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Summer Camp Anxiety, 2008

We recently received an annoucnement about or two about summer camp schedules being released soon.  In the past, we have done round-ups of summer camps around town.  (See the CAMP index)  It's a bit too early to do a complete round-up of summer camps 2008, but it's never too early to start talking about your favorite camps.  Our daughter is her 3rd year of being of summer camp age, and there are a few camps she is most definitely looking forward to.  Her summer won't be complete without it.

Staci recently emailed:

The time is drawing near to start figuring out where to send my son during the day in the summer. He is 10 this year, and YMCA is no longer offered as a summer program at his school, so I thought this would be a good year to start him in camps that follow specific interests. He has talked about going to animation camps and outdoor camps, and I would love love love to put him in a drama or acting camp - he has such natural talent.

I don't know where to look for all these camps! OMSI isn't posting anything specific yet, so I am asking for some urbanMama help!

What is your tactic for tackling the 10 weeks of summer this year?  Any MUST-DO summer camps for your child?  Are there alternatives to camps for school-aged kids?  What about a real full-time summer camp offering?  What are working parents to do when some summer camps only run from 9am to 3pm or from Monday to Thursday?  What do you do if your children go to a public school and you pay zero tuition all year, but are then expected to pay $X amount per week over the summer?  What programs are more affordable?

We recently also received another email from Maura:

I know it may seem early, but I’m thinking about summer camp.  I have looked over the old 2006 recommendations and have lots of great ideas.  Some of these places are just about to begin registration!  I am still in need of something sporty for a 4.5 year old who is REALLY bouncy and athletic.  We are in inner SE Portland.  It’s our first summer with no childcare, so we have a number of weeks to fill. 


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I'm a huge fan of camp Namanu. The current Camp Fire exec director came from Outward Bound, and the camp has really been reborn under his leadership. Kellie and I even rented the camp to get married, and as we were preparing for the big day, we ran into people of all ages who had been to Namanu (which is how I got a hefty discount on slacks for my groomsmen!).

It has great modern additions like the climbing walls and ropes courses for older kids, but it truly is a historic camp. It is on the banks of the Sandy river, with beautiful buildings, vast property and long-running traditions. I think they have a sliding scale for fees. We are still a few years from Jackson being old enough, but we can't wait for him to be a Mini Blue Wing. I spend a week up at camp each year taking pictures at camp for the catalog, and I am always sad when it's time to go home. It is a magical place.

Camp Namanu is amazing. It's an overnight sleepaway camp, though. I think the original poster is looking more for day camp options while she works. Tryon Creek State Park is doing a great daycamp. http://www.tryonfriends.org/education/day_camp.html

Honestly, this one of the reasons that I still stay home. The cost of all these summer choices is huge. Also, my husband and I share a firm belief that kids should have some boring summer days with nothing to do.

I have a ton of feedback on this one. My daughter started with OMSI day camps at age six. Throughout time we have done, Ethos, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, YMCA and of course Rock Camp for Girls for days.

For sleepover camps, we have tried Camp Collins, Camp Westwind, OMSI, CYO and Camp Kuralti (Salvation Army), Camp Arrowhead (now closed).

Her two favorites that she loves are Camp Collins and any OMSI Camp at Hancock Field Station in John Day. Camp Collins was her first sleepover camp, she did two nights at age seven.

I really like the day camp at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. If your family earns under $50K they have really good scholarships. They do so much great art stuff with different media. It's a bit of a hike to get there but it's AWESOME. ocac.edu, click on Art Adventures.

My daughter would NEVER go back to the Salvation Army camp. It was way too religious for her. YMMV.

If you have any questions about any the camps listed above, I would be HAPPY to tell you what I know. I love talking about camps! email me at mendegirl@aol.com

My daughter went to the Oregon Zoo day camp for preschoolers last year when she was just 4 and loved it -- their schedule will come out next week. We also tried Do Jump, http://www.dojump.org/, but she was too shy/intimidated so we dropped out. There isn't much for kids in kindergarten or preschool (that's okay, they really just need to run around outside!) but we're considering OMSI and Zoo camps this year.

