Indeed, when kids spend the long days of summer singing, dancing, hiking, swimming or canoeing instead of being plugged in to the Internet, TV shows or their iPods, the experience can be transformative. Not only do camps give kids the unique opportunity to explore their talents and discover new interests, but they also have the chance to embark on new adventures, gain independence, broaden social skills, build character and connect with people as part of an inclusive community. And as any former camp-goer will tell you, all of this leads to cherished friendships and lifelong memories.
For more than 100 years, YMCA camps have allowed youth of all ages to connect with nature and participate in human-powered activities, providing a safe environment in which young people can explore and grow. The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities offers hundreds of action-filled and enriching summer programs for everyone from 2-year-olds to families of all ages.
Camp Du Nord, photo by Jay Haukom
At Camp du Nord, located just north of Ely on Burntside Lake, the mission is to “connect families with each other and with nature.” For three hours each morning, campers participate in age-appropriate activities and programs, freeing up time for parents to do yoga or go kayaking, canoeing or hiking. Afternoons and evenings are then spent enjoying the beauty of the North Woods together.
Since 1922, YMCA Camp Menogyn has been providing safe, fun, and enriching wilderness trips in one of the country’s most beautiful places—the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Aimed at campers aged 12-18 along with or without their families, this camp allows a first-hand adventure traveling through the forest communities. The camp has a progression of trips that campers may chose to participate in with each step in the progression building on the previous adventure’s skill and personal growth.
The Works Museum, photo courtesy of The Works Museum
If your child isn’t into the great outdoors, there’s no need to worry as there are just as many camps aimed at everything from engineering and science, to the performing arts. At The Works Museum in Bloomington, for example, the focus in on building, designing and inventing. With a summer lineup that includes camps like “Make It Float, Make It Sink,” “Make It Go,” and “Make It Tall, Make It Fall,” families can choose from morning, afternoon or full day sessions as well as extended before and after care programs.
Camp Invention’s top priority is to provide quality programming in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These essential STEM concepts are experienced through the most creative hands-on activities. By combining learning and fun, Camp Invention satisfies parents, educators and children, earning an approval rating of more than 90% each year. Designed for children entering grades one through six, Camp Invention features collaborative learning opportunities led by local teachers in a safe environment—typically in an area elementary school. Visit campinvention.org for a list of nearby sessions.
Photo courtesy of Angelica Cantati Youth Choir
And finally, no summer camp list would be complete without a nod to the performing arts. Kids at Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs camps learn and refine singing skills in a noncompetitive environment, develop musicianship, and have a great time. And at Zenon Dance Company and School, located in downtown Minneapolis, dancers of all skill levels are encouraged to sing up for summer camp. Classes—ranging from hip hop to interdisciplinary and the summer dance sampler—are taught by the area’s leading independent instructors who bring out the unique potential of each student.
Zenon Dance Company and School, photo by Scott J. Pakudaitus
At Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, one of the country’s most successful regional dinner theaters, budding actors ages 5 to 18 can discover the magic of theater in a week of half- and full-day sessions focusing on musical theater fundamentals taught by Chanhassen professionals all summer. Using acting, music, dance, playwriting, stage combat and improvisation to get kids comfortable on stage, the Summer Theatre Workshop at Stages Theatre is offered to young actors ages 4 to 17 and has full-day, half-day, week long, or three-week workshops offered.
On the other end of the theatrical spectrum is Circus Juventas, where young troupe members learn traditional circus arts under the company’s permanent big-top facility in St. Paul.
Whether flying high under the big top or sitting on a log chair next to a roaring campfire, there truly is a summer camp for all ages—young, tween and adult alike.
Minnesota Waldorf School Summer Day Camp
70 County Road B E., Maplewood, MN
651-487-6700 • mnwaldorf.org/summercamp
Join us for a summer of good, old-fashioned fun! Our regular day camps offer age-appropriate activities including outdoor games, natural crafts, water play, gardening, caring for the school’s chickens, field trips, and more. Our specialty camp will focus on engaging campers in creative culinary arts from farm to table.
MacPhail Center for Music Summer Camps
501 S. Second Street, Minneapolis, MN
612-321-0100 • macphail.org/SUMMER-CAMPS
Summer camps at MacPhail, June 8-August 28, provide a fun and unique learning opportunity for children and adults to explore music in a creative environment and develop skills that will last a lifetime.
Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir Elementary & High School Choir Camps
Bloomington Center for the Arts
1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN
952-563-8572 • angelicacantanti.org
For kids who love to sing! Day camp designed for singers in grades 2-5 and evening camp for singers grades 9-12. Kids and teens will explore their vocal potential and increase their confidence in singing. Taught by the professional staff of the Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir program.
Stages Theatre Company Summer Workshops
1111 Main Street, Hopkins, MN
952-979-1111 (option 4) • stagestheatre.org
Stages Theatre Company offers Summer Theatre Workshop options for young actors ages 4-17. Varying in full day, half day, weeklong, or our three-week production workshop, STC gets kids on stage using acting, music, dance, playwriting, stage combat, and improvisation. Every workshop culminates in a public performance for friends and families.
PERFORMING CIRCUS ARTS
1270 Montreal Avenue, St. Paul, MN
651-699-8229 • circusjuventas.org
Travel the globe without ever leaving our Big Top! Our full day, weeklong camps explore a vast array of circus arts from Morocco to Mongolia and China to Russia. Reserve your spot now to be a part of one of the most talked about and unique summer camps anywhere.
Science and Engineering Summer Camps at The Works Museum
9740 Grand Avenue S., Bloomington, MN
952-888-4262 • theworks.org
Creative camps for girls and boys ages 5-12, who love to explore, design, and build. Kids experience how things work through fun, hands-on science and engineering projects. Discover Code Camp, Lego Robotics, electricity, architecture, and more! Camps run June to August 2015.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Musical Theatre Camp
501 W. 78th Street, Chanhassen, MN
952-934-1525 • ChanhassenDT.com
Summertime theatre camps for kids and teens (ages 5-18). Discover the magic of theatre in a week of half- and full-day sessions focusing on musical theatre fundamentals taught by Chanhassen professionals all summer. Special week long, full day teen intensive offering, please inquire. Register now!
St. Olaf Summer Camps
1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN
507-786-3031 • stolaf.edu/camps
Summer camps at St. Olaf College allow campers to think and learn creatively—and without always realizing it. Over the course of the summer, explore a multitude of interests during week-long camps. Camps offered include: Swim, Dive, Piano Academy, Music (band, choir and orchestra), Football, OleChess, Theater, and Girls’ Physics and Engineering.
YMCA Camps, Day Camps and Summer Programs
2125 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
612-230-9622 • ymcadiscoversummer.org
YMCA Camps, Day Camps and Summer Programs are designed to inspire kids to work together and play together, creating friendships that can last a lifetime. Indoors and out. Archery to arts, canoeing to cannonballs, they will have an amazing experience, all in a safe, inclusive, nurturing environment.