City of Berkeley Summer Day Camps (Berkeley, CA)
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City of Berkeley Summer Day Camps (Berkeley, CA)
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Any new reviews of City of Berkeley summer camp? I have gotten a few rave reviews,
but see some negative ones in the archive.
My camper would be entering first grade.
We sent our first grader there last summer, she loved it! Came back happy everyday and always
looked forward to what the next days adventures would bring.
As a parent I found the rigidity of drop-off time a bit annoying. The counselors would be at
the park early, stand around chatting with each other, but would absolutely not allow the
children to be signed in until the sign in time. So it made my commute to the city a bit hectic
in the mornings, but overall it was the best priced camp and she was happy. We'll be sending
her again this summer.
Happy Berkeley City Camp Parent
How did your child do at Berkeley Day camp?
I'm a day camp newbie and have been completely blown away by how expensive
summer camps are in our area.
After looking at different options, it seems like the City of Berkeley
Summer Day Camp may be the best choice for us. It's less expensive than the
other camps we researched, and it seems like the kids spend a ton of time
outdoors. This would be great for my active boy, who will be turning 6 over
I was hoping to get some recent feedback from parents who have done the
City of Berkeley Day Camp for their children, since the earliest archived
recs are from 2008.
My son doesn't need a whole lot of bells and whistles, as he'll only be
going for a couple of weeks, most likely. However, we do need the camp to
be safe and nurturing (he can be sensitive sometimes).
Lastly, he'll most likely be going by himself, as most of his friends are
going to more expensive camps, so I'd love to hear from folks who sent
their kids alone, as well... how did they do? Are the counselors good at
encouraging friendships between the campers?
Thanks in advance for your feedback!
Summer Camp Newbie
My son who was 9 last year did two weeks of the City of Berkeley Day
Camp and really liked it. It was not at all full of ''bells and
whistles'', instead all the time was spent outdoors in Tilden Park and
Berkeley Marina. The price was very affordable and additional plus was
that they had various pick-up/drop-off places in Berkeley and we had one
just a few blocks away. We will do it again this year!
I hate to say it, but both of my children were ho-hum about Berkeley Day
Camp. I SO wanted them to like it because of the price and the
convenience, but BOTH of them (one sensitive, one very mellow and likes
anything) said they didn't like it. My mellow and good-natured son
threw a fit the last day and didn't want to go after just 4 days at
camp. From what I could gather based on both of their limited abilities
to communicate nuanced information at ages 5 and 6, the counselors
weren't that pro-active about encouraging friendships between kids, and
the pace is rather hectic, going to a different place every day, and
spending lots of time in transport on the bus from the various pick ups
at parks to whatever site they were headed to for the day. It was
chaotic at drop off and pick up each day, and i would have been VERY
nervous if my children didn't have a friend to go with. If your son
goes for more than one week, he may have a different counselor every
week. Now, my kids went 3 and 2 years ago, so it is highly possible
things may have changed, but unfortunately, I think you get what you pay
for in summer camps and Berkeley Day Camp is cheap for a reason.
Not a Fan of Berkeley Day Camp
My son, who was between K and 1st grade last summer, absolutely loved Berkeley
Day Camp. I was a little surprised, because he can be more of an indoor, shy
kid. He really liked the counselors and the outdoor activities, and for him
the lack of bells and whistles was perfect. (He preferred this camp to a
couple of other more expensive ones, though he liked Lawrence Hall of Science
equally well.) That said, he did know a few kids at camp from his elementary
school. I don't know if he stuck with them during camp, but it probably helped
him in the big group to have a few familiar faces.
mom of happy BDC camper
Techsplosion Lego Solar Engineering Camp at Live Oak
My daughter did this Green Machine Lego Solar Engineering Camp during
the December school break at Berkeley's Live Oak Rec Center. I can't
say enough good things about it and the instructor Shumit DasGupta.
The projects were challenging and fun. My daughter was the youngest
(age 6) and the only girl in a class of boys in the 9-10 year old
range, but this wasn't a problem. The instructor did a great job of
getting kids to work together and he provided each child with
challenges appropriate to his/her own level. Some kids had a lot of
engineering experience, others had none but they all seemed to learn
and enjoy themselves. This camp will be given again during the week of
Berkeley Schools' Spring Break. If you have a child with an interest
in science or inventing, I highly recommend it. I understand
Techsplosion also offers Robotics and Rocketry camps and after school
programs for a slightly older age group, though I don't know
when/where these will be offered next. I hope to get my daughter's
school onboard for the after school programs.