I love hearing about the sleep-away camps even if our kids are too young -- I loved going when I was a kid! Hope my kids will love it, too!

I am really looking forward to our kids being old enough for Camp Quest West, http://west.camp-quest.org/, because it is "specifically designed for children of agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and others who hold a naturalistic world view." The camp is for 8 to 17yr olds (the older kids are junior counselers), is held for one week each summer in northern California. They offer a Parent Campout so you can drop the kid(s) off and have your own campout (with younger sibs if any) -- meals and showers offered. We might do the Mini-Family Camp for those with young kids (family camping with planned activities and meals) so the kids will be familiar with the place when they are old enough to "sleep-away." The camp is quite affordable because the actual cost is underwritten by free-thought supporters.

If you are looking for full-time day camps for preschool and kindergarten age (as well as older), both The International School ( http://www.intlschool.org/ ) and Mittleman JCC ( http://www.oregonjcc.org ) have great programs and offer pre- and after- care. My kindergarten age son has really enjoyed both programs.

Cathedral Park Cooperative Preschool has a summer adventure planned for three weeks in June and three weeks in July, specific dates still pending and you should be able to register by the week, so aren't committed for all six. It goes Mon-Fri, 9:00-11:30 and is for preschool aged kids, 3-5 (if kids are 3 by Sept 1 they can come, too). As a cooperative, your role is to be a parent helper one day of the week. I'll post more info as the details get worked out but it's something to start thinking about now if you're interested for that age group.

Omsi day camp registration opened on monday the 11th - poke around under Education at their website. Its not always clear depending on what page you're on but they are open and we signed up on mon.

PUMP Summer Program is a great, Christian day camp that runs for six weeks in the summer. They emphasize reading maintenance and character development. It is especially geared for low-income families - the whole summer runs for $20 per child. http://pumpchurch.org/index.php/ministries/detail/psp_overview/

For week-long overnight stints, Camp Yamhill - located in the coast range - is a great option. http://www.campyamhill.org/

I'm wondering if anybody knows of a camp my 10 year old could attend 2 days a week (Tues./Thurs.)? We want a summer camp experience but we'd like to leave the full 5 day week grind behind.

last summer, Rose City Gymnastics had summer camp and was the only one I came across that allowed siging up for partial weeks- I only needed Fridays. My daughter had fun and they go swimming @ Dishman pool some of the days. http://www.rosecitygym.com/index.html

I was a Summer Camp Junkie as a Kid and HANDS DOWN Camp Westwind (YWCA) was the best camp. You get to spend an entire week (or more) at the beach doing fun camper stuff. I can't wait until my son is old enough to appreciate the Mommy & Me camp because I want go back.

BTW OMSI has their camp schedule out now. I just got it in the mail yesterday.

My kid (will be almost 4 by then) has a daycare vacation at an awkward, end-of-summer time - the first three weeks of September. Any suggestions for covering that time?

My kids went to Camp Namanu through Camp Fire USA last summer and had an amazing experience. My daughter (11) actually said she met kids from different backgrounds, religions and cultures and thought that it was cool that they were all different and still fit in. My son,(8) just had a blast with all the outdoor adventure. Both of them sang songs in the car all the way back home and talked about their favorite parts about camp and how much they wanted to go back next summer. We go camping as a family almost every week during the summer, but the experience of being on their own at a traditional summer camp like Namanu, was empowering for them on so many different levels.

Last year my 10 yr old daughter attended Portland Enviornmental Engagement Program (PEEPS) and she loved it. The children were taught stewardship and learned how to be a part of a community. Each day the children travel to different locations some of which were planting trees with the Friends of trees, going to PSU and learning about sustainability and working at the Oregon Food bank for a day. It was an awesome expirience for her and we look forward to sending her this year.

I found this website that lists lots of camps.. What do people do if they can not afford these awesome camps???


I would always encourage people to ask about scholarships, work exchanges, etc. for summer programs/camps.

You'd be surprised at what you can work out. I used to have the summer mapped out and partial scholarship apps in by the end of February because it would take me until June to get my portion of the bills paid off.
It usually ended up cheaper than doing child care all summer.

