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Steve and Kate's Camp (Berkeley, CA)
Feedback on Steve & Kates camp in oakland
I'm seeking recent parent feedback on Steve and Kate's camp in oakland. Anonymous
S&K is less attractive to my older kid and his friends, due to several changes that seem to be responding to parent complaints. They had a room with video games, etc (my limited understanding), which they eliminated. No doubt parents objected to sending kids to camp to do what they could do on their couch at home. I would argue that giving each kid a limited amount of time they could spend there would be a good compromise, but it's just gone. I'm not saying that an older kid couldn't find plenty to do -- but the ones I know aren't trying that hard, they're just saying they don't want to go. And last year there was a notably smaller group of older kids, which just made it worse.
I'll send my younger kid this summer if he has friends going and he wants to, although it's less attractive logistically since his older brother won't go. Or not. It's not amazing, but they've figured out what they do and do it fairly well. They made their snacks healthier. The much-loved crepes are gone. Again, I'm betting that parents wanted healthier snacks, but my kids loved those crepes!
For my kids, it's always an issue of if they have friends going. More so than a more structured camp where the whole group is doing the same thing, they need to have friends to float with.
The flexibility of scheduling is great for families that don't necessarily send their kids every day -- buy a block of days and send them when you want.
S&K is demographically un-diverse. I called last year to ask about their scholarships for my kid's friend. The scholarships are so small that a low-income family is much better off at a city park camp. And, when I called, there were none available anyway. So, you're likely to have a cohort from your school if it's an advantaged school. Similar vibe to Galilleo and other camps like that (I've never inquired about Galilleo's scholarships, so I don't want to paint them with the same brush without data).
They also give refunds if you don't use all the days in the block that you buy (at the higher rate of the days that you do use) so it's easy to try them out (if you have an alternative camp that you can use at the last minute). I hate planning summer camp in Feb
Steve and Kate's for 4-year-old?
Hi fellow parents, I am looking for feedback from anyone who has used Steve and Kate's camp at any location. The ease of the drop in seems to good to be true and we have a few holes in our summer plans and Steve and Kate's would be great for a couple of days here and there. It says they have been around for a long time. Our struggle is that my daughter is an outgoing 4 who is headed for kindergarten but has an early fall birthday. Would it be ok for her age? Thanks! Off to camp
There is a cohort of pre-K kids and my littler dau was in the first pre-k session when it was offered. My kids found the counselors sweet and engaged, the check in and out mostly without glitches, the food delicious, and the experiences varied and fun. At the end of the summer that first year, some of the other sites were closed and there was a total tsunami of kids that week at the Berkeley site and it was a bit overwhelming for my little one. But even then, she wanted to go back, and has really enjoyed it, even tho she's been offered other camping experiences.
If you have any questions, give them a call! I did to make sure they could accomodate my daughter's hearing disability and mild CP, and they were and are terrific. I think my older dau got a bit bored toward the end of her last sojurn there as she had gone a few years in a row (even tho she didn't want to go anywhere else) and feels it for littler kids, say 4 to 11 or so. see you at Steve and Kates
The camp for pre-K kids is a little different (from what I have seen, not personal experience). They are a little more segregated from other campers and move around more as a group. Optional nap time after lunch.
One of the common complaints of Steve and Kate's is that the flexible nature of the camp means it can be harder to make friends. My girls have always gone with each other, so they have a built in friend. If they were going alone, I do think the ''drop in and out'' schedule does mean you have to be confident/independent. Only you know your daughter well enough to know if she has the confidence to make her way in that kind of environment. Steve and Kate's fan
Re: Camps with flexible schedule (2-3 days/week)
We are in the same situation - my husband works from home some days each week. After throwing money away on all-week camps, we switched to Steve and Kate's. You can go any days you want, in any location you want. You pre pay based on the number of days you think you'll need in the summer - and at the end of the summer they refund any days you didn't use at the full rate. Steve and Kate's fan
Hi. Has anyone got any feedback on Steve and Kate's summer camp at The Berkeley School? I'm considering sending my entering-K almost-5-year-old and was wondering if there were reviews? The website looks great, but is it as good as it looks? Worth the not inconsiderable cost? Thanks! Natasha
I think this camp would be best for confident, self-directed, and outgoing kids, and especially for kids who go there with friends. Rather than having a counselor who takes responsibility for your child throughout the day, the counselors are distributed to stations around the school. The activities at the stations are super fun, including ceramics, video creation, giant water slides, rock climbing, building blocks, and more. When a kid is at an activity, I believe they are well-supervised. However, as far as I could tell there was no over-arching supervision. Nobody to watch over your child for a longer arc of days or weeks and make sure she's doing ok over that longer arc. Personally I found it unnerving at pickup when nobody ever knew where my daughter was (they use a walkie-talkie system to find out what station she's at and send her out). Several times I saw small kids crying alone, which was really sad.