Willard Clubhouse summer program
Just wondering if anyone has any experience/feedback about the
Willard Clubhouse summer program. I am thinking of sending my
daughter there this summer and haven't been able to find out much
info. I often see the after-school program there and like the
vibe. Any thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated!
I'm not sure there is a City of Berkeley summer program at
Willard - it is used for before and after care for the City of
Berkeley summer day camp at Tilden Park - kids get picked up and
dropped off from there.
We love the camp and have also used the Willard after care
program along with the camp and it has worked extremely well for
our son. It's a lot of good old-fashioned summer activities,
games, tie dye, beading, hikes, cookouts. All I know is he comes
home filthy and exhausted every day and really happy.
Heading for day camp year 3
Yes, there is a summer ''playground program'' at Willard Park. It only goes from 12 to 6
each day, but then again it only costs $5 a week. The kids go swimming twice a week
at Willard Pool. Other than that, they just hang out in the park, play soccer, play with
each other, do whatever. It's certainly not that exciting, but the counselors are usually
really sweet, and we have loved signing up for this option. My son gets to play in the
park all day with his friend(s) while I still have lots of free time to get done what I need
to get done. (I'm a teacher, so I have a lot of time off in the summer.) Because it is SO
cheap, I just sign my son up for all the weeks we even might be in town, and if we
miss many of the days because we are doing day trips, so be it. City of Berkeley Day
Camp, which has also been fabulous, is more appropriate if you need full time or
morning care. Oddly, they use Willard Playground as their after camp site - the
campers join the kids who are already there for the playground program, and they pay
considerably more than $5 a week for the privilege of having those few hours of after
A satisfied parent
Tilden Park camp and Live Oak Park camp
I just realized that the city of Berkeley offers a day camp that
goes to Tilden and the Marina and another camp at the Live Oak
Community Center. Does anyone have experience with one or both
of these camps? Would love to hear about your experience. Thanks.
My son (8 years old) went to Berkeley Day camp the last two
summers, and to the Live Oak camp this past winter break for
three days. The Live Oak camp included several disabled
children and they had minimal activities. They were scheduled
to do some outdoor activities, but it rained so they stayed in
and watched movies all day. I wouldn't send my child back - it
wasn't a good fit. Berkeley Day camp is great, lots of running
around in the forest, good counselors, devoted staff. Whole
Berkeley Day Camp
I HIGHLY recommend City's Berkeley Day Camp (kindergarten
through aged 13 with the option of older kids being Counselors
in Training at a greatly reduced fee for camp) which is a
different program than the park-based programs. Unlike the park-
based programs, Day Camp kids meet at one of I think 3 drop off
locations and then are bused to various locations for the day.
The basic schedule is 2 days at Tilden Park, 2 days at the
Berkeley Marina, and 1 day either at Echo Lake or the beach in
Alameda. I found the Day Camp program far superior (had tried
the San Pablo Park program). My active boys LOVED being
outdoors all the time and the staff is mostly college/young
adult age rather than high school aged - very mature and VERY
engaged with the kids).
Day Camp Lover
Does anyone have experience with this camp? Any concerns or
positive imput about safety, quality of staff, atmosphere,
programs, etc? It's so much less expensive than others -- is
it too good to be true?
Berkeley City Day camp is great. My older daughter went there
every summer for several years, and my youngest daughter is now
attending. Lots of outdoor fun, and crafts. The kids come home
dirty, tired and happy, so you know they had a good time. The
staff are fun and energetic.
Could anyone whose child has attended the Citycamp summer camp
in Berkeley please share thoughts about this camp? I'm intrigued
by it for my 7-year-old (come summer). Was it fun? Was it well
organized? Did your child like it? Were you comfortable with the
level of supervision? Did your child have any bad experiences?
Would your child go again? Etc. - Thanks.
My son has loved the City of Berkeley daycamp program for the
last 2 years(ages 6 & 7)--multiple weeks. They have fun
counselors & a good variety of activities. The counselors are
young and good with kids, and seem as responsible as one could
expect for their age. Any requests (i.e. changing groups to be
with a friend)were accomplished easily. And of course it's the
best bargain in town--we've done weeks at many camps that were
double the price and they were not superior in any way. Every
year (including this one) we add more weeks at City of Berkeley.
Has anyone had children go to this camp? It's surprisingly
affordable, which I am sorry to say is a fairly significant
thing this summer. Is it very chaotic? I have a fairly high
need nine year old and a less high need six year old and would
probably enroll them for several weeks along with other camps.
Additionally, does anyone have any suggestions for relatively
low cost camps?
My son went to Berkeley Day Camp for four or five years and loved it. He
stopped when he was around ten as he wanted to try new things.