We LOVE ETHOS! They have an amazing summer camp and if you qualify for free or reduced lunch the price is cheaper than a family of four going to the movies! We tried them last summer and now my daughter takes classes there. Also I have to agree that OCAC is amazing. My 7 yr. old looks forward to it every year, this will be her third year this summer.

Oregon College of Art & Craft is AWESOME, I agree! They also have a Spring Break Camp coming up from the 24th - 28th of March. I just spoke to them and they still have full scholarships available.

Sometimes I feel really limited because we are a two-FT-working-parent family and, therefore, need a camp that runs pretty much from 8/9 to 5. There are several camps that we'd be interested in that only run from say 9-3.

But, what we have found successful for full-day fun camps -

Friendly House. Different themes, plus there are two-week swim camps and the entire camp heads down to Sellwood Pool for swim classes (every level) in the morning, lunch in the park in the PM, then free swim in the afternoon. There is usually a day there that they go spend the afternoon at Oaks Park. So much fun! It is absolutely a great time and our daughter has so many fond summer memories there. They've also done trips out to Ft Stevens or Bonneville Dam or take frequent jaunts around town. The kids pile onto TriMet and such to get around. The counselors are great, and have been there for years. They bond with the kids. The past two summers, on her last day there, my daughter has cried because she doesn't want the fun to end. We tell her: "There's always next summer!" The program is for kids who have finished kindergarten and up.... runs 7am to 6pm if you need it! http://www.friendlyhouseinc.org/pages/programs/summerchaps.htm

Ethos. It is indeed awesome. Due to demand, a child can only sign up for two week-long sessions. The biggest hit for our daughter last year: hip hop. They got to mix, make beats, and record their own CD. They learned the history of hip hop and it all culminated with a performance at the end of the week. This year, she wants to do the hip hop and the rock camp. (Just one more year til she's old enough for Girls Rock n Roll Camp!) Ethos offers financial assistance and camp runs from 9am to 5pm. http://www.ethos-inc.org/ethosmusiccamp.html

Kool Kamp at Lloyd Center. It's an ice skating camp. Last year was her first time at kool kamp and she loved it. She is now officially obsessed with ice skating, and we can't figure out if that is a blessing or a curse. The camp runs from 8am to 6pm. The major downfall is that they are inside (the mall!) the whole day, so we schedule this for June weeks when weather is still unpredictable. Like the swim camp at Friendly House, there are lessons in the AM and free skate in the PM. Get your skating fix! http://www.lloydcenterice.com/kamp.htm

Cycling Camps. Although the sessions end at 3pm every day, we're going to find a way to make this work for us. Learning how to safely bike around town and bike from place to place with a bunch of peers? Sounds awesome. This will be our first year and our daughter can't wait. Plus, she's doing a week of "girls camp", which she is really looking forward to. http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/index.php/programs/summer-camp/2008-summer-camp-schedule/

smARTworks at PNCA. We haven't been yet but she has been expressing interest in an art camp. There is this full-day camp that is at PNCA in the Pearl that we may consider. http://www.pnca.edu/programs/ce/youth/smartworks.php

BodyVox. This one's a bit more expensive for us and no financial aid available. We just heard about it and they do full day camps (9 to 4:30pm) focusing on creative movement. We wish it was cheaper, then we'd *definitely* be there. It really sounds amazing: http://www.bodyvox.com/downloads/BodyVoxDanceCamp.pdf

Peninsula/Dishman community centers. These are our local community centers. And, we always know a handful of each that goes to the day camps at the community centers, so we may do a week at each to mix up the summer a bit. The camps at community centers are probably half (or less than half) the price of any of the other camps. It looks like most all of the community centers have a day camp offering for school-aged kids.

