Summer Camps & Classes

    We live in a fast-paced world and it seems like our kids are always plugged into something—their cell phones, the Internet, their iPods, video games, TV shows. The ability to truly connect the “old-fashioned” way is becoming a lost art. At its core, summer camp teaches kids how to unplug from technology, leave their gizmos at home, and connect with people. Professionals who study the educational and emotional needs of children stress the importance of camp, and how the camp experience assists children in leading happier, more “joyful” lives. YMCA Camps and Day Camps, around since 1909, have been nurturing character development in young campers through the core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith.

    Campers ages 4-14 who might not be ready for an overnight camp experience can attend Day Camp, those who are eager for the camp experience but not a week-long commitment can try a three-day mini sampler, and campers who are ready to be away for a few weeks can take a YMCA wilderness trip up to the Boundary Waters—or even as far from home as Alaska.

    At Traditional Overnight Camp, campers ages 7-18 get a well-rounded experience with activities like horseback riding, swimming, ropes, kayaking, and camp fires at Camp Icaghowan on Lake Wapogasset near Amery, Wis., Camp Ihduhapi on Lake Independence in Loretto, Minn., and Camp St. Croix on Lake St. Croix near Hudson, Wis. A non-competitive single-gender camp is offered in Camp Warren on Half Moon Lake near Eveleth Camp duNord on Lake Burntside near Ely is the site for Family Camp, allowing families to get away and come together through opportunities for growth, spiritual development and environmental awareness, and Teen Wilderness Camps at Camp Menogyn on the Gunflint Trail, near Grand Marais, and Camp Widjiwagan on Lake Burntside near Ely include everything from canoeing and backpacking to rock climbing.

    While traditional camps like the YMCA will always be popular, today’s campers are also attending more specialized workshops and camps focusing on sports, religion, academic enrichment, community service, special needs, visual and performing arts, dance, and music.

    From classes like “Tea party” for kids in kindergarten to second grade to “Introductory video game creation” for high schoolers, there are enough classes in the Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs to fill a 40-page brochure.

    “We recognize that each student is a unique individual with different interests and gifts, so we strive to offer a variety of academic, athletic and enrichment opportunities during the summer,” explains Laurie Palm, Minnehaha Academy summer program director. Classes are open to students who attend Minnehaha Academy as well as the general public in both half and full-day options. Not only are the prices reasonable (most specifically with the full-day Camp Minnehaha program including swimming lessons, art, music, science, and phys ed), but the programs are characterized by quality teaching, fun and active learning, a nurturing environment, and a Christian perspective.

    An expansive course catalog is also offered at MacPhail Center for Music, ranging from “Animals on Parade” for four-year-olds to “Rock” and “Hip Hop” camps for teens to “Chamber Music Camp” for adults.

    “We offer 46 unique camp experiences for ages three to adult, exciting performance venues—including First Ave—and high-quality teaching artists,” says Judy Boeckel, public relations and marketing coordinator. “We provide a fun and unique learning opportunity to explore music in a creative environment and develop skills that will last a lifetime. Each camp is specially designed to meet the needs of the campers and to create a nurturing environment that promotes cooperation, creativity and self-discovery.”


    The summer workshops at McNally Smith College of Music give students a hands-on music experience on a college campus— complete with a studio complex, production suites, and performance areas—led by talented teachers who are serious about music.

    “A buzzword in the education world right now is access,” says Sean McPherson, summer programs coordinator. “When high school students have interacted directly with college experiences through auditions, master class seminars, supervised dorms and beyond, it gives them a special affinity for the college experience, no matter what institution they ultimately attend. Also, a music workshop connects with classroom instruction throughout the year in a meaningful way. By keeping the musical brains firing on all cylinders during the summer, students will be in better academic shape to start receiving instruction in all areas come fall.”

    In addition, the McNally Smith College of Music has positive relationships with First Ave, KMOJ, Burslesque Design, Savage Audio, and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival (the jazz workshop overlaps with the festival this year, providing students with master-class access to marquee players) allowing visits to these sites during workshops.

    At The Art Academy, winner of the City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities” award, students can refine their artistic skills by enrolling in a painting and drawing summer class or camp from June 13 – August 20.

    “Art is the greatest gift you can give children. It enriches every aspect of their lives,” says Jim Robinson, founder of The Art Academy, located in St. Paul. “Our goal is to improve students’ drawing and painting abilities dramatically in a short period of time. We accomplish this by teaching time-honored methods in classes with very low student-to-teacher ratios.”

    Art Academy teachers create a positive atmosphere where students can relax and enjoy learning in a non-competitive environment. A special Manga class—taught by professional comic book artists—also provides instruction for children interested in Japanese Anime.

    “I have yet to meet a child who isn’t talented, and our classes are specifically designed to unlock that talent,” Robinson says. “Everyone can draw and paint well if they’re trained properly. The consistent quality of our students’ artwork shows the success of our philosophy and methods.”

    An additional adult program based on Renaissance principles helps adults master traditional drawing, watercolor, and oil painting techniques.

    When learning to swim is the name of the game, consider lessons at The Foss Swim School. “Swimming isn’t just a business for us, it’s our life,” says Susan Foss, owner. “Our method is truly our own and we execute, improve, and deliver our best work daily.”

    Advantages include pool water temps kept at a balmy 91 degrees, experienced adult instructors who complete over 108 hours of training within their first year of employment, flexible schedules, and an indoor setting—meaning no classes are cancelled due to inclement weather.

    “We guarantee that we’ll get your child swimming,” says Foss. The games are so fun, she says, the swimmers don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills.

    The program leads every child to the goal of a continuous 300-yard swim. “If your children reach this milestone, you have provided them with a skill that lasts forever and could one day save their own lives or the life of another,” she says.

    Whether attending a specialized camp or class or a more general summer camp, the experience can be life-changing.



    Locations in Chanhassen, Eagan, Maple Grove, Rochester, and Savage

    LearningRx brain training helps both children and adults overcome learning struggles and achieve their full potential by strengthening mental skills.  Call us to learn how the power of brain training can improve attention, memory, reading and learning skills for greater academic success.


    The Art Academy
    515 S. Albert St., St. Paul, MN 55116

    The Art Academy offers year-round classes and camps for students ages 5-adult. Improve drawing and painting abilities in a safe, fun, non-competitive 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 13 and runs through August 12. Visit for over 100 examples of student artwork. Call for a free brochure.

    Minnetonka Center for the Arts Summer Arts Camp
    2240 North Shore Dr., Wayzata, MN 55391

    June 13-August 26. fifty-three morning and afternoon visual art classes for kids 5-12, and 17 classes for teens 13-15: Pottery, sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, mixed-media, jewelry making and more. It is our mission to provide teaching excellence, quality exhibitions, and cultural enrichment for people of all ages, interests, and abilities.


    The International School of Minnesota’s International Kids Camp
    6385 Beach Rd., Eden Prairie, MN 55344

    International Kids Camp is offered weekly at The International School of Minnesota (ISM) for children three years old (and potty trained) through sixth grade, and a Counselor in Training program for grades seven, eight, and nine. Experience different cultures through food, sports, songs, games, crafts, literature and customs. The Explorers program (3-first grade) includes hands-on learning and summer fun, The Pioneers Program (second-sixth grade) includes everything from language labs to swimming, and the Sports Adventurers program is designed for action-seeking second through sixth graders.


    MacPhail Center for Music Summer Camps
    501 South Second St.,
    Minneapolis, MN 55401

    MacPhail offers 46 camps for ages three to adult. From Music Around the World – Rock Week – String Camp, summer camps at MacPhail provide a fun and unique learning opportunity to explore music in a creative environment. June 13 – August 31. For more information or to register, call 612-321-0100.

    McNally Smith Summer Workshops   
    19 Exchange St. E., St. Paul, MN 55101

    McNally Smith College of Music is proud to announce another summer full of fun and educational experiences designed for students aged 13-19! Get a jump-start on the college experience by applying for a Summer Workshop at McNally Smith College of Music. Taught by McNally Smith faculty and music industry professionals, this popular summer series boasts a superb track record of satisfied attendees, teachers, and parents!

    Pop Rockers Music Camp for Girls 
    6125 Olson Memorial Highway,
    Golden Valley, MN 55422

    Pop Rockers is a music day camp for girls July 25-29 at Perpich Center for Arts Education. Run by a licensed music teacher, the classes will include songwriting, how to play in a band, spoken word, images of women in the media, a final concert and of course lunch and fun music games.

    Sing Minnesota
    Landmark Center, 75 W. Fifth St., Suite 411
    St. Paul, MN 55102

    August 8-12, 2011 (St. Paul’s Concordia University) 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sing Minnesota is a week-long 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! $280, scholarships available. Visit or call 651-292-3219 for more information. Sing Minnesota Day Camp site: Concordia University, Buetow Music Center, 300 Hamline Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55104.



    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) are a great introduction to camping. 


    Children’s Theatre Co.
    2400 Third Ave. S. (in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts facility), Mpls., MN 55404

    Theatre Arts Training at CTC can change your child’s life by nurturing in them the ability and desire to think critically and objectively, work collaboratively, build self-confidence, and become assertive and active members of society. Focus is on building skills in acting, music, and dance and encouraging students to express themselves, collaborate with others, explore the creative process, and investigate elements of story, character, themes, and genres.

    Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts
    1617 N. 2nd St., Mpls., MN 55411

    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. We also offer Sing and Dance classes for ages 3-8.


    Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs
    4200 W. River Pkwy., Mpls, MN 55406
    612-728-7745, ext. 1

    The Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs serves Minnehaha students, as well as students from numerous schools around the metro, for students entering grades Pre-K through 12. Choose from academic courses, enrichment classes, sports camps, and a general day camp. Each class extends Minnehaha Academy’s mission, to provide a high-quality education integrating Christian faith with learning.


    Progress Builder Swim
    Camps at FOSS
    Locations in Blaine, Chanhassen, Maple Grove,  Savage, St. Louis Park and Woodbury

    Fit it in and learn to swim with Progress Builder Camps at Foss Swim School. Each camp offers eight lessons, warm  91-degree water, adult instructors and fast, fun results! Camps begin March 22, 2011. Register today!