Summer Camps & Enrichment Classes

     

    When kids spend summer days at camp singing, dancing, hiking, swimming, or canoeing instead of plugged into the Internet, TV shows, or their iPods, the experience can be transformative. Not only does the camp experience give kids the unique opportunity to explore their talents and interests, 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 all-inclusive community, resulting in cherished friendships.

    According to the American Camp Association, “Camp communities provide for successful, healthy development and a place where having fun is a daily criterion. In such a structured environment, children interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax, and reflect. They learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self-reliance, and gain confidence. All are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life.”

    For more than 100 years, YMCA camps have been 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.  Options include day camps, overnight camps, one single gender overnight camp, two teen wilderness camps, and one family camp.

    At Camp du Nord, located just north of Ely on Burntside Lake, the mission is to “connect families  with each other and with nature.” Families enjoy quality uninterrupted  time together in the beauty of the North Woods. From 9:30 a.m. to noon every day, kids have the opportunity to take part in  supervised age-specific programs led by YMCA staff, freeing up time for parents to do yoga or go kayaking, canoeing, or hiking. Campers either stay in tents, rustic cabins, or full-amenity log cabins, and for those who don’t want to worry about cooking while on vacation,  healthy and nutritious meals are available in the camp’s dining hall. Evening activities include bonfires, saunas, hikes, and sing-alongs. (Participation is optional.)

     Other summer camps, such as science and engineering camps at The Works Museum in Bloomington, focus on a specialty. In this case, the focus is on building, designing, and inventing. “Kids are natural engineers,” says Sonia Krech-Jacobsen, senior science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educator and camp leader. “Parents are often surprised to see how much their kids enjoy engineering and the amazing things they can do. For the kids, it’s just fun.”

    STEM educators understand how to  break down adult-level engineering concepts so that kids can relate. “We challenge kids to safely try things that might not work, with the excitement and understanding that if something fails, we can make it better,” says Sonia Krech-Jacobsen. “Kids love the hands-on, real engineering ideas, and parents love that their kids are excited, engaged, and learning.” Kids in engineering camps and classes are encouraged to dress in clothes that “might get a little messy,” bring an afternoon snack (active learning burns up calories), and prepare for fun. Kids at Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs camps learn and refine singing skills in a noncompetitive environment, develop musicianship, and have a great time. No audition is necessary. “Our camps are about showing young people what a difference music can make in their lives by building their self-esteem, encouraging teamwork, making new friends, and having fun,” says Audrey Riddle, executive director. The common thread is that the kids love to sing. At the end of the camp, the singers perform in a concert.

    At Zenon Dance Company and School, located in downtown Minneapolis, dancers of all skill levels are encouraged to sign up for summer camp. “We welcome all dancers, regardless of age, ability, or experience,” says Lauren Holmes, school coordinator. Classes are taught by the area’s leading independent instructors who bring out the unique potential of each student, from the beginning child or adult to the professional-level dancer. Classes range from hip hop to interdisciplinary to the summer dance sampler. Dance camp is a great way to exercise, meet new people, express (and challenge) yourself in a safe and comfortable atmosphere, have fun, and “stretch your body and your mind,” says Holmes.

    This summer, from August 11-15, Zenon has partnered with Children’s Theatre Company, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, and Minnesota Center for Book Arts as part of Culture Camp, where students go to the different arts organizations and learn to create characters, invent new worlds, dance to their heart’s content, and give shape to wonder. Whether the smell of campfire smoke brings on feelings of nostalgia or an inside joke with an old camp friend brings you back to a favorite summer place, the camp experience creates memories that last a lifetime.

    Photo Courtesy Zenon Dance Company and schooL
     

    DANCE

    Zenon Dance Company
    and School Summer Camps

    528 Hennepin Ave. Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN
    612-338-1101 • www.zenondance.org
    Discover dance! Half-day dance camps for ages 6-14: Hip Hop (July 21-25), Interdisciplinary (July 28-August 1), and Hip Hop (August 4-8). Each day of camp includes two technique classes and a choreography class where participants will work together to create a dance that will be performed on the last day!
     