Oregon College of Art and Craft -- if it was easier for us to get there, we'd definitely sign up. Sounds like a fantastic program, plus it runs the full day from 9 to 5! http://www.ocac.edu/index.asp?id=19

Here's the online version of a piece I wrote for the March Portland Family on local summer camps:


My daughter loved the Summer Camps at One With Heart. Kids move like the animals in this cool martial art; monkey, tiger, crane and snake. There is a creative movement element to it that I really like and so did my daughter. They go to Mt Scott Pool, play and train at Laurelhurst Park and learn some amazing skills. My daughter is 6 and I was a bit tenative that she would be too shy or too young for a martial art but she had a blast! We toured the school to check it our before to make sure it felt safe and macho-free. There were just as many women instructors as there were men which felt like a good balance.
The focus and enthusiasm she had when demonstrating some of her new skills at home was like nothing I had seen before. It was an all day camp but they let you mix it up. I really liked the instructors. They were very compassionate and warm. I highly recommend this to any working parent who has a child interested in movement and fun.
Check out their website.

We're doing Zenger Farm for my 8 year-old (and hopefully a science or naturalism camp) and Hands On Art and Play for my 2 1/2 yo.


Oh and last year older dd did Metro Arts. That was great!

Both my daughter and son have been campers at Camp VIDA at Providence Montessori School. They both had such a great time; being allowed to work and play uninterrupted, enjoying interesting guest artists and soaking up loads of sunshine! I would recommend Camp VIDA for any child between the ages of 2 1/2 - 12. The staff have been doing this for a long time and are very experienced and loving.

Just to add to the list (this is a camp organizer speaking, just to be frank!). We offer a cultural camp: PASAPORTE A GUATEMALA for 5-10 year olds, and a SPANISH LANGUAGE IMMERSION CAMP for 4-6 year olds. Both are day camps 9am-12pm with highly skilled instructors, invited guests, and lots of fun! You can see descriptions at http://www.portlandearlylearning.com/SpanishCampBrochures.html

Just to add to the list (this is a camp organizer speaking, just to be frank!). We offer a cultural camp: PASAPORTE A GUATEMALA for 5-10 year olds, and a SPANISH LANGUAGE IMMERSION CAMP for 4-6 year olds. Both are day camps 9am-12pm with highly skilled instructors, invited guests, and lots of fun! You can see descriptions at http://www.portlandearlylearning.com/SpanishCampBrochures.html

There is also the "School's Out / Art's In" Summer camp at the Museum of Contemporary Craft:


June 23-27, 9:30 AM–3:30 PM, The Lab
Save the date!: July 21-25, 9:30 AM–3:30 PM

Cost: $225 (Members $200)
Open to children ages 7-12
Pre-registration is required

With the exhibition Generations: Ken Shores as inspiration, professional artists guide campers in a week-long investigation of craft traditions and techniques using a wide range of materials. Mornings are spent exploring exhibitions and learning about artists, while afternoons focus on working through ideas and making homemade creations inspired by the Museum’s programming.

See more details and register online at http://www.MuseumofContemporaryCraft.org or email: education@museumofcontemporarycraft.org

I just registered my daughter for what sounds like a great day camp at Community Cycling Center:

"In a creative and supportive environment - and with an emphasis on experiential learning - campers age 6 -15 years old build confidence, knowledge, and skills. Campers have the chance to learn how to ride safely, fix their bike, and travel to fun destinations throughout the city. Sessions are one week each from June 16 – August 29, 2008."


Some scholarships are available.

Sheryl, my 7.5yr old is really looking forward to the Cycling Center camps. She is also signed up for this year.

One last camp that I signed up for last week was at Old McDonald's Farm. They can be bused from a location near Lloyd Center, leaving at 8:20 and returning at 4. The camp is in Corbett. They have programs for kids entering 2nd through 10th grades:

Also just found out about this camp on the University of Portland campus in North Portland for children entering grades 1 to 6, the week of June 23, 9am to 3pm: http://www.up.edu/recservices/default.aspx?cid=5501&pid=76

An interesting offering for older children aged 10-15:

"Youth ages 10 to 15 years of age will learn basic skills to care for children ages 6 months to 6 years of age. In this 2 week course study, students will work in a classroom with 8 to 10 young children, being provided individual instruction from the classroom teacher.
Summer Schedule:

June 16th-27th. 9:00 – 11:00AM
July 7th- 18th. 3:00 – 5:00PM
July 21st- Aug 1st. 9:00 – 11:00AM
August 11th- 22nd. 4:00 – 6:00PM

Students will:
• build self confidence
• learn leadership skills
• encourage positive behavior
• support safety and safe play
• gain knowledge of feeding schedules
• be trained to properly pick up and hold a young infant
• become skilled at diapering and assistance at the potty
• discover appropriate ways to communicate with young children
• become certified in infant and child first aid and CPR
• learn how to communicate with parents
• handle bedtime and napping issues

ChildRoots is located at 50 SE 17th, on the corner of 17th and East Burnside, cost $180 per session. Call 503-235-1151 to register."

