Every year, I promise myself I’m not going to over schedule my kids’ summer. And every year the options for great camps in Park City expands to include even more fun options than ever before. I manage to fail miserably at finding them a few, measly unscheduled hours. So much fun is to be had in our great town’s amazing camp offerings, that if you’re not careful, your kids can breeze through summer without a single chore or mind bending math problem. Sadly, for my kids, their mother is careful by nature.
So in that spirit this summer my family experimented with a mixture of camps and Camp Mom. Camp Mom weeks may include tennis, pool time, bike rides and something I call “skill building.” Select skill building seminars cover topics, including, “Mechanical Devices: The Vacuum Is Your Friend” and “Arts and Crafts: Laundry Origami.” I’ll report back on this special curriculum.
Luckily for my kids, their parents take fun, enriching experiences very seriously. We alternated “Camp Mom,” with several fun, engaging camps. We’ve had some excellent summer experiences, beginning with my kids’ earliest summers, at Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp.
I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of the other offerings that my boys (Seth is 8 and Lance is 12) savored this summer:
The Park City Municipal Golf Course offered three week-long camps, half-days Mondays through Thursdays, where students learn golf etiquette, rules and basic skills. Thursday is game day and parents who drive the carts get to see, first hand, what their kids learned in four days’ time. I view driving as a chore. But driving a golf cart and “caddying” for these “pros”? A total treat. Just eavesdropping on their discussion of the rules, requests for Mulligans, and desire to coach each other into hitting straight (or, shall we say, attempting to coach each other into hitting straight), was all the entertainment I needed.
The Bobby Lawrence Karate Studio offered several no-experience-necessary camps for children ages 3-12. Each week is a different theme, with a Survivor week, a Ninja Warrior Week and a Spy Kids week. For beginners, it is a fun intro to martial arts. For current students, it can be an opportunity to fit a month’s worth of lessons into a few days, and become eligible to move up a belt rank. (Brown belt with green stripe: CHECK!)
My kids can’t get enough of these STEM Camps (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Offering everything from programming to grade-level math (and beyond), Lego Robotics to Chess, this Redstone-based learning center is staffed by young, energized counselors with a passion for STEM.
YOUTHEATRE at Egyptian Theatre Company
By the time my kids got to this camp in early July, I kept thinking how much fun it is to be a child in this town. Gangs of excited, creative children descend on Miner’s Hospital for a variety of camps—my older son chose Filmmaking camp and his little brother chose Puppetry. Lance’s film class wrote, directed and produced a “Ninja Western” mashup that was out-of-this-world funny and creative. Seth and his camp pals made puppets and then acted out “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” with Seth starring as … you guessed it, the Headless Horseman. The talented staff kept the kids on-task while encouraging creativity and expression. The weekly camps culminated in a showcase performance/screening of the week’s work. Lance loved the film camp so much, he is spent another week there in August.
The Park City MARC’s weekly tennis camps were offered in two, three and five-day packages, with drop-ins on a space-available basis. My kids have attended this camp for several years, and finish each session stronger than when they started.
SUMMER BLAST CAMP
Snyderville Basin Recreation District ran a series a fantastically fun summer day camps, with Summer Blast as the centerpiece. With daily swimming at the Ecker Hill pool, tons of sports, games and arts-and-crafts, it’s a guaranteed day (or week) of fun.
SLEEP-AWAY-CAMP IN THE UINTAS!
YMCA CAMP ROGER, which operated eight five-day sessions (you can link two together, if you choose), is located just about a half hour from Park City, about 15 miles up Mirror Lake Highway, outside of Kamas, UT. Lance had such a great time there last summer that Seth wanted in on the fun. So, for five nights, they get a vacation from “Mom’s Special Summer Curriculum,” in exchange for archery, hiking, campfire cooking, and mountain biking. Not to mention, the opportunity to eat spaghetti without benefit of utensils. With a skilled staff hailing from several continents, the kids are exposed to lots of different cultures and ideas, and the chance to make some new friends.
And…a couple we still have on our to-do list for next year.
FUNDamentals Camp at Utah Olympic Park
Before he was ten years old, my son Lance learned how to ski jump into the very same training pool used by Olympic athletes from all over the world. He also got to try out “street luge,” mixed in with gymnastics, tennis, swimming and golf. His younger brother is on deck to try it next year, and it’s quite possibly the most comprehensive sports-skills camp I have ever seen. The camp’s curriculum is focused on fostering a well-rounded appreciation of all sports rather than specializing in one specