For many parents, the mention of summer camps evokes images from their own childhood: sparkling blue waters, lush green forests, campfire sing-alongs, and banging cabin doors. Yet summer camp has become so much more than the far-flung sleepaway camps of yore. Of course, plenty of traditional summer overnight camps continue to enchant kids, but there’s a whole new breed of fun to be had at day camps closer to home. Here’s just a sample of what kids can explore during the summer months.
Have a kid who likes sports but not necessarily traditional team sports? How about a fencing camp? Rain City Fencing in Bellevue offers half-day summer fencing camps for kids of all skill levels. They even offer a truly unique full-day camp that exercises kids’ bodies and minds. In conjunction with Chess4Life, this weeklong camp combines a half-day of fencing with a half-day of chess skills, strategy, and play.
What if your child is more artistic? Various theater and music camps cater to a wide range of talents and skills. Drama Kids International in Bellevue offers a diverse menu of themed camps, from pirate adventures to superhero mysteries, all summer long. Off the Wall School of Music in Seattle offers rock-band camps where kids from 7 to 16 work together to form and name their band, practice music, then perform and present both a live song and a music video to their parents at the end of the week. The staff works more closely with younger kids, but the older campers are given more freedom and technology to create and edit their own video and develop their own style. Chris Marx, owner of Off the Wall, says “Those music videos tell the best stories. They can show their parents and friends the music and the video they created during their week here.”
Many camps also cater to the computer and STEM skills that are such an integral part of today’s world. The Academy of Interactive Education in Seattle offers several camps for teenagers that combine art and technology in fantastic ways. Kirsten Ugalde, vocational education and training coordinator for AIE, says that the Academy’s 3-D Animation Camp is one of its most popular. Many students, she says, are surprised at their ability to create their own character and develop it from a static image on paper to something that really moves in the digital world in just one week. “Making something come to life really attracts people”—especially, she says, students with an artistic streak. Ugalde says she also believes that these camps are a great way for older students to test the waters of a possible career: “Teens can see if this is something that they want to do after high school. It’s a good way for them to get their feet wet.”
Camps like these are a wonderful opportunity for children to practice something they know they are interested in or try something completely different. The Seattle area is full of programs that are unique, creative, and definitely not your mother’s summer camp. No canoes or swimsuits are involved, but kids can still jump in with both feet and have a wonderful time making memories they’ll cherish. Find these and more summer camps at Connect2Classes.