Hey here is a NEW camp for those young ladies and gents wanting to experience elegance and etiquette (ballroom dancing, phototgrahy, gourmet meal tutorials) all in one week. It is in Oregon City at the Ainsworth House and Gardens, but quite worth it!

Check out the details at www.lavenderteahouse.com!!

June 23-27 Social Graces & Etiquette Camp
July 21-25 Modern Manners & Etiquette Camp

ANNOUNCING CAMP SCRAP! Come join us for a week full of fun and educational art projects, activities and field trips! Campers will explore all the amazing things that can be made out of "scrap" materials, while also learning about the three R's: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!

Three five-day sessions will be offered this summer, for kids aged 6-10: (June 23-27, July 7-11, July 21-25). The camp will last from 9am to 3pm each day and be located at 3901 A N Williams, Portland (2 blocks N of Fremont at Failing). Cost is $185 member / $200 non-member. Each day will focus on a different material commonly found in the waste stream, and will include either a field trip or a visit from a local artist. At SCRAP (School and Community Reuse Action Project), our goal is both to inspire children's creativity and to promote environmentally sustainable behavior in them. What will your child create?

Please visit our website for more info: http://www.scrapaction.org

My neighbor is doing a cool looking summer camp-

Runabouts Family Preschool

2008 Summer Camp!

Runabouts is a PLAY-BASED preschool in the Foster/Powell neighborhood of SE Portland.

The camp is open to and appropriate for children ages 3- 8ish.

There's an emphasis on:

*Art, dramatic play, science, etc.

*Hands-on experiences

*Open-ended and child-directed activities

*Problem solving and conflict resolution

*Developmentally appropriate practices

*Emergent Curriculum

*An unschool and freeschool influence

*Anti-Bias Education

*The work of Early Childhood Educator, Bev Bos

*I have lots of experience working with young children, plenty of great references, an AS degree in Early Childhood Education, and a BA in Alternative Education.

This summer we'll be doing tons of water play, sand play, gardening, and picnics in addition to our regular curriculum.

*Two part-time sessions are available this summer.

*Each session is 3 weeks long (July 7-25 and August 11-29).

*Choose from a T/Th, M/W/F, or M-F schedule.

*Camp is from 9am-1pm. Before and aftercare are available on a case-by-case basis.

*The program is designed for children ages 3-6, but could be great fun for older children.

*It's a small program, with 5 or 6 children per morning.
The cost per 3 week session is as follows:

Tue/ Thur: $180-
Mon/ Wed/ Fri: $270-
Mon-Fri: $450-

Please check out the website and/or email or call for more information:
runaboutsfamilypreschool.com, runaboutsfamilypreschool@gmail.com, 503-788-6471

Old McDonald's Farm in Corbett still has openings for the week of July 14th-18th. It's 9:00am-3:30pm M-F, $189 for the week. My daughter LOVES it there. For an additional $44 they will pick up near the Lloyd Center in a very safe minibus driven by one of the owners of the farm.

Create and Record Music This Summer!

Classes are on-going at Old Library Studio with the summer sessions enrolling now! Course descriptions include:

Music & Technology (a great way to get started!)
Recording, Editing, and Mixing
Synthesizers, Samplers, Sequencers and MIDI
Band Recording Workshop

About us: Old Library Studio is a unique music-technology classroom and recording studio for teens. Teens from a broad range of musical and non-musical backgrounds learn to compose and record their own music, guided by staff and professional mentors.

For enrollment info:
3924 NE Hancock Street Portland

There is a French language camp for ages 3-5 at Dishman Community Center (77 NE Knott) during the first week of August.

