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UC Berkeley Summer Youth Programs
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Re: Highly Structured Camp for ADHD 6 year old
My son does not have ADHD but also really struggles with unstructured time. Cal's Explorer Camp was GREAT for him last summer. He loved it and was very successful there. The staff spoke with me in advance of camp about my concerns and made a point of placing my kid in a group with an additional counselor. The high level of structure and activity worked well for him, and he will definitely be back this summer. Loved Explorer Camp
Re: Highly Structured Camp for ADHD 6 year old
I highly recommend the Cal Berkeley Youth Camps for your ADHD child. My son, now 11, has ADD Inattentive Type. We tried several summer camps starting when he was 5 before we figured out that structure was essential. At the less structured camps, he would space out and forget to eat lunch, or not go swimming because he forgot his swimsuit was in his backpack, or wander off and not participate in activities. He would have an OK time, but it was frustrating for me that the staff didn't seem to notice that he wasn't participating and wasn't eating lunch.
The Cal Youth Camps start with Explorer Camp for 5-6 year olds and continue to age 13 with Blue Camp and many specialized camps. These camps are well-organized and very structured, but in a child-friendly way. Camps are sports-oriented, but kids can choose which activities they want, including non-sporty ones like chess, hip-hop dance, frisbee, martial arts, and card tricks. There is no pressure on kids to throw themselves into a frenzy of activity -- while they are encouraged to participate in each chosen activity, reluctant kids are not required to. The camp's main goal is to make sure kids have fun, and they'll find an alternate approach for kids who need it. This has been really important for my shy, inattentive kid. He is not that in to sports, but he has fun at Blue Camp, and has been willing to try a big variety of activities.
Blue Camp staff have been great at letting me know when there's a problem. For example, my son has always enjoyed swim lessons at camp and had progressed to be a pretty good swimmer after five summers at Cal. But last summer he had a different reason every day for why he couldn't change in to his swimsuit. Was he too shy in the locker room? Was there a scratch on his arm that hurt when it got wet? Was he now afraid of the water? What??!! The aquatic director phoned me every afternoon to tell me what had happened in swim class that day, and to suggest a variety of strategies to help him feel more comfortable. For such a large camp, this level of personal attention impressed me.
A key reason why this is such a good camp is the counselors, who are mostly in their late teens and early 20s, who return to camp year after year (and often attended as kids themselves). They are uniformly friendly and enthusiastic, and often play the sports themselves that they teach. Each counselor is in charge of a small group of kids, and they really get to know them and look out for them. There are also lots of friendly high school aged CITs helping out, so there is a great staff-to-kid ratio. The camp does a great job selecting and training their counselors, and I think this is a reflection of the bigger picture - a well-run, well-organized camp. Ginger
My son just finished two weeks at the Blue Camp Cubs, up on campus at Cal. It was sports, sports, sports all day long, totally nonstop, and it was heaven on earth for him. He loved the whole thing. We'd never been to this camp before, and he went without friends, so I was a little nervous he'd be overwhelmed or lonely. But it didn't seem to be an issue at all - he felt comfortable with the leader and really enjoyed all the activities. They even get swimming lessons in there too. In any case, it's a great camp - the kids get a lot out of it in the two weeks. Well worth it! Rena C.
Re: Summer camp recommendations for 2nd grader
I think Blue Camp at UCB is good. My kids are also more artistic/crafty and not into team sports, but they had a good time. True, 2nd graders can't choose exactly how their day goes (older kids can), but it's a nice opportunity for kids to try something for short periods that they think they don't like. And my kids loved that they had swimming every day. I liked that compared to other camps it was reasonably priced. Website here: http://recsports.berkeley.edu/insidepage.aspx?uid=c32aa7f0-9cad-4618-ba7d-e7aa527d6181 Ellen
Re: Camp for 7 year old boy who loves sports
I would recommend the UC Berkeley Rec. department camps: http://www.recsports.berkeley.edu/youth/index.aspx satisfied parent
Re: Camp that will accept special-needs 8 year old
I am not sure if it would work for your situation, but my son who has multiple physical disabilites, but no developmental delays, has been welcomed and supported at the UC Berkeley Blue Camps. He usually does the sports and arts track so he gets a break from all the physical stuff over the course of the day.
