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Try “everything” this summer

May 8, 2017


We are firm believers in kids trying all sorts of activities to stimulate their interests and find their passions. One of our main purposes in the business of Parks and Recreation is to provide a wide variety of introductory opportunities for people of all ages to experience, learn and grow! Summer is an opportune time for parents to dip their children’s toes into the water of multiple activities, and one area where diversification is becoming increasingly important is sports. We asked Brett Gardner, owner of our local Skyhawks Sports Franchise to share her thoughts on this topic. 

Much has been written over the past several years about specializing in one sport vs. letting kids play as many sports as possible. There is all this literature that benchmarks what age kids should be when they specialize. I come down firmly in the camp of NEVER. Unless your child is an elite gymnast or dancer, there is no argument to be made for specializing in a sport. Ask professional athletes how many of them “specialized” in the sport they now play. I’d hazard a guess that the answer is none.

burnoutBut, sports have gotten really out of hand thanks to the business model behind competitive sports. Coaches are hired to develop players for college sports programs. That’s what they are paid to do. I hear parents talking about this even with a team of eight-year-olds!

If you are reading this and you have teenagers, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement. Parents of younger children, read on. Sports is not a career for your child. It’s an activity and it should be one of many.

But, more importantly, not all kids like sports. As the parent of two very athletic children and the owner of a company that runs sports camps, I should be shouting from rooftops about the benefits of sports. But, I have also seen what happens when kids are pushed too hard.

Girl getting ready to leave the baseI am a big believer in the “try everything” model of parenting. You never know what’s going to stick. When my kids were little, we tried it all — from ball sports to gymnastics to theater to martial arts to dance.  Some of it stuck and much of it didn’t. The questions we asked our kids were, “was it fun?” and “did you learn anything worthwhile?” Next, we asked them if they wanted to do that activity again.

With child number one, the answer was invariably, yes. With the other one, it was almost always, NO! Different kids, different interests. Even though child number one seemed to like everything and child number two seemed to hate most things, I still think the try everything model was good for both of them.

With limited time during the school year, we often used summer camps to let our kids try different activities. Many families didn’t understand why we would do this. If my daughter was “an athlete,” why weren’t we sending her only to sports camps? She plays ball sports nine months out of the year. Does she really need more sports at age eight? We thought it was far more important for her to experience different things. So we encouraged her to try science camps, cooking lessons, etc. She loved some of them and was less enthusiastic about others. But, she got to try something new, which was the most important thing.

As summer is looming, think about things your kids have never done before.  It could be a new sport, like flag football. Or, it could be dance or robotics. Try everything. You just never know what will stick!

SkyhawksTo sign your child up for one of Brett Gardner’s Skyhawks Sports Camps in Redwood City, click here. there are full day and half day camps available. Many are scheduled to coincide with Bridge Care and After Care. For registration info visit

Brett_GardnerAbout Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner considers herself a bail-out from Silicon Valley after having been involved in the early stages of several companies. She is a coach at heart, having both played and coached soccer and basketball for several years. She currently owns Skyhawks Sports for the Peninsula and spends her Sundays with 70 of her favorite preschoolers teaching t-ball, soccer and basketball.

May the 4th still be with you…

May 4, 2017


photo from

I think I can speak for most children of the 70’s and 80’s when I say that Star Wars was a big part of our lives.  We had to wait for what felt like FOREVER for a sequel and an eternity for the trilogy, only to be confused over a decade later that we would now refer to these films as episodes IV, V and VI. While showing the original Star Wars for the first time to my kids, after not seeing it for decades, for a fleeting moment I thought, “Will this movie hold up?” It was starting to look a little more like something you would see on MST 3000 (Mystery Science Theater 3000). Thankfully, I can attest that it did indeed hold up, and I was reminded of how groundbreaking  Lucasfilm’s special effects were at that time.

There is clearly something special about this franchise because here we are 40 years from the original release date, and kids are still crazy over Star Wars. We got to re-experience the excitement of a new Star Wars release in 2015 with The Force Awakens, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to shedding many tears, both of joy and sadness, as I watched this carefully crafted tribute film with my own kids.

Since the force awoke, we’ve seen Rogue One and can also look forward to The Last Jedi, aka Episode VIII, this December. The force is still very much alive and strong, and I haven’t even mentioned the numerous LEGO Star Wars series and shows that frequently grace our Netflix queue.

We want to help you keep your child’s Star Wars mojo in full force. So help you, we will. Here is a list of fun summer camps where your child can geek-out on Star Wars all week long!

***Don’t forget, you can link these half day camps up with something else of their liking by utilizing Bridge Care. More here.***

maythe4thJedi Engineering using LEGO®
June 26-30, 2017
Red Morton Community Center
Taught by the building experts at Play-well Teknologies
This is really the perfect storm. LEGO® and Star Wars, together in one place! If you were 7 years old, you might be shaking with excitement at the thought! The FORCE is definitely strong in both of these activities, and whether you are a young Padawan or a Jedi Master, we have a camp to fit your child’s engineering needs. Click the links below for more info and to register.

Jedi Engineering Using LEGO®
Age 5-6 years
9:00am – 12:00pm

Jedi Master Engineering Using LEGO®
Age 7-12 years
1:00 – 4:00pm

SummerProgramsStar Wars Stop Motion Flix
July 31 – August 4, 2017

1:00-4:00pm (full day option here)
Taught by Incrediflix
You mean, kids get to make their OWN Star Wars movie? From a galaxy far far away and to a location near you! Kids are crazy about making videos and now they can bring Star Wars characters to life using stop-motion animation. Students will get to create characters and sets for a Star Wars movie that they storyboard, write, shoot, and voice-over in age-appropriate groups.

May the 4th be with all of you! And note, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, Cartoonists Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Hoagie Day, and International Space Day among may others.

In good fun,

Jordana Freeman
Community Services Manager, Star Wars Geek, and Mom of 2 boys


One less thing to worry about.

April 5, 2017


See this photo? This is not in my morning routine. I applaud parents who take the time and energy to craft these Pinterest worthy bento boxes, but my reality is very different. I am again taking off my Parks & Recreation hat for a second and putting on my parent hat. I know that some of you are quite skilled in the lunch-making arena, but my family mornings reflect more of a Ground Hog Day scenario.

Let me explain. If the concept of Ground Hog Day has you puzzled, let’s take a trip back to 1993. Bill Murray starred in a film – titled Ground Hog Day – about a weatherman who gets caught in a blizzard and finds himself suspended in a time warp where he relives the same day over and over. Do you see where I might be going with this? Fast forward to 2017. I wake my boys up for school and then the reminders begin. Really, it’s only 5 things. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, shoes, LET’S GO! We keep it simple. However, in my home, there is some sort of “kidnesia.” A Ground Hog Day effect. It’s like yesterday and the day before never happened. I get it. I’d rather build LEGO and read too. But, we have to go.

In addition to the reminders, and my husband and I getting ready for work ourselves,  the kids need lunch. Packing lunch may not be a daunting task for all parents, but anything with food involved, whether cooking it or assembling it, is my Achilles heel. The types of lunches my kids will eat cannot be made the night before, they prefer warm Thermos lunches, and my husband and I oblige. What we really need in the morning is a path of least resistance, which brings me to the exciting part, and the reason for my sharing these troubles with you. Thankfully, those in my population have an option. Take the summer off, lunch-makers! Let me introduce you to Camp Kaboom & Camp Whatchamacallit!

Kaboom & Whatchamacallit are Full Day Camps offered at the Community Activities Building and Sandpiper Community Centers, with early start times and the opportunity for Post Care, fun Field Trips, Swimming, Recreational Activities, Special Events, Arts, Crafts, Healthy Snacks, and… wait for it….LUNCH!!!! DAILY! Wake up, get dressed, and KABOOM! (Well, you are on your own for breakfast). Pretty great, right?

And if bento boxes are your thing, I have great respect for you. You are also welcome to send your kid along with a homemade lunch if you so desire.


Jordana Freeman, Community Services Manager, Mom of 2

Registration Information

Camp Kaboom
Age 6-12
7:30am-5:30pm (post care available)
Community Activities Building
Register Now

Camp Whatchamacallit
Age 6-12
8:00am-5:00pm (post care available)
Sandpiper Community Center
Register Now

Check out our theme weeks, registration information and more online at


What’s in an Age? Dissecting the Science of Camp Age Requirements.

March 15, 2017

Left Out

We don’t ever want your child to feel like this!

Camp Organizers have a tough job. They are trying to coordinate activities that can keep children of wide age ranges, backgrounds, maturity levels and attention spans engaged for the day. Coming up with curriculum can be a challenge, and even more so, there’s the daunting task of firming up the appropriate age groups to allow campers the ability to thrive in their camp environment. They have done their best to design parameters for their programs with the hope that all will be harmonious once camp starts.

Now, fast forward to Springtime Wintertime, when parents are desperately trying to find interesting and fun camp activities for their kids, as well as organize the logistics of pick-ups, drop-offs, maybe a vacation, and let’s be honest, keep their sanity. We realize that multiple children come with multiple logistics. Then, once you think have it figured out, there is nothing worse than sitting down and thumbing through your favorite activity guide, only to find the perfect camp (you think) and have your child be just shy of the minimum age requirement.

frustratedWhat happens next? You ask WHY? Why, Why WHY? You feel your child is fully capable of launching a rocket, playing golf or has a real proficiency building (or deconstructing) the top 14 most difficult LEGO™ sets of late. You pick up the phone to voice your concerns. Some common parent comments are: My child is very mature for his ageHe loves older kidsI need a longer day for them, Can’t you just add her in there?  Yes, we are camp providers, but many of us are also parents. We feel your pain. We hear your words. We understand your needs (is this helping?), but we have guidelines for a reason.

Here’s some perspective. Let’s say you have a 10 year old who is very excited to come to science camp this summer. The chosen week listed is for children ages 5-12. Let ‘s also throw in the variable that the registration ages of who actually enrolls will vary. We could have three 11 year olds, ten 9 year olds, a couple of 6 year olds and then someone has requested their 4-year old join in. From the older child’s perspective, the camp may feel like it is going too slowly since they are waiting for the youngest child to finish the project. The older child may also be needing assistance but the younger child requires far more attention than the staff ratios can bear. Now the camp is revolving around making sure the little one is having their needs met as opposed to the general group. From our 4 year old’s perspective, it may be hard to build relationships with their peers, have fun during free time, keep the pace, or they may just be intimidated by the sheer size and energy of an older group of children.

AdobeStock_89941621-495x400Minimum and maximum age requirements are set by our camp providers after years of experience and evaluation of curriculum for their camps. Sometimes overrides are allowed, but many times, those overrides end in the child not staying for the entire session. This could be based on reasons of their own, or by the needs of the camp and the ratios that just won’t support the requirements of someone younger. Now, we bet your next response is, “What about children with different learning styles, energy or focus?” Our short answer to you is that by limiting the age range, providers have a smaller sample to work with. It’s camp. It’s not school, but there are still expectations of listening and attentiveness for not only learning, but safety, cohesiveness, and social interaction.

Another reason why some providers won’t bend their requirements is based on maturity and skill level. Children not of the minimum age value may not have the gross motor skills or strength to be able to support the equipment provided for the camp. They may not have the fine motor skills to build or take apart their creation without excessive assistance. They may lack the experience and stamina of a classroom setting that makes it very difficult for them to focus on a topic for a longer period of time than they are used to.

019_19At the end of the day, camp is supposed to be fun! Kids can learn and grow, make new friends, surround themselves with new experiences, and build memories to last a lifetime. Camps are designed with your child in mind. Providers want to create the most predictable atmosphere to best deliver their curriculum as well as to build a positive and supportive peer environment. By selecting age ranges that best allow them to do this, it is the easiest way to control the population of their camp and create harmony.

We know every child is different, but we need to hold to some standards in order to ensure a smooth ride.  We know there are exceptionally talented kids in our midst as well as athletically gifted children than can outrun, outplay and outlast a child twice their size. We are serving the masses. We need to have some sort of benchmark to organize these activities or we would be holding interviews and auditions for campers to give them preferred placement.

We hope we have shed some light on the camp provider perspective. Before choosing to ask for special allowances, make sure that you take all aspects of your child’s Summer happiness into consideration.

That being said… CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED!!!

Summer Camp Planning Tools- Cheat Sheets!

March 8, 2017


If you read only one of our posts about Summer Camp, this is the one. 

Yesterday, we posted about some new additions to our flex care program and we PROMISED you another at-a-glance grid to help you easily piece together a Bridge Care Plan. While we know it’s a lot of fun to mix and match AM and PM camps and design the perfect summer program for your child, we also know what a scavenger hunt it can be. In addition, we decided it would be beneficial to create a FULL-DAY-CAMP-Cheat-Sheet that provides you with a quick and easy way to identify which all-day options are available each week. So, we went ahead and created both for you!

Please keep in mind that we have many other wonderful camps that are not listed in either of these documents due to their start and end times not aligning with Flex Care or what we feel constitutes a full day. 

Bridge-Care-FlyerBridge Care Cheat Sheet

If you are asking “What’s Bridge Care?” Check out yesterday’s post which explains it at length. Use this guide to see which morning and afternoon camps can be paired up each week to create a full day. All camps listed qualify for Pre & After Care as well!

Bridge Care Cheat Sheet

Full Day Camps At-A-Glance

Download this guide to help you figure out which programs run all-day and which of them are attached to pre-care and after-care. This document is more comprehensive than the Bridge Care one and shows correlating page numbers, ages, and class codes to make registration a breeze!


We hope you will enjoy these tools and that you will find the perfect camp experience!

You can find all of these documents on our website as well as our full Summer Camp Calendar at!

Summer Camp Planning – Flex Care, Discounts & Icons!

March 7, 2017


We have been working around-the-clock to plan the best summer imaginable for your child. With registration opening on March 13th (the same day we mail the guide), we wanted to make you aware of a new program, remind you that the early bird gets the worm discount, and a quick note about all of those little icons strategically placed throughout the camp section!