If your child is the type who can self-advocate and get help when he or she needs it, and enjoys having freedom to roam around and try different activities, S&K may be a great match. But if your child is very shy or anxious, doesn't easily grasp new systems and environments, needs a close personal relationship with coaches/caregiver, or tends to suffer quietly, or if you just don't feel comfortable knowing that a one continuous counselor won't be keeping an eye on your child throughout the day, I'd be concerned about sending him or her to S&K.
My daughter is a pretty savvy 6 year old and she enjoyed the camp most of the time. She loved all the activities, called ''daily specials'' and ''weekly specials''. She did best when she was with a friend who knew her way around the camp and who helped her navigate the system.
One thing I'll unequivocally say I love. The payment system, the refunds, registration, scheduling, etc., are so clear and professional and well-run. And it was super convenient not having to plan exactly which day or times to go to the camp.
I hope this helps!
- fairly happy with Steve & Kate's
Both my daughter & son attended Steve & Kate's camp from kindergarten to 7th grade & 6th grade respectively. I can't speak highly enough about their camp & until this day, my kids still have extremely fond memories of all the great fun they had with and without their friends. Here's their philosophy - it's all child directed. That's right - your child picks the fun activities they pursue for the day & the kids they'll hang out with as well as what they will eat for lunch from the truly marvelous healthy choices they offer. Trust me, S&K + their first class staff know how to offer activities that will ring your child's bell. It is so empowering for your child to be in control of their own day. What FUN it is for them to make decisions about their day while being tended to by their carefully selected staff. My kids have always led a very structured schedule while in school along with their extracurricular activities of soccer, baseball & music lessons. As I look back on their S&K camp days, the biggest gift they received was the freedom to do what they wanted, an important aspect missing in the accelerated world our children live in. The other attractive component of their camp is the fact that you don't have to commit to session dates. This means you can plan your vacations first, then fill in your camp dates by purchasing camp hours. Whatever camp hours you don't use are refunded back to you soon after camp ends. S&K's camp is just a win-win situation!! Phyllis
Has anyone had any recent experience with Steve and Kate's camps. They have many locations around the Bay, and I was considering the Berkeley location, but might do another location in Contra Costa country. I would appreciate all feedback pros and cons. Thanks, PK
I loved that they didn't have to go off site for any field trips (so I didn't have to worry about them traveling around the Bay Area without me), but every day there was something new and exciting that the staff brought in, like a magic show, a water slide, bouncy houses, and petting zoo animals. The staff seemed more mature and experienced than many other summer programs we've tried out (they're all at least in college-and it seems like many we got to know were teachers or in some other kind of professional field working with kids during the school year). I know this year they are planning on adding many more locations. Their website says the East Bay locations are El Cerrito, Berkeley, Lafayette, Danville, and Pleasanton, and you can use multiple locations if it's more convenient for you. We will just stick to our home campus, though - the kids get so involved with the staff and the new friends that they make, that I can't see mixing it up by going to more than one location. It sounds like a nice option, though, for people who need it. Boy Mama
But when I picked him up at the end of the day, he was playing Lego by himself. When I asked him how his day had been, he started crying. He told me that he'd played video games all morning (they have a room set up just for playing video games), and that he'd played Lego alone all afternoon.
When I called the staff later to ask what had happened, why they had basically let my son spend the day alone, a young woman asked me ''what's wrong with your son? Does he have a social problem?'' No, my son does not have a social problem, unless you think shyness is a social problem.
I should say also that the next day at Monkey Business Camp, the head counselor had this same shy son helping and laughing and part of a group group of kids within 10 minutes of arriving. A little emotional & social intelligence and kindness was all it took to help him join the group. I left confident that he would have a good day. Happier elsewhere
We are considering sending our 8-year-old son to Steve and Kate's camp for the entire summer - it looks great on their website, but we don't know anyone who has attended. Of the 3 reviews in the BPN archives, two are positive and one is negative. We'd love to hear from others about the good and not-so-good things about this camp - please also say how many weeks your child attended. I'm wondering if kids might get bored after a few weeks. Thanks so much. Camp planning mom
Steve & Kate's Camp (Berkeley location) looks like a wonderfully creative place for my 6-year-old daughter, but I don't know anyone whose children have attended. I would appreciate feedback from those who have experience with it, in particular the quality of counselors and activities. Ann
Quality of staff? What I witnessed was fine - friendly, outgoing, caring. But for the rest of time? I heard no complaints from my kids, no ''horror stories'' of any kind. I suppose I wish there was a better way to acclimate kids who were trying to figure out the system, but then again, it's also good for kids to do some real-life problem solving - let them talk to staff and kids and figure it out - which they did. My older child suffers from an anxiety disorder and is also a picky eater (so their open-all-day cafe had little appeal for him) - but if HE wanted to go back, then I'd give it a thumbs up for all. Mom of Two
Re: Summer camp for daughter just finishing kindergarten
Steve and Kate's Camp - About $2,000 for the entire summer. Kids have a great time - you need a self motivated kid because there is a general assumption your child will choose one or more of the activities if they're interested. Great value, lots of fun. There is a dog, so if you're kid is allergic this is not the camp for you.
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