    MUSIC

    Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir
    Elementary Choir Day Camp

    Bloomington Center for the Arts
    1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN  
    952-563-8572 • angelicacantanti.org
    Calling all kids in grades 2-5 that love to sing! Join us July 21-25 from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for singing, music games, and arts activities. Boys and girls will explore their vocal potential and increase their confidence in singing. Taught by the professional staff of the Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs program. Cost: $88.
     

    Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir
    High School Summer Choir Camp

    Bloomington Center for the Arts
    1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN
    952-563-8572 • angelicacantanti.org
    High School boy and girl singers in grades 9-12. Learn new vocal techniques, music concepts, and make new friends with serious singers like yourself. August 18-22 from 6:30p.m.- 9:00p.m. Led by conductor Philip Brown. Brush up on your skills before school starts! No audition required. Cost: $25
     

    Sing Minnesota Day Camp
    Held at Concordia University, Buetow Music Center

    300 Hamline Avenue North, St. Paul, MN
    651-292-3219 • boychoir.org
    Sing Minnesota is a week-long day camp from August 11-15 from 8:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. for girls and boys, ages 8-12 (completed grades 2-6) sponsored by theMinnesota Boychoir.  While the focus is on choral singing, campers alsoparticipate in other creative arts—drama and movement, visual arts, andoutdoor fun and games! Cost: $325. Scholarships available.
     

    PHOTO Courtesy The works Museum
     

    SCIENCE

    Science and Engineering Camps
    at The Works Museum

    9740 Grand Ave South, Bloomington, MN
    952-888-4262 • theworks.org
    Camps for kids in grades K-7 who love to explore, design, and build!  Campers learn how things work through fun, hands-on science and engineering projects. Discover messy chemistry, Lego Robotics, electricity, architecture, and more. Camps run weekly from June 9-August 29, half and full-day camps available.
     

    YMCA CAMPS

    YMCA Day Camps
    10 day camp properties around the metro
    612-822-2267 • ymcacamps.org
    Ten unique nature-focused day camp properties from June 9-August 29 for co-ed ages four to ninth grade with canoeing, swimming, archery, crafts, cookouts.  Multiple specialty camps on-site such as horseback riding, mini bikes, paddleboarding, wee backpackers, and more. Bus transportation available. Cost: Ranges from $155-600, one to three week sessions.
     

    YMCA Summer Power
    50 Twin Cities locations
    612-822-2267 • ymcadiscoversummer.org
    No two weeks are alike! Weekly themes—exciting field trip.  Staff guides  small age appropriate groups.  Kids learn new things and make new friends. June 9-August 29 for grades kindergarten through fifth, co-ed. Cost: Ranges from $117-189, varies by location 3, 4, 5 –  (full) day sessions.
     

    YMCA Summer Uproar
    16 Twin Cities locations
    612-822-2267 • ymcadiscoversummer.org
    From June 9-August 29, sixth through eighth graders can build confidence and character development while having a great time during this experience-based co-ed enrichment camp. Activities include community involvement, leadership, teambuilding, goal setting, and field trips. Cost: Ranges from $116-189, varies by location – 3, 4, 5 (full) day sessions.
     

    YMCA Camp Ihduhapi  
    Lake Independence
    3425 Ihduhapi Road, Loretto, MN
    612-822-2267 • campihduhapi.org
    June 8 – August 20. Perfect for the new camper and progressive leadership development for returning campers, ages 7-16 years. Choose traditional camp or specialty; horseback riding, waterskiing, fishing, outdoor challenge, or leadership development. Cost: Ranges from $350-1,250.  
     