First, let’s start with something new and exciting. Remember those surveys we asked you to fill out at the end of each week? Well, we read them. Here’s what we’ve added for you this year!

Let’s talk about FLEX!

Pre-Care sun

We heard you! This Summer, as a part of our flex-care program, we will be offering pre-care to all of the camps located on the Red Morton Park Campus* and, wait for it… STULSAFT PARK!! . Drop your camper off at 8:00am and our early-bird staff will safely deliver and sign-in your camper at their 9:00am camp. ONLY CAMPS WITH THE DESIGNATED ICON NEXT TO THEM WILL QUALIFY FOR PRE-CARE. June 19-August 11 only.  Please note that Full Day Camps Kaboom and Whatchamacallit will still maintain their usual early start times of 7:30am and 8:00am.

*Red Morton Campus includes: RMCC, CAB, VMSC, Fields & Skatepark- icon key later on in this post

Plus, In addition to Pre-Care, we will continue to offer:

Bridge Care bridge
Bridge Care is a program that helps to link-up morning (9am-12pm) and afternoon (1-4pm) sessions of camps held on the Red Morton Park Campus in order to create a full day opportunity for kids who want to try out a couple of different camps each week. Want to take a sports camp in the morning and a tech camp in the afternoon? Maybe your child would like to do a science Camp first and then take a dance camp later. Whatever the combination, we have options! Our staff will pick your child up from their morning camp and walk them to Red Morton for lunch from 12:00-1:00pm. After lunch, we will escort them to their afternoon camp. Feel free to utilize Bridge Care if you need an extra hour to either pick up a sibling elsewhere or just have more time to yourself. This allows you to pick-up from a morning camp at 1:00pm or drop-off an hour early at 12:00pm for that afternoon camp. Summer can be quite the juggling act, so we’re flexible and here to help! ONLY CAMPS WITH THE DESIGNATED ICON NEXT TO THEM WILL QUALIFY FOR CARE, June 19-August 11.


After Care clock

Camps with a clock icon next to them qualify for After Care. Our trustworthy staff will pick up campers from their PM camp and walk them to the Red Morton Community Center where they can stay as late as 6:00pm. Parents, please pick up your campers on time. Also, some of our camp providers provide their own aftercare. Those camps will have the aftercare listed with their camp description. ONLY CAMPS WITH THE DESIGNATED ICON NEXT TO THEM WILL QUALIFY FOR CARE. Applicable camps are located on the Red Morton Park Campus only (RMCC, CAB, VMSC, Fields & Skatepark), June 19-August 11.

10 PERCENTDiscounts


Many of you took advantage of our 10% off discount last year. We are happy to announce that it is back. We are rewarding our early registrants with a 10% discount on some of your children’s favorite recreation camps, including: Polliwog, Mountaineers, Explorers, Kaboom, Whatchamacallit, and High-5! Just look for the pink starburst next to the applicable camps in the Summer Camp Section of the guide. Discount cannot be applied to payment plans.

In addition to our Recreation Early Bird discount, Legends Baseball Camps and Emerald Hills Golf will also be offering their own early incentive. All discounts are automatically applied to your registration, so no need for any special coupon codes this year!

Icon & Location Key

Here is a quick snapshot of what all of those icons mean, as well as a location key to help you navigate those acronyms in the Activity Guide!




Lastly, if you have yet to notice, our Summer Camp & Aquatics Website is up! The URL is so easy to remember… ready? It’s

That’s it! Please come back and visit our blog frequently, or better yet, subscribe! We will be presenting new summer tips and tidbits as we approach Summer.You can also catch us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tomorrow’s post promises to be extremely helpful…

Summer is Coming… Here’s a Sneak Peek!

March 3, 2017

2017 Camp Calendar

Planning. Is. Hard.

Yes. We said it. Planning is hard. And for some of you, Summer planning for your children can be one of the most daunting tasks. We’re not here to stress you out, we’re here to help! Our Summer Activity Guide is now in the capable hands of our publisher and will be delivered to the Post Office by Monday, March 13th. In the meantime, we are offering you a few valuable pages from this issue, and a promise (*pinky swear*) that we will release the online flip book early next week!

Click the link below to view this year’s Summer Camp Calendar! Please keep in mind that we do our best to list all of our programs on the calendar, but not every single camp is recognized individually. Sometimes, the age ranges in the left-hand column represent all camp offerings in that program area, but the specific breakdown may vary from week to week.

Click here to view the 2017 Summer Camp Calendar

Stay tuned for more Summer Camp blog posts. We have a ton of fun coming your way as well as some exciting early bird discounts, new camp vendors, and the introduction of pre-care!! This Activity Guide is our largest edition to date! So don’t stress. We will have plenty of options!

Happy Planning!


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