Children join in play-along adventures, games, songs & crafts while learning some French basics. No prior French required.

The camp runs from 9am-11am on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday (Aug 4th, 6th, & 8th).

To register for the camp go to the Parks and Rec registration page at:

OR call Dishman Community Center at:

Parents are also working on other ongoing French language opportunities for kids, and supporting language learning at home. To join the group, send an email to FrenchforFamilies-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I thought I would post a roundup after our whirlwind selection so far this summer. My son loved 1-2-3 Blastoff! that was offered at his school through Mad Science. It was his favorite so far. Another big hit was Camp Invention, which really did ignite his imagination. He also really enjoyed soccer camp offered through Skyhawks. OMSI camp was a disappointment-- he learned interesting things, but had problems with a particular child which ruined it for him, and it seemed that supervision was a little thin in 'off times'.

Does anyone have a review of Camp Kuratli? My son went to YMCA Silver Creek Falls last year and hated it. (it rained all week) and they were soaked, as there are no indoor activities. I was thinking of letting him go to Kuratli.

Girls summer camps offer a range of activities from horseback riding to swimming to archery and a lot more. Summer camps for girls also have trained counselors for each age group to help the campers with various issues and problems. All summer camp activities are usually conducted by skilled instructors who are experts in the field. Some of the sports that are much enjoyed by campers are football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, golf, etc.


My doughter went to Camp last summer and had an amazing experience. My daughter actually said she met kids from different backgrounds, religions and cultures and thought that it was cool that they were all different and still fit in. Girls camps offer several recreational activities in a safe and supporting environment. These training centers are offering the dedicated girls wellbeing programs where girls can come and study lots of things. Counselors of these training centers are committed and they try to give all necessary services to the campers. There are several affordable camps for girls in country which aim is for each camper to gain, at her own pace, a deeper understanding of herself and of her relationship with other people and the natural world. Girls schools are highly committed to offer quality based education programs.


Girls camps provides a unique athletic experience for girls. It is a place where girls have the opportunity to enhance their skills, increase their knowledge of and participate in a wide variety of sports. Numerous recognized girls camp are working in country which develop confidence in each girl within a caring and encouraging atmosphere. During each session, they attend team practices, receive workouts tailored to their abilities and compete in games. Individual skill improvement and a better tactical awareness of each sport offered are a focus of our camp.


There are numbers of coed summer camps, wilderness camps as well as military camps present for the camping programs of children and teenagers. Youths of all age groups are welcomed for the camping programs by theses camps. Youths are free to choose best of the summer camping programs based on their needs and interests. Camps recommend such programs that stretch the intellectual, emotional, social and behavioral skills of the boys and girls. Youth camping programs provide experiential and hands on learning experiences to the kids as well as also counsel them for getting the goal of life. Youths attain overall personality development and emotional maturity in the challenging and fostering environment of the training centers.


Summer camps and Military schools both recommend experiential camping programs that are very helpful for the teenagers in stretching their life skills. Summer camping schools generally recommend entrance to both boys and girls who wish to join the educational learning programs and camping programs. Camps build a strong foundation that makes youth confident, sober, responsible, and hard working. Fostering and promoting environment of the training centers make them self motivated and enthusiastic. Youth military schools incorporate the qualities of honorific, discipline, problem solving mind set, assistance, team work, time management and various other strong skills.


Summer camp programs are highly supervised and experiential. Camp programs are related with varieties of fields. Teenagers who have special needs and interests can join the certified summer camps. These programs develop overall personality, emotions and behavior of youths for achieving success in life. Training programs are designed for fostering the physical and mental fitness of the kids. Specialized aggressive teens summer camps recommend such effective programs for removing all the disorders and evils of the troubled youths. These programs play a significant role in the recovery of the struggling and defiant children.


OMSI Summer Camps and Classes registration is now open:

My daughter, 8.5, won a week at YMCA Camp Collins in a lottery. She's never been away from home for more than one overnight. Can anyone please give a review of this camp? They are listed on many websites, but always have zero reviews. I found one that said they made the children clean the toilets, and one other that was very positive.

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