    YMCA Camp St. Croix  
    Lake St Croix, 532 County Road F, Hudson, WI
    612-822-2267 • campstcroix.org
    June 15 – August 9, one-we aek sessions. Traditional camp activities close to home, ages 7-17, co-ed. Older campers choose between specialized canoeing, sailing, rockclimbing, horseback riding, backpacking and leadership progressions. Cost: Ranges from $275-2,035.
     

    YMCA Camp Warren
    Half Moon Lake,  
    3726 Miller Trunk Road, Eveleth, MN
    612-822-2267 • campwarren.org
    Single-gender camps – June 15-July 18 for girls; July 20 – August 22 for boys. One to three-week sessions, ages 7-16. Strong tradition of progressive activities; archery, kayaking, windsurfing, BWCA wilderness canoe exploration, arts and crafts, photography, fishing, sailing, canoeing, campouts, tennis, pottery and horseback riding. Cost: Ranges from $570-$2,050.
     

    YMCA Camp Menogyn (Teen Wilderness Adventure)
    West Bearskin Lake on the Gunflint Trail,
    55 Menogyn Trail, Grand Marais, MN
    612-822-2267 • campmenogyn.com
    June 18 – August 24, eight full days, 22 days trips, co-ed ages 12-18. Located on an island in BWCAW, we create transformational experiences in a wilderness setting, focusing on small group, compassionately guided wilderness canoeing, backpacking, rock climbing trips. Cost: Ranges from $495-2,525.
     

    YMCA Camp Widjiwagan (Teen Wilderness Adventure)
    Burntside Lake, 3788 North Arm Road, Ely, MN
    612-822-2267 • widji.org
    June 12 – August 25, eight full days, 23 day trips, co-ed ages 12-18. High quality canoe/backpacking wilderness trips in the BWCAW, Quetico and North America. “Widji” develops growth through unparalleled relationships with the environment. Crafted to offer progressive challenges. Cost: Ranges from $880-2,622.
     

    YMCA Camp du Nord (Family Camp)
    Burntside Lake, 3606 North Arm Road, Ely, MN
    612-822-2267 • dunord.org
    June 8 – August 31, one-week sessions, all ages, co-ed. Connect with nature the old-fashioned way, in cozy/rustic or upscale woodland cabins with kitchens. Tent camping sites, full/partial food service. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, nature and arts programs. Cost: Ranges from $450-3,935.
     

    10 questions to ask when choosing a camp
     

    Photo Courtesy angelica cantanti Youth Chiors Camp
     

    1. What’s the camp’s philosophy? Is it competitive or nurturing?

    2. How does the camp recruit, screen, and train its staff? Do counselors undergo criminal background checks and have CPR and emergency first aid training?

    3. How many campers come back year after year? If a lot of kids return to the camp every summer, it’s likely a sign of a good program.

    4. What’s the ratio of counselors to campers? American Camper Association (ACA) guidelines for overnight camps call for a 1:6 ratio for ages 7 and 8, 1:8 for ages 9-14; and 1:10 for ages 15-18. Day camp guidelines call for 1:8 for children ages 6-8; 1:10 for children ages 9-14; and 1:12 for ages 15-18.

    5. How old are the counselors? The ACA recommends that 80 percent of the staff be 18 or older and that all staffers be at least 16 and a minimum of two years older than the campers they supervise.

    6. What medical facilities are nearby? If your child takes medication, has food allergies, or a chronic medical condition, be sure you are comfortable that the camp will be able to handle your child’s needs.

    7. What is the camp’s approach to discipline and how does the camp handle conflicts between campers? You should be comfortable that the camp’s practices are in line with your parenting practices.

    8. What does a typical daily schedule look like? This will help you decide if your child will be happy with the level of physical activity or the amount of time devoted to arts and crafts.

    9. What are the facilities like? Where do campers sleep? What are the meals like? How about showers and bathrooms? Try to get as many details as possible to give you an idea of what day-to-day life is like at the camp.

    10. Can the camp give out references? Try to get the names of parents with children the same age who have attended the camp, and be sure to ask them what they didn’t like about the camp as well as what they liked.

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