For the past three years they have accomodated his needs and been very supportive (especially when all the kids kept asking him about his leg braces). I was very nervous to call and ask them to accomodate him because I had been told no by other private camps (made my son sad because he wanted to go to a acting/storytelling camp). The staff at Cal has been amazing and my son loves going there. Sarah
I've been looking at the web-site for Cal Youth Camps, especially Blue Camp / Cubs and Skateboarding Summer Camp, both at the Golden Bear Recreational Center at U.C. Berkeley. I was wondering if anyone had any reviews, positive or negative, about either of these camps that I am considering for my 8 year old son. Thanks!
Re: Summer camp for visiting Italian kids
I think you and the kids would be very happy with Cal's summer camp. Check it out on line-look for Blue Cubs, Blue Bears. There are a few foreign kids that have fun and make friends at the camp. Best of luck! anon
Re: Summer/language camp for 12-year-old from Turkey
Hello, I recommend the programs offered by UCB, Cal Youth Programs. They offer mainly sports summer camps: For 12 year olds, there is a huge variety of fun stuff like rock climbing, sailing, sea kayaking, etc. They also do mixed science in the morning and sports in the afternoon. My son (albeit 5 years old) went last year all summer and loved it, and will go again this year. The cost is reasonable (in comparison with other camps in this area) and it would be very convenient for you since it is located on the UCB campus. Check out the web site: http://calbears.berkeley.edu/insidepage.aspx?uid=0f65eaf9-fb1c-4327-b6a6-3a44ada5e072
This does not help you with the English, but perhaps just spending all day speaking English with kids and teachers would be enough? Otherwise, maybe you could hire an English tutor once or twice a week. I bet you could find a UCB student willing to do it for reasonable rates. It may be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for, as clearly, most camps are set up for kids living here who (mostly) already speak English. Good luck and I hope you have a great summer here in the beautiful Bay Area. Love CAL Camps
Re: Summer Day Camp for 13 year old boy
Check out Cal Adventures at http://calbears.berkeley.edu/insidepage.aspx?uid=0f65eaf9-fb1c-4327-b6a6-3a44ada5e072
It is run by the recreation department at UC Berkeley and offers a wide variety of camps in the summer time. There also may be orpportunites for him to be a CIT or junior CIT at some of the camps that age out at 12. So check out camps with stuff he likes and see if they have early CIT programs (If you htink he'd like that) Mom
My sisters would like to bring her one 4th grader, one 3rd grader, and one first grader here in the Bay Area next summer and enroll the kids in some kind of programs to learn English in a natural and fun way. I have no clues of any existing programs in the East Bay. Could you recommend any sources for my sister? Thanks Wen
Re: What do Thirteen Year Old Boys do in the Summer?
I would recommend Strawberry Canyon. They have a camp for older kids, and they also have a counselor in training program for kids who have finished 7th grade. Also you can look on http://www.bayareakidfun.com/index.html for other ideas. There are some cool camps in the city--one by the SPCA looks particularly interesting, but i don't have any experience with it.