It's an exceptional value and the counselors are terrific. One thing to
consider: You have to get your application in by the first day or you will
probably not get in. Many parents sign up for all the sessions. The camp
sends half the time in Tilden and and the other half down by the Berkeley
Another outstanding camp is Playground Rats, run by the Albany YMCA. This is
all sports, all of the time. The Y has other camps too.
My daughter loved Berkeley Day Camp and has gone there for 2 summers. The
beginning of the pre-first-grade summer was a little rough because she
wasn't in a group with any of her friends, but I learned that you can
request that certain kids be together, and then my daughter made friends
very easily and enjoyed her new friends as much as the old ones. The bigger
kids were very nice to the younger ones, and kids took care of each other at
the bus stop as well as at camp. I know some people have had problems with
the supervision and lack of attention to kids with medical needs, but I have
no complaints myself.
Re Berkeley Day Camp: My son has gone for at least 3-4
years and is sad that this is the last he'll be able to
attend (due to age limits). I think it's the best deal
in town! They hire great college kids who seem to be
creative and fun. The camp will honor requests to have
your child placed in the same group with friends, which
is always a plus in the kids' minds. If your child does
not like to be outside a lot, it's not a good choice
because it is Entirely outside. I think there is a
pretty good balance of activities, but it is a fairly
low-key camp. The one complaint I've had is that it
can be a little loose in the mornings when you drop
your child off and this can be a problem if you're in
a hurry to get to work. You have to wait for one of
the 'bus counselors' to be present, and they sometimes
stroll in a little late. The end-of-day pick-up time
seems to be slightly fluid as well....
My son has been to Berkeley Day Camp twice ((at 9 years
old for two weeks and last year at 10 years old for the
whole summer). He loved it and got on well with the
other kids. This is a kid who has been immature/high
maintenance in terms of behavior and social interactions
in school, after school care, and past summer programs.
Reasons for success? In my opinion, the staff was mature
(at least college aged), well-trained, and visibly
enthusiastic (didn't act like it was just a job). The
staff seemed to deal with the kids individually - for
example, when the age groups were remixed after the
first session, my son was placed with 8-10 year olds
rather than 10-13 year olds which made sense in terms
of where he was (and though he complained, it really
worked for him) Also, the format of going to different
locations each day (Strawberry Canyon, Adventure Playground,
swimming) kept things interesting and because the kids
had to take buses, walk! , ! I think it reinforced the
kids's understanding of the need for self-discipline
and structure. My 6 year old is already talking about
"I get to go this summer" (has caught his brother's
enthusiasm) and my now 11 year old can't wait to be a
CIT (Counselor in Training).
And this from this morning:
By the way, we've been very happy with the City of Berkeley Day Camp http://www.berkeleycamps.com/daycamp.html. It's energetic and fun, the price is great, they have camperships if you need that, and you don't need to sign up until April 24.
I've sent my kids to Berkeley City Day Camp for many years. In my opinion, it's
not for everyone, but if you are OK with its style, it's great and certainly
the best bargain you'll find. Strengths are that the kids are outside most of
the time, that there is a high tolerance for exuberance (veering toward chaos
on occasion), that it has a Berkeley community feel to it, and that it's diverse. Weaknesses are that it's
big, much of the direct supervision of kids is done
by relatively young and inexperienced counselors, and that it can get chaotic.
I would not recommend it for kids who prefer a quiet, low-key environment or
for parents who prefer to see their kids in a controlled environment with lots
of adult supervision. My kids love it because it's a lot of fun. I turn off
the control-freak part of me and send them because it seems like a bit of
craziness is a good antidote to the rest of the year and one of the things
summer is for.
Berkeley Day Camp is great. My going-into-first-grader loves it. They get
picked up at a school and get to ride the school bus to Tilden or the
Marina. The staff is fabulous. They swim at Anza or Crab Cove or Crown
Beach every week. There is a weekly cook out. You can sign up for just the
weeks you want. And it has got to be the bargain of the area ($57 week till
3:30, a little more for extended day). You do have to sign up on time and
pay in advance. Call the city for details for next summer. My husband went
to this camp 30 years ago!
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 14:47:58 -0700
Willard Park (at Derby and Hillegas) has a small summer program
which my son is attending and really enjoys. They have scheduled activites,
including a lot of field trips, but mainly the kids just play. They can
opt to play the whole day if they want to, on most days. The price is
quite moderate, probably around $400 a month for most people (less for
us, since I'm low income). However, it is a small program and you have
to get there on the morning that open it for sign up (a Saturday in
early May), or you don't have much of a possibility of getting in.
this page was last updated: Apr 14, 2013
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