Berkeley YMCA Summer Day Camp (Berkeley, CA)
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Berkeley YMCA Summer Day Camp (Berkeley, CA)
I enrolled my children for the first time with the Downtown
Berkeley YMCA and was thrilled to death with what this camp has
to offer. They take them on many different field trips and
provide Friday lunches. Not many camps do that during this tough
economical time, it saved me making three lunches. I am impressed
at how well the counselors are engaged with the children the
minute they walk through the doors to the time that they leave. I
have enrolled them for two more weeks in the latter part of the
summer and am looking forward to the exciting things that they
will do as well as the field trips they will go on! I will add
this, the Kindergarten transition camp looks amazing and has
really helped with the social development of my neighbors child.
I only wish I had a kindergarten again so I can have my child
experience all that they do!
I'm looking for a fun & safe summer camp for my son who is going
to be kindergardener in the Fall. The Berkeley YMCA has a
kindergarden transition camp that I think is new, but i'm
interested in hearing feedback about recent Berkeley YMCA summer
camps experience for younger kids.
I don't know about the new Kindergarten transition camp, but we
did have our soon-to-be Kindergartner attend one week of the
Berkeley Y camp last summer (I think it was a combined K-1
program), and we did not have a great experience. Maybe part of
the problem was that we were coming in mid-summer and by that
point kids and counselors who had been there for weeks and weeks
all knew one another, but it seemed a bit impersonal and
chaotic. Whenever I went to drop him off, I never felt like I
knew who was in charge, who was going to help my kid navigate
through the day, know his name, etc. He didn't hate it, but it was
clearly a bit scary (and there were a lot of big kids around the campus
from the other programs, even if they weren't officially in his group),
and it was not a good choice for us as his first experience after preschool.
Contrast that with Monkey Business, where he went for 2 weeks after
the week at YMCA. His first day, the head counselor got down right at
his eye level and introduced herself and told my son that if he
needed it, she would hold his hand the whole day while he
learned about the routines and activities. Every day when I
picked him up from Monkey Business, he was literally beaming.
It was fantastic and felt very personal, and I would highly
recommend it to anyone with a rising Kindergartner -- we are
going back for some weeks this summer.
Love the YMCA, but not for summer camp
I am looking for recent experience with the Berkeley YMCA
summer camps, particularly the Voyager Day Camp for kids
entering grades K-1. The last reviews from 2004 were decidedly
mixed, leaning towards the negative side. My almost 5 year old
daughter will be starting K in the fall -- and I am looking for
fun summer camps for her to participate in. She loves to play
and is moderately independent and outgoing. Thanks!
Hello! I supervise the camp director for the Berkeley YMCA. I
am glad you are asking for recent recommendations, because that
is important. Please always feel welcome to schedule a visit to
our programs or contact our camp director for information as
well. Our camp this year will be located at Washington
Elementary school where a brand new play structure has been
installed. We place the entering kindergartners and first
graders in a separate area in the morning so that they are not
overwhelmed by the older children. Our ratio for Voyagers is 1
counselor for every 6 children. Staff for this age group
receive specific training about what they can do to help ease
the transition from pre-school to kindergarten. Kindergarten
teachers over the years have helped us design the training and
the curriculum for the campso that children are well-prepared.
Of course, this is an age where they are definitely going
through a big transition and often times leaving their life-long
preschool friends. The camp itself is very active, mostly
outdoors and with lots of field trips. A full brochure of
activities is available at our website at www.baymca.org. Click
on ''Downtown'' branch. Or call Qiqi, the camp director, at 665-
And just a note - Spring Break camp can be a GREAT opportunity
to try Y camp before making your summer decisions. Spring Break
camp is held at the Downtown Branch and enrollment is now open.
I couldn't find any recent comments about the summer camp at
Berkeley vs. Albany YMCA. I'm looking for a summer camp for my
5 1/2-year-old Kindergarten daughter for the last 2 weeks of
summer. If you and your child have recent experience at the
Berkeley or Albany YMCA, would you please share it with me? How
are the teachers -- nice, kind, loving, enthusiastic,
understanding? How are the programs -- suitable for kids,
organized, structured? Thank you very much.
My experience with Berkeley Y camps has been mixed. When my
daughter was 5-7 she seemed to have a good experience. When she
was 8 she had to deal with some pretty rough kids which freaked
us out. The last time we did one I asked the morning instructor
if there wasn't more than just basketball for them to do in the
morning. She told me they used to have jump ropes but the kids
kept hitting each other with them so no more. The non-
basketballers were therefore left with nothing to do.
sad but true
Our daughter (just turned 6) was signed up last year to the
Berkeley YMCA summer camp (not the same as Albany YMCA). We
thought it would be a special treat for her as they had swimming
& skating field trip, etc. However, after a few days she
absolutely refused to go - clung to me in tears and insisted that
she stay home, then did the same thing with her dad the next day.
So we pulled her out. My impression is that the program had some
turnover last year and consequently, I don't think the program at
that time was managed very well.
She would come in the morning and the staff in charge of her age
group kept changing. With so many kids, so many older than her,
it was bewildering & probably felt unsafe. If you do send your
child I would ask them what they are doing to make sure the
younger kids are taken under someone's wings from start to
finish. We spoke with the folks in charge and they acknowledged
that this was an issue so hopefully they have resolved it this
We ended up putting our daughter into the Berkeley Day Camp
program which has a fair number of kids also and that was a
wonderful experience for her.
My 2 cents and good luck with your decision.
Re: last week of summer
The Berkeley YMCA has a summer day camp program that operates on a
week-to-week basis (you sign up for the weeks you want during the summer).
We have our five-year-old going there for the entire summer, and she seems to
be enjoying it -- lots of outdoor activities. I don't know if they are
already full for August. Berkeley YMCA: 510-848-9622.
YMCA has a really good day camp. 848-9622. If they're full, try
the Jewish Community Center, 848-0237. My almost-6-yrold son is in his second
year at "Y Camp". He attends JCC after-school during the year and they're
really solid, but we've never tried the summer camp. Someone I know whose son
has done/is doing both said JCC summer camp is good but not as fun as YMCA
Re: last week of summer
Try the Berkeley YMCA. I just signed my son up for the last week of the
summer and they had openings. Do it soon though because they cut back on
staff depending on how many children are signed up that last week
because Cal Students go back to classes.
The Berkeley/Albany YMCA runs a "Fall Daze" camp for four days out of that
week (M - Th). Their phone number is 525-1130 to call for more
information. The cost is moderate (around $100, I think--though if your
son has not been enrolled in any of the other summer programs, you will
also need to pay a registration fee and a kid's membership fee (good for
Day camps for the last week before school: The YMCA runs a Fall Daze
program for that week, out of their Albany site on Kains. They usually
don't have the information together until August, but you can sign up
for just one day, two days, all five days, etc.
this page was last updated: Dec 10, 2011
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