Guide to Summer Camps & Enrichment Programs

    Those who have never been to a summer camp or enriched their lives through a summer class can’t really appreciate how life changing the experience can be. For some, feelings of nostalgia surface when they smell campfire smoke in the air; for others the nostalgia occurs when sharing memories with friends who will last a lifetime. The benefits of a camp experience are immeasurable.

    Camps help children grow by providing a supervised, positive environment. They can help broaden a child’s social skills (kids meet all kinds of different people in a camp setting) and, when the camp involves the great outdoors, can heighten a child’s awareness of the relationship between people and nature.

    YMCA Day Camps promote a healthy spirit, mind, and body in safe and exciting environments. All camp programs emphasize the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith.

    There are six Minneapolis and five St. Paul Day Camps for kids ages 4 to 14, with a typical camp day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (before and after care is available from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing, archery, games, hiking, outdoor cooking, songs, and skits are offered at all Day Camp locations. Bus stops are available at most locations each day.

    Specialty Camps, available for kids ranging from 6-14, are available based on each site of location. For example, Camp Manitou in Monticello has 1,200 acres of property with four private lakes (including Lake Bertram and Long Lake), and with the help of a donated boat, YMCA is able to offer water skiing and tubing, summer activities that are hugely popular with the campers.

    Another well-attended program is the Wee Backpacker program for 4 and 5-year-old campers, including campers entering kindergarten in the fall.

    Most YMCA Day Camps offer Leaders-in-Training for teens in grades seven through nine, learning confidence building skills, responsibility management, and group development through planned activities.

    While traditional camps like the YMCA will always be popular with both kids and parents, today’s camp experience goes beyond roasting marshmallows and now includes a specialized focus on music, dance, sports, community service, special needs programs, academic enrichment, and visual and performing arts.

    At The Art Academy, located on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, students can refine their artistic skills this summer by taking a painting and drawing session from June 14 – August 21.

    “I have yet to meet a kid who isn’t talented,” says Jim Robinson, founder of The Art Academy. “Every child can draw and paint well if they’re trained how to do it. I’m a fanatic about that.”

    The Art Academy teachers work to encourage a positive atmosphere where students can relax and enjoy learning in a noncompetitive environment. Simple classroom rules in the children’s classes establish guidelines that assure a safe, fun workplace; while the adult classes foster camaraderie amongst like-minded individuals working to develop craftsmanship and creativity.

    “Art is the greatest gift you can give children. It improves every other aspect of life,” Robinson says. “Our goal is to improve students’ drawing and painting abilities dramatically in a short period of time. We accomplish this by teaching time-honored techniques in classes with very low student-to-teacher ratios.”

    The Music Industry eXperience (MIX) workshop, held Aug. 17-22 through the McNally Smith College of Music, gives young students a clear picture of the different “moving parts” of the music industry and what goes into a music career.

    Participants choose between a focus in Recording Technology (the basics of creating music), Music Business (the ins and outs of promoting a group, creating an electronic press kit, music publishing) or Performance (performing with an ensemble, creating songs, and recording in a studio), then spend about half of their time at the workshop in their focus group. The camp culminates in a final concert where the recording technology students play their recordings in public, performance groups play with their ensemble, and the music business students promote and manage the event.

    “The MIX Workshop shows students there is more to the music industry than just playing a guitar and cashing a check,” says Sean McPherson, summer programs coordinator. McNally Smith’s state-of-the-art sound stage and lighting systems, recording facilities and talented faculty make the workshop a perfect choice for the aspiring musician.

    The aspiring actor, dancer, or singer will benefit from the Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts’ Musical Theater Summer Camps: Annie (ages 8-12) and Bye Bye Birdie (ages 12-19), and Sing and Dance Classes for kids ages 3-8.

    Students of all ages and skill levels can learn more about dance, voice, and drama through Lundstrum Center camps and classes. The environment is challenging yet nurturing, providing endless opportunities for students to hone their craft, express themselves creatively, and ask questions of their instructors (who happen to be seasoned theater professionals with years of Broadway experience). Musical theater workshops include dance technique and choreography, vocal warm-ups and repertoire, and intensive scene study.

    “We love what we do and feel compelled to give back to the craft that has given so much to us,” says Amy Ellis, executive director. “As artists we know that beauty, discipline, and expression are ageless qualities that leave a lasting impression on a child’s spirit.”

    Adults can nurture their spirit as well, with classes in tap, ballet, jazz, audition preparation, private voice, and private acting.

    Campers at the International Kids Camp, offered weekly at The International School of Minnesota (ISM), will experience the “flavor” of different cultures by exploring the unique languages, food, games, music, sports, songs, crafts, literature, and customs in a variety of Japanese, Greek, Swedish, and Arabic-speaking communities. With energetic camp counselors and weekly “specialists in residence” as tour guides, Kids Camp is guaranteed to be a memorable, fun-filled adventure.

    The FOSS Swim School is another fun camp for the budding tadpoles in your life. Progress Builder Camps maximize a child’s learning momentum from attending eight consecutive swimming lessons (rather than just once a week).

    “Our Progress Builder Camps are very popular,” says Susan Foss, co-owner of FOSS Swim School, Inc. “June weather in Minnesota can be unpredictable—sometimes even cool and rainy—but the water temperature of our indoor swim camps is always 91 degrees, and our classes are never cancelled because of rain!”

    The consistent quality and convenience of the camp allows busy moms to fit in all of their kids activities during the busy summer months. For FOSS summer Progress Builder Camp schedules, pricing, and registration information, visit

    Parents often seek out Kumon Math and Reading Centers to help their children for remedial or enrichment purposes; however, they soon learn that the benefits of the program extend beyond academics.

    “In Kumon, students learn to achieve on their own and become self-motivated,” says Deven Klein, vice-president of franchise recruitment. “These life skills build character and help children gain the confidence to solve problems independently.”

    Kumon supplements the school curriculum—helping to enhance a child’s existing skill level—but isn’t, by any means, a ‘quick-fix’ solution. Worksheets apply a “learning by doing” principle, motivating students to become independent learners. The Kumon instructor will provide guidance, praise, and assistance, but the program encourages students to think for themselves, resulting in stronger study habits, better concentration, and higher self-esteem. The program is open to children of all ages and abilities with the cost varying from location to location, ranging from $85 to $115 per subject, per month.



    Kumon North America, Inc.

    Kumon Math and Reading Centers are the world’s largest provider of after-school education and are ranked the No.1 tutoring franchise in America. Demand for Kumon’s services has never been higher. That’s why we’re expanding and offering franchise opportunities across the country. Positions in our training program are limited, so act now. For more information, visit or call 1-800-4-KUMON or 1-877-458-6668.

    Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth

    Spend time on stage as part of our theater class, explore aerodynamics, understand the science behind a rollercoaster, learn how to influence friends in a mock trial, or try your hand at being a newspaper reporter in Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth’s ExplorSchool Program from June 21-July 2, geared toward students in fourth through sixth grade. For more information, call 651-696-6590 or visit our new website at


    The Art Academy

    The Art Academy offers year-round classes and camps for students ages 5-adult. Improve drawing and painting abilities in a safe, fun, noncompetitive environment. A Create Your Own Schedule option provides flexibility to allow families to build our program around other planned activities. Classes and camps take place at our school’s location. The Art Academy’s summer session begins June 14 and runs through August 21. Visit for over 100 examples of student artwork. Call 651-699-1573 for a free brochure. 515 S. Albert St., St. Paul, MN 55116.


    The International School of Minnesota’s International Kids Camp

    International Kids Camp is offered weekly at The International School of Minnesota (ISM) for children ages 3 (and potty trained) through sixth grade, and a Counselor in Training program for grades seven, eight, and nine. Experience different cultures as we explore unique food, sports, songs, games, crafts, literature, and customs. The Explorers program (3 to first grade) includes a mix of hands-on learning and summer fun, The Pioneers Program (second through sixth grade) includes language labs, arts and crafts, swimming, and games, and The Sport Adventurers program is a great opportunity for lively, action-seeking second through sixth graders. For more information, call 952-918-1828 or visit 6385 Beach Rd., Eden Prairie, MN 55344.


    Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs Summer Day Camp

    Calling all kids in grades 2-5 who love to sing! Join us for a week filled with singing, music games, and arts activities. This camp will serve as a springboard from which singers will explore their vocal potential and increase their confidence in singing. Taught by the professional artistic staff of Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs program July 26-30, 2010. 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Cost – $105. Visit or call 952-563-8572. 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431.

    Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) Summer Orchestras

    The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) offers two fun and challenging orchestras for string, wind, brass and percussion players of all abilities through 12th grade – no audition required! Tuesday evening rehearsals start June 1 in south Minneapolis. Como Park concert on July 20. Financial aid is available. For more information, visit or call 612-870-7611. 528 Hennepin Ave., Suite 404, Minneapolis, MN.

    MacPhail Center for Music

    MacPhail’s 43 camps for ages 3-adult, provide a fun and unique learning opportunity to explore music in a creative environment and develop skills that will last a lifetime. Camp dates run June 14 – August 27 from three days to two weeks. For more information or to register call, 612-321-0100. 501 S. Second St.. Minneapolis, MN, 55401.

    McNally Smith College of Music
    The Music Industry Experience (MIX)

    McNally Smith’s MIX camp is the place to be for students ages 14-19 who love music. This is a chance to get a snapshot of the music industry—straight from the experts—in one exciting week. Held August 17- August 22. Tuition fee is $400 until March 15; $425 after that date. Housing is $600 until March 15; $650 after that. Registrations accepted until August 13. Financial Aid is available. Refunds for cancellations offered until August 16. For more information, visit or call Sean McPherson at 800-594-9500.19 Exchange St. E., St. Paul, MN 55101.

    Sing Minnesota

    August 2-6, 2010 (Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Excelsior) or August 9-13, 2010 (Saint Paul’s Concordia University), 8:30 a.m – 4:30 p.m. Sing Minnesota is a weeklong day camp for girls and boys, ages 8-12 (completed grades 2-6) sponsored by the Minnesota Boychoir. While focusing on choral singing, campers also participate in other creative arts – drama and movement, visual arts, and outdoor fun and games! $250, scholarships available. Visit or call 651-292-3219 for more information. Sing Minnesota Day Camp sites: Aug. 2-6 at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 301 County Road 19, Excelsior, MN 55331 or Aug. 9-13 at Concordia University, Buetow Music Center, 300 Hamline Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55104.

    Women in Music Minnesota

    Pop Rockers is a music day camp for girls July 26-30 at the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Girls learn how to play in a band, write songs, sing into a microphone, and perform all styles of music including rock, pop, and spoken word. Sponsored by the nonprofit To register, call
    651-649-4877. 6125 Olson Memorial Highway, Golden Valley, MN, 55422.



    Adventures in Nature

    Enjoy a season of outdoor fun at Dodge Nature Center’s 2010 summer day camp program. Offered for children in preschool through grade seven, campers will gain an appreciation for nature through exploration of the prairie, woods, and wetlands. Recreational, nature and agriculture-based programs run from June 21-August 20. Visit us at or call 651-455-4531. Dodge Nature Center, 365 Marie Ave. W., West St. Paul, MN, 55118.

    YMCA Camps, Day Camps and Summer Programs

    The YMCA has your summer covered with programs to meet the needs of every child. Teen Wilderness Adventures (12 – 18), Overnight Camps (7 – 16) and Day Camps (10 located around the metro area). Explore all your options on our website at or call 612-822-2267.


    Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts

    Our musical theater summer camps are a unique opportunity for students to study dance, voice, and drama under the capable instruction of Broadway veterans as teaching artists. Placement auditions are required. This summer we will be featuring selections from Annie (for ages 8-11), and Bye Bye Birdie (for ages 12-19). We also offer Sing and Dance classes for ages 3-8. Call to register: 612-521-2600, or visit us online at 1617 N. 2nd St., Minneapolis, MN 55411.


    Minnehaha Academy Summer Camps

    Over 80 day and specialty camps for kids entering pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, ranging from “The Magic of Dr. Seuss” to “ACT Testing Skills.” Most camps run for two weeks. Call to request a catalog. Each class extends Minnehaha Academy’s mission, to provide a high-quality education integrating Christian faith with learning. 612-728-7745.