Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of working parents more than the words, "Summer Vacation." As I mentioned in a previous post about Camp Galileo, I'm not one of those parents who scrambles to sign-up for camps in January for several reasons:
- I'm pretty laid back about these things. I've never not been able to find a nice summer camp for my kids to attend.
- I'm never sure about our summer travel plans—we tend to do things last minute so my camp plans need to be flexible.
- I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars at one time (because it is thousands of dollars for two girls to spend their summers attending camps) to sign up for all our camps at once.
Parents, how 'bout this? Let's stop buying into and perpetuating the hype that if we don't sign up for everything (camps, preschools, afterschool programs) RIGHTNOW, "all the good ones" will be taken. "Good" according to whom? Let's stop being sheep. Signing up for camps at your leisure allows you to discover wonderful camps you never knew existed, like hair accessory-making and braiding your local kids salon, art camps in an artist neighbor's backyard, or reading and story play camps at the local independent bookstore. (All actual camps in my community.)
Ranting aside, there is nothing worse than plopping down $250 for a week-long camp that your kids hate and complain about attending. When I brought up the subject of summer camps with my girls, they rattled off their lists of camps that they'd rather not attend but also shared their lists of favorites. At the top of both of their lists: Camp Galileo.
A quick overview of daily life at Camp Galileo (from their website):
Camp Galileo has three distinct age groups named after the life cycle of a star: Nebulas (pre-K to kindergarten), Stars (1st to 2nd grade) and Supernovas (3rd to 5th grade). This enables us to tailor the curriculum and summer camp experience in age-appropriate ways, so that it is always in lockstep with your child’s growth.
At 9 am each day, campers join their Team Leader who will see to their safety, comfort and happiness throughout their time at summer camp. When the day ends, you can expect the same Team Leader to be there, ready to share an accomplishment, challenge or memory from your camper’s day. Campers spend their week in small groups exactly for this reason. With a camper to staff ratio of just 8:1 during the summer camp day (6:1 for pre-K and kindergarteners), your camper will not only be safe, but feel safe to share their ideas, try new things and simply be themselves. And, because campers spend the week with a consistent group of similarly aged children, new friendships develop naturally.
Every day, campers rotate with their small groups between Art, Science and Outdoor activities, dividing time equally between the three topics so that budding engineers can explore their artistic sensibilities, young artists can have a chance to see the scientific side of things and everyone can have lots of fun outdoors. Campers also participate in plenty of summer camp silliness, including water day, the rubber chicken cheer, skits and songs.
Each week of summer camp is built around a theme, with an intriguing storyline that drives the curriculum. Galileo staff work year-round to create four unique themes that change every summer, so that campers can enroll for multiple weeks or multiple summers and always have something new to explore.
Camp Galileo also provides healthy lunches for those who want it. (Yes!)
I really like the weekly themes and that each day brought a new experience.We'll be signing up for Camp Galileo again this year, and I think we'll actually be able to swing more than a week. One thing that bums me out is that my girls are different ages and so I don't think they can attend camp the same campus in our community (their levels are not available together) so we'll have to go two towns over so they can both be on the same campus. (Update: Apparently 5th grade is a transition year so my rising 5th grader can attend camp with my rising 3rd grader, but I'm not sure she wants to. Will research and report back.)
Disclosure: Camp Galileo offered my girls free camp attendance in exchange for my thoughts about their camp experience. Camp is a personal experience—all opinions expressed here are my own.