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My 11-year-old and his friend had an amazing experience with the Cal Adventures sailing camp this summer. Neither of them is outdoorsy or athletic - they'd rather be reading or playing legos - but they both agreed to try sailing for a week . By the end of the first day, they had learned knots and basic terminology, and had been out on the bay in wetsuits in a sailboat. They continued every day to meet the challenge of what they said was "scary but fun." The counselors allowed them to progress at their own pace, without stress, but somehow persuaded them to push their outer limits. They both decalred the class "Fun!" I highly recommend the Cal Adventures camps especially for pre-teens who are just on the cusp of experiencing physical challenges that that didn't think they could meet!
Re: summer activities for 14 year old
In response to the aunt asking for 1-week summer camps for her visiting niece, my daughter, who is also 14, has taken all of the Cal Adventures camps you mention--kayaking, beg. and int. sailing and beg. and int. windsurfing. They're great classes. They're only half-day. There's an ''afternoon adventures'' class that you can tack on. My daugther hasn't done that, but I know of other kids who have and liked it. Patty
Re: kayak or canoeing summer camp for 12-year-old
There is a weekly sea kayaking camp offered through Cal Adventures (www.oski.org and click on youth programs). My 12 year old will go for his first time this summer, so I don't know how it is, but most of the UC run summer camps that we've tried are very good. Pat
For the child who is not interested in organized sports, but enjoys outdoor activities, I highly recommend Cal Adventures (rock climbing, sailing, windsurfing, kyacking). PJ
The sailing classes take place at the UC Aquatic Center at the Berkeley Marina (next to the Adventure Playground). They have a large supply of wetsuits and windbreakers, and they make sure the kids apply sunscreen, which they have on hand. The kids learn basic sailing techniques and go out on the Bay in Coronado 15's, which hold about 4 people.
The downside is it's expensive: $98 for a week of sailing classes 9-12 every day. However, this year they offered scholarships funded in part by the Cal. Dept of Boating & Waterways, so these classes are an option for low income parents. Also there was a 10% discount for registering by May 31. The other disadvantage is the hours and location, which is difficult for working parents. However, the 51M bus stops at the UC Aquatics Center, so my kids rode the bus back over to campus, arrived at my office at 1, and I gave them money for pizza and enough quarters to keep them occupied at LaVal's Northside for a couple of hours. So it's doable.
By the way, Cal Adventures has many more programs for adults, and there are student and staff discounts. There are also very low-cost classes just for staff/faculty/students at low-peak times (for example, $20 for beginning windsurfing at 9am on Fridays). Classes and activities include rafting and backpacking trips, fly fishing, climbing, and all sorts of water sports. They also rent camping and boating equipment. Call 642-4000 for a brochure or go by their office at 2301 Bancroft.
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