have experienced many camps
Looking for recommendations of a summer sports camp for an active 8 year-old boy. Not looking for a specific sport because he's pretty athletic; more important to be low in competitiveness, while offering good, patient instruction and experience. Preferably in Oakland or Alameda, Berkeley OK. We have been disappointed in Alameda programs that have high staff turnover, lackluster instruction, and low staff-student ratios. I have looked over the Parents-net website but hoped for some more general recommendations based on our needs. Thanks! Nils
One of the best summers my daughter has ever had was at Blue Camp here on campus(summer of 96). Before you invest your money in other camps, call the Strawberry Canyon Recreation program. Their phone number is 643-6720. They offer two camps which cover ages 8-11(Blue Camp) and 12-15(Gold Camp). For an additional fee, they offer childcare before and after camp. Camp is from 9:00am-12:00 and 1:00-4:00pm. If your child attends camp for the entire day, their lunchtime is supervised by skilled, energetic college age students. Most importantly, the kids choose which classes to participate in each week. Each activity is 1 hour and they offer such classes as first aid, swimming, archery, track, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, gymnastics, leadership, etc. The kids are taught by a great staff of college age students who have some personal experience with the sports/activity they teach. There is a real sense of a "camp" atmosphere in these programs. Your child will be tired at the end of the day, but not disappointed. I can't say enough about Blue/Gold camps. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Kimberly
I wanted to write and say that I literally can't say enough good things about my son's recent experience as a 5-year-old at Cal's Explorer Camp. He has some challenging behaviors and the staff took a proactive, positive, and professional approach that allowed him to be fully successful. Moreover, he LOVED the camp and was eager to show me his sports moves every day. His only criticism was the fact that the camp ended after his two week session was up. We will be back next summer! Mom of a happy explorer
Re: New reviews needed for YMCA day camps
I can't offer a review of the Albany Y Camp, but I highly recommend Cal Explorer Camp at Strawberry Canyon. I just got an email saying they still had room. My daughter went there last summer, before beginning kindergarten, and it was a great experience for her. It is very well organized, and the kids stay busy and pick up a lot of new skills and confidence. It includes daily swimming lessons, and I was very happy with the results. She was tired every day when I picked her up, a good, healthy, active summertime kind of tired. And my favorite part: you don't have to park and get out of your car when you pick them up; they have this fantastic drive-through system. No dragging a poky younger sibling out of the car and then wrestling them back in, no searching for sweatshirts and backpacks, no arguing about going to a friend's house; they just get popped in the backseat with all their stuff and off you go. Awesome. Anon
My son will be six this summer. He loves sports and is very active. I would like to find a camp for him that has good oversight, is in a safe location, and will give him the chance to play lots of organized games and sports. He is very competitive by nature, so I would also like a place that is attuned to helping kids to constructively channel their competitiveness into team spirit and hard work. We have had mixed experiences with Cal gymnastics but have heard about the Cal camp, Explorers. We are hoping for interested and involved counselors and were wondering if anyone has had recent experience with the Explorer's summer program for 5 and 6 year olds. Thanks! -Sports lover's mom
The one caveat is that it's a big camp. My son was a 1:1 type kid then and the large camp didn't bother him because he was able to find other like-minded kids. But there *are* lots of kids and everyone is shuffled from activity to activity every 30-45 minutes so there's not much time to settle in a make friends by just hanging out. That said, maybe that's a strength for your kid's personality. It's also basically entirely sports, with the exception of a few art/craft activities.
If you don't live nearby the drive up to Strawberry Canyon is a bit of a grind but no worse than any other driving around Berkeley in the morning rush hours.
BTW, the insanely hyper-organized parking pickup routine cracked me up at first but it is a great way to get your kid in and out efficiently. Loved Cal Explorer
My suggestion is to take your $$ elsewhere where your child will be truly supervised and involved with the counselors and activities. The camp was a true disappointment for our family. - won't be back to Cal Camp
Re: 14 year old boy needs summer soccer
I can enthusiastically recommend the summer soccer camps at UC Berkeley. Type Cal Bears in Google and there should be a link to the summer camps. Our 14-year-old daughter went to day camps for 2 years and then the residential camp for 1 week last year. She got to stay in the dorms with the Cal Women's Soccer Team! I don't have any firsthand experience with the boys' program but based on our experience with the girls', your son will love these opportunities. Nancy
Re: All-day summer camp in Oakland for a 6 year old?
Not in Oakland, but near. Cal Rec summer programs are very active, and in my experience very well-run. The Explorer Camp near the Cal football stadium is for 5-6 year olds and runs 9-4 with extended care available. My soon-to-be 6-year-old will be going this summer and my older kids really enjoyed these camps in years past. Swimming and hiking and also many other activities such as basketball, frisbee, track & field, etc. The kids really do learn how to do all these things and what they sample when they are 6 at Cal Rec may well turn out to be their passion in middle school and high school.
