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Camp Recap for Summer 2008

At the beginning of summer we created a camps forum similar to the urbanMamas schools forum so we can share feedback about our camp experiences, helping others make informed choices going forward with the valuable input of others who've already been there.  We hope you'll take a minute to report out before that part of our brains is completely lost to homework, soccer practice, and harvest festivals.   Did you l-o-v-e a particular camp this summer?  Have a not-so-great experience that you think others could  benefit from knowing about? 

We enjoyed our last year of summer-long child care, so come early spring '09 I know I'll be checking this forum to see what everyone says about the camps we're considering. Because in my mind there's really nothing quite as useful as the opinions of other parents.


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My daughter and I had a terrific time at the Sals and Pals session at Girl Scouts Camp Arrowhead. It's basically a mother-daughter session, and it gave us time to hang out together and enjoy the outdoors, and we also got to hang out with a friend and her daughter. We got to do arts and crafts, go canoeing, climb the rock wall, go to campfires, and more.

I was impressed with the pervasive Oregon Zoo Camp. Well run, informative, interesting and my 4 year old boy had a great time.

Camp Arrowhead re-opened? Wow, that is exciting news. Did they do a full summer of sessions this year?

We're looking forward to zoo camp next year since my son will be 4. I thought I would mention that we did a few of the Animal A-Z classes this spring and we were seriously underwhelmed, which was unfortunate. They say in the class description that snack is provided, and snack consists of a small ziplock bag with a graham cracker or two in it--I would have packed a more substantial snack and a drink had I known. The craft project was ok, and they read a couple books about the highlighted animal and then go visit the exhibit. Aside from the craft project though, it's not all that different from a normal visit to the zoo. My son loves animals and he was underwhelmed-we've done better classes through Parks and Rec at a fraction of the price. I'm planning to write a letter to the zoo with some constructive feedback and suggestions, but thought I'd mention it here.

We also did several sessions of the preschool camp at Peninsula Park Community Center and they were fabulous, Anders had a great time. They run 2.5 hours a day (they have a morning and afternoon session) Monday-Thursday and each week is a different theme. (I think we did Bears, Bugs and Water-all fun). They do craft projects, go outside and play on the play structure and in the splash pool, and play inside in the classroom. Teacher Joyce is great--she's pretty well known and everyone loves her. And they are such a bargain--$35 for the entire week! I plan to sign up for more next summer.

We tried a few of the camps at Dishman for preschool age kids(similiar to the ones at Peninsula) and I was not that impressed. The activities had very little to do with the theme, and the kids spent alot of time playing with the fisher price toys in the classroom. Boring. I wouldn't recommend it.

I was the one that recommended the Zoo camp and I totally agree with those A-Z classes. Not well received by my kids either. Good for you for writing a letter.

My 5 year old daugther attended Grace Art Camp for the first time this year. She loved it and did some amazing artwork. It was so great for her to get to explore some art mediums such as printmaking, drama, and fused glass that she would not normally have exposure to. Her only complaint was that one week was too short. The camp was well run and very organized.

We did the zoo camp and it was good...my six year old son was happy and excited.

We also did the Earth Song farm camp at the Tryon Life Community Farm -- totally cool. It's great because younger kids can also go -- my three year old went along with my six year old and it was really wonderful for both. They came home covered in dirt and scratches from being outside all day, with HUGE smiles on their faces.

My favorite, hands-down, absolutely best summer camp of all time, though, was through Art Up studios -- they have an art camp in coordination with Jenny Wells Studio that exposes kids to the most amazing array of art projects -- my kiddo, who I didn't believe was AT ALL artistically inclined, came home with projects suitable for a gallery. Stunning. They also have a No-school Art-school, meaning that on teacher work-days, school vacations, etc. they offer camps. Gush. Gush.

We did zoo camp and my 4 year old loved it. Also loved Grace Art camp, although Art Up sounds like fun when we reach 6. The camp my daughter enjoyed the most was Bodyvox dance camp, over in NW Portland. The energy was great and my daughter still raves about it although it was at the beginning of the summer.

Zoo Camp here, for the 2nd year. He liked it just as much this year as last.

Did anyone partake of the camps run by the Community Cycling Center? I'm hoping they do those again next year 'cos they sounded pretty cool.

My daughter did the Community Cycling Center camp over the summer and loved it. She did the very last week before school, and I daresay had she done an earlier week, she would have been able to talk me into a second week later in the summer. I posted info about it yesterday in the camp forums, under sports. This is on her "must do" list for next summer.

My first grader had a great time at Camp Collins and a month later cannot stop talking about it. She does a couple of camps each summer and this has been her favorite. There is a bus that picks the kids up between 7:30 and 8 at Alameda School and returns them around 6. They do crafts, play outside, swim, etc. She can't wait to do it next year.

In the past we also loved camps with Joyce at Peninsula. Joyce runs a really great program and she did great crafts to stick with the theme. Next year my youngest will be there for a few weeks.

My older son, who's 7, loved SCRAP camp (scrapaction.org). They went on field trips to plastic recycling centers, went to the rebuilding center, I think they may have also gone to a dump, and took tri-met. They were given objects from each of these places and made art with the materials. It really made an impact on him! I was impressed.

I'll also second DIY Lounge's (diylounge.com) "no school art school." They do an excellent job with projects and my son LOVED going. The projects are amazing.

It's been the best summer yet for our almost-8 year old, who was in her 3rd year of summer camping. We did Ethos (2 weeks), where the kids learn to make their own rock & hip-hop music (so awesome). New for us this year was the cycling camps at the Community Cycling Center. Our daughter loved this camp, especially the girls-only camp (ages 8-10). She also went to Old Macdonald's Farm and some ice skating camp.

I had a conversation with a random 1st grader who was telling me all about a farm camp that she had been to, but didn't know the name. In East - somewhere (she knows it was on the other side of the bridge from where we were). Any ideas what that could be? She was giving a glowing review of it.

Our daughter went to a week of farm camp at Old MacDonald's Farm: http://www.oldmcdonaldsfarm.org/

It is located in Corbett. There is a bus option that departs and drops off from close-in Portland.

Is it time to think about 2009 yet? The camp brochures are coming out now...

last summer my 4 yr old loved the nature camp at tryon state park and the zoo camp.

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