from films and lectures, docent tours and workshops in pop art, mixed
media and sculpting.
WHEN: June 6-Aug. 12. Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Early hours and
aftercare are available.
WHERE: 801 W. Palmetto Park Road,
Boca Raton, 561-392-2503,
MAVERICKS STATE CHAMPS BASEBALL CAMP AT ARCHBISHOP EDWARD A. McCARTHY HIGH SCHOOL
Kids ages 7-13 will find the field of their dreams at this summer camp, where state-champion baseball coaches and college players explain what Little League, travel, high-school and college baseball coaches look for in selecting players – and then teach campers the necessary skills. There are slip-and-slide contests too, plus skills competitions, Friday awards ceremonies and pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets and other kid-friendly fare served in the cafeteria.
NOTE TO PARENTS: The school offers a summer institute with drama, dance, cheerleading, basketball, women’s soccer, wrestling, volleyball and iPad instruction.
WHEN: Weekly baseball sessions June 13, 20, 27; July 11, 18, 25; Aug. 1. Hours:
9 a.m.-2 p.m., with free aftercare
until 3 p.m.
WHERE: 5451 S. Flamingo Road, Southwest Ranches, 954-434-8820, mccarthyhigh.net.
LEVIS JCC MARLEEN
Located at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, this camp offers several divisions. An early childhood camp for ages 2-4 features arts and crafts, music, Judaic studies, creative movement and instructional swimming. An upper camp (kindergarten-ninth grade) offers swimming, karate, trapeze and archery, with group-building activities that encourage campers to step outside their comfort zones and build friendships. A theater camp (ages 7-14) teaches acting, lighting, set design and direction, culminating in a final production. The eight-week Camp Kavod serves individuals with special needs in grades PK-12th. There’s also a CIT program where young adults assist counselors while learning leadership skills.
NOTE TO PARENTS: The camp offers overnight excursions and on-campus activities that vary by age group, with field trips to water parks, bowling alleys and Lion Country Safari.
WHEN: June 13-Aug. 5. Hours: Vary depending on division.
WHERE: 9801 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-852-5090, levisjcc.org/camp.
JEWISH FEDERATION OF BROWARD COUNTY OVERNIGHT GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS
The Jewish Federation of Broward County is awarding grants ranging from $700-$1,000 to first-time campers to help offset costs. The federation is partnering with the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s One Happy Camper Program to provide subsidies so kids ages 8-15 can experience swimming, sports, arts, campfires and other traditional rites of passage as well as the chance to explore their Jewish heritage. Needs-based scholarships are also available.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Campers must live in Broward County to be eligible. Applications can be downloaded at Orloffcaje.org.
WHEN: Camps take place throughout
the United States. Lengths of time and
WHERE: For more information call
954-660-2077 or visit Orloffccaje.org.
NEXT STOP BROADWAY SUMMER CAMP AT
CORAL SPRINGS CENTER
FOR THE ARTS
Burgeoning drama kings and queens will appreciate this performing-arts summer camp where they can participate in a soup-to-nuts Broadway-style production in a 1,471-seat theater. In the youth camp (ages 6-13) kids are divided into age-appropriate groups for classes in dancing, acting, singing and improv, with the finale being a full-scale production of – depending on when campers attend – Mary Poppins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast or The Jungle Book. The Teen Summer Theater Project for kids 14 and up will tackle Bring it On: The Musical. Campers can also expect Minion-themed activities, Showtime Cast pizza parties, photo and DVD sessions and spirit rally gatherings, plus NSB X Factor and NSB America’s Got Talent competitions.
NOTE TO PARENTS: NSB Jamboree Orientation takes place June 9 at 6:30 p.m..
WHEN: June-Aug. 2016, with three-four- or five-week sessions available.
WHERE: 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, 954-344-5990, coralspringscenterforthearts.com.
CAMP NOVA AT NSU UNIVERSITY SCHOOL
This diverse camp offers a grab bag of fun for kids kindergarten-11th grade. The littlest attendees learn problem-solving, creativity and socialization through nature-themed activities, simple science experiments and art projects. The core camp allows second-through eighth-graders to implement favorite activities into their program such as cake decorating, digital photography, Halloween in July and video-game design. There’s a teen program with kayaking, boogie-boarding, laser tag and field trips to Marlins games; a marine-science camp where kids learn about shark tracking and stingray conservation at the Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic; and an overnight camp for kids in second through fifth grade, where they stay in NSU’s college dorms.
NOTE TO PARENTS: There is a summer scholars program for kids who want to earn extra credit or hone their academic skills.
WHEN: Overnight camp takes place June 13-17.
WHERE: 3375 SW 75th Ave.,
Fort Lauderdale, 954-262-4528,