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.
What 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 age, He loves older kids, I 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.
Minimum 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.
At 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!!!
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 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!
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!
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!
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 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.
STAY TUNED: TOMORROW WE WILL SHARE A SPECIAL CAMP GRID TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR BRIDGE CARE EXPERIENCE!
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.
REGISTER BY APRIL 10th AND RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT ON UNLIMITED WEEKS OF OUR RECREATION CAMPS!
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!
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…
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.
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!
Updated for 2016
It really starts to feel like Summer when Music in the Park begins! That magical day has come! Tonight, from 6:00-8:00 pm, folks can enjoy a family-friendly event, visiting with neighbors and friends, listening to great live music, eating a picnic dinner, and relaxing in the beautiful atmosphere of one of Redwood City’s most popular Parks. What could be better?
Here are some gentle reminders to help make Music in the Park enjoyable for the entire community:
- Parking. Please remember that this concert takes place in a neighborhood park. Please drive slowly, pay close attention to pedestrians – especially the little ones, and take great care to not block driveways when parking your car. Better yet? Try riding your bikes, scooters or walking to the event!
- Picnic Areas. The park is mostly lawn with a few picnic benches scattered about. Picnic Areas are first come first serve. There are some BBQs permanently affixed to some of the sites and are NOT PERMITTED for use during the concert. In addition, you MAY NOT bring portable grills for use in the park.
- Seating. Some folks like to get to the park early to set up their area well before the show starts. We ask that you please take into account the height of your picnic chairs and try to not impede the line of site for the majority of folks who will be sitting in low chairs or on picnic blankets. We ask that higher seating stay to the perimeter of the crowd or towards the back of the park. Please, no umbrellas.
- Pets Many people ask if Dogs are allowed. Leashed dogs are always welcome, but we would like for you to consider a few things before bringing your pet. Concerts can become crowded and many dogs are likely to become agitated and scared by the enormity of the crowd and the volume of the music. Your beloved pet might be happier at home, but you know your pet best. Dogs must be on leash at all times.
- Food. There will be a concession tent selling hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and drinks, graciously operated and donated by the Optimist Club of Redwood City. All proceeds benefit the Save the Music program in Redwood City Schools. Again, we would like to remind you that portable grills are not allowed.
- Alcohol. Beer and Wine are okay to bring during this event in the park. Please drink responsibly.
- Trees & Plants. Our landscape staff works very hard to maintain the beautiful plants and trees in our parks. Please be aware that we have some smaller trees that are just not strong enough to support children climbing them, primarily the magnolias. Please help us to keep these delicate small trees healthy.
Lastly, we have plenty of trash and recycling receptacles around the park. Please do your part to help us keep our park clean.
Music in the Park runs June 15-August 17, 2016 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Stafford Park, located at the corner of King St. and Hopkins Ave. in Redwood City (Map). The concerts couldn’t happen without the support of our generous sponsors: The Port of Redwood City, The Redwood City Civic Cultural Commission, Indigo Urban Luxury Living, Kaiser Permanente, Brian Ayer – Realtor, County Consumer Plumbing and Redwood City Parks, Recreation, and Community Services.
Star Wars is not going away any time soon. Thankful, yes, we are. Our department embraces all people, wookies, parks, planets, droids, etc. We are also blindingly aware that many of your children are Star Wars obsessed (and okay, as are many of us parents). Today may be a relatively newly created holiday akin to National Grilled Cheese Day and Clean Up Your Room Day (May 10th, parents, it’s real), but we wanted to you to know that we celebrate Star Wars all year long and summer is no exception! Here is a short list of a few summer camps that can keep your child’s summer Star Wars mojo in full force.
Jedi Engineering with LEGO®
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
(We have bridge care & after care too if you need a longer day of childcare.)
Star Wars Lightsaber Camp!
July 5-8, July 25-29, and August 8-12
Taught by Jedi Trainers at Peninsula Fencing Academy
Yes! Kids will get to hone their lightsaber skills in a controlled environment that does NOT entail whacking your antique vase off of your living room end table. This camp is full of *safe* battles, obstacle courses, and more! Jedi training utilizes balance, speed, athleticism, and vision. This camp guarantees to harness the force and provide an epic summer experience for trainees ages 6-12 years of age.
Click the video below to see it in action!
Enjoy the 4th, everyone! And note, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, National Hoagie Day and National Oyster Day. Personally, I am looking forward to May 10th.
Updated with new info for 2015!
If you grew up listening to your parents tell you that every apple would have a razor blade inside, some of these helpful tips will sound OBVIOUS to you. If you are more the type to take candy from a stranger (which we will all be doing on Halloween night), then read on! We have put together a great list of safety tips over the years with help from our Redwood City Police Department to help all of us – adults and children alike, even your pets- have a safe and candyriffic Halloween night!
- Welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch lights and any exterior lights on.
- Remove any outdoor obstructions that could pose a threat to people walking onto your property. (toys, hoses, gardening equipment)
- Patrol your street occasionally to discourage speeding motorists, acts of malicious mischief and crimes against children.
- Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police department immediately. Call 9-1-1.
- Do not give homemade or unwrapped treats to children.
- Exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle. Be on the alert for excited youngsters, whose vision may be obscured by masks, darting out into traffic.
- Leave yourself plenty of travel time. Drive slower than usual. It’s one night. Being late is a better option.
- Make sure costumes are flame retardant so children aren’t in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns.
- Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls, and other bumps in the night.
- Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable, and they can obstruct a child’s vision, a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
- Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
- Wear comfortable, safe shoes.
- Create a map of a safe trick-or treating route and set a time limit for your children to “trick-or-treat.” Your neighborhood Nextdoor group now has a candy map which can help you to create your safe-route!
- Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so you will know where they are going. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on and be very clear about your expectations for the evening.
- Trick-or-treaters should always be in groups so they aren’t a tempting target for real-life goblins. Parents should accompany young children.
- Try to get your kids to trick-or-treat while it’s still light out. If it’s dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lighted streets.
- Do not go inside anyone’s home. Remain on the porch at all times.
- Do not accept rides from strangers.
- Remind kids to keep a safe distance from moving cars.
- Cross only at street corners, NEVER between parked cars, and never diagonally across an intersection.
- Look in all directions before crossing the street, and obey all traffic signals. Walk, never run, across the street, and use sidewalks, not the street, for walking.
- Do not take shortcuts through back yards, alleys or parks.
- Do not eat any treats until parents have inspected them.
- Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats.
- It’s hard for kids to hold back from eating their treats until they get home. One way to keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they’re still out is to feed them a meal or a snack beforehand.
- Check out all candy in a well-lighted place when your trick-or-treater gets home.
- What to eat? Only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. By all means remind kids not to eat everything at once or they’ll be feeling pretty ghoulish for while!
- Halloween can be a lot of fun for parents and kids alike–if everybody remembers the tricks and treats of playing it safe.
- Call 9-1-1 if you suspect any tainted candy.
Just Like July 4th, Halloween can pose stressful for your animals as well as deadly.
- Keep your pets away from the door. Dogs are especially territorial and this night can bring out the worst in them. A comfortable secure room in your home will keep your pet happy and they will be very thankful.
- Tell your child if they see an animal, even one they know, to remember that they are in costume and may be extra scary to their 4-legged friend.
- Two things that are DEADLY to dogs are Chocolate and the chemical, Xylitol. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, candy, breath mints and baked goods– which we already told you not to hand out. 😉
- PETMD says to keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. “Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents.”
- Decorations and the excessive number of extension cords can pose harmful.
- Make sure your animals are properly tagged in case they escape.
- Check out www.petmd.com for more pet safety tips.