My now six year old went to Strawberry when he was just 4 and a half, and again last year. He went to the half day camp the first year and the full day the second year. We mostly really liked the camp, especially the really great swim lessons. I think that a full day at Strawberry Canyon for all but the most durable four year olds would be extremely tiring and maybe too much. Even last year, Ben typically fell asleep in the car on the way home. He was lucky (and they may all be as good!) and got a pretty great (and experienced) counselors both years, who knew *little* kids, not elementary age kids. I also think it was really terrific for Sports but a little less good for the other things. I was a little less pleased with the after-care, but since it's fewer kids and of varying ages, it's really hard to do that well. We're probably going to do a few weeks this summer. It's a whole lot easier on the kids if they sign up with a friend. Myriam
Hi, wondering if anyone out there tried the lunches offered at UC Berkeley Summer Camps last summer. The catering company was called Kid Cuisine, I think, (or some other clever name) and they provided lunch and snacks (at an additional cost) to campers. Was it good? Worth the money? Any reviews? Thanks. curious
Re: Summer Camps and Programs for Teens with Aspergers
My daughter and her friends, all on the ''spectrum'', have spent several wondeful summers at Cal Camp at Strawberry Canyon. They have a wonderful program that is focused on building social skills and competence. Dr. Jennifer Selke, the program director, is very knowlegable and knows how to integrate the special teens into the program. The program offers tons of support. You can reach Jennifer at 510-642-7648 or email her at email@example.com. Please tell her that Varda says: ''Hi''. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Re: Quest Camp or Cal Blue Camp for Social Skills
My son attended the UCB Social Skills camp-inside-a-camp last year as a 10 year old. His older (typical) brother was also at Strawberry Canyon, so it was a good way for the younger one to feel he and his bro were at the same camp.
The kids in the SS track are moved into the main camp sports activities as a little ''pod'' of 4 kids with their counselor to help navigate.
- fabulous counselor. One counselor is assigned to your kid, and you will get great feedback about what's going on
- convenient location if you are Oakland / Berkeley
- great if your kid likes sports
- great if he likes to feel like he's part of the mainstream
- good chance to make a friend within your ''pod''
the not so good:
- if your kid is stressed by changing groups of people and transitions. Although he, his pod and counselor move together, the activity around them during transitions is quite a swirl.
- there was less supervision during lunch which is a problematic area for my son. He had one encounter with another camper (not in the social skills track) that left a bad impression.
- if the ''pod'' doesn't have anyone that your kid likes. One child in my kid's pod was so miserable the whole time that it brought everyone down. My kid's pretty resilient and had a good time with one of the remaining two, but he mentioned it as a negative.
- unless you can talk a friend into registering for the same weeks, it's impossible to tell if there will be anyone your child knows. For any camp, the best strategy is to try to talk one of your child's friends (such as they may be) into going to the same camp at the same time. This creates a core that can extend into a positive experience.
We are trying Quest camp (same weeks as a friend) this year instead. I expect that he will be more comfortable in a less busy setting. But of course, it's all atypical kids, so it just depends on what you want out of a social skills program!
Hope that helps. - Nancy
I'm looking for information on a special needs socialization camp that might be affiliated with UCB for 9 years and up. I think the founder/director is affiliated with UCB. Does anyone have information on this?
Strawberry Canyon Blue Camp, located on the U C Berkeley Campus, is running a one-of-a-kind integrated social skills and leadership camps for children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, High Functioning Autism, Aspergerís Syndrome, and children with similar social skills deficits. The Social Skills Track (SST) and Leaders-In-Training (LIT) parallels Blue Camp and the CILT program. Children in the SST and LIT are fully integrated into Blue Camp and the CILT program. They are fully integrated and receive more supervision as well as additional direct instruction based on their individual goals. The services are seamless and the adults working with them look like all the other camp staff so no one is aware that they are on a different track.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For an information and application packet or reference list of camper parents please e-mail: Dr. Jennifer H. Selke 510/642-7648 jenn8[at]berkeley.edu http://www.oski.org
submitted by: Jennifer Selke (jenn8 at uclink4.berkeley.edu)
Strawberry Canyon Blue Camp, located on the U C Berkeley Campus, is running a one-of-a-kind social skills camp for children (ages 9-12) with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, High Functioning Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, and children with similar social skills deficits. A specialized Group Leader provides stability and guidance as the campers apply what they are learning to real-life situations at summer camp. A camper's daily schedule includes an integrated social skills curriculum that runs throughout their camp day.
Re: Day camp for extremely shy 9 year old
I saw in the strawberry canyon website that they have an interesting camp for social skills. It might be appropriate. Check www.oski.org for more details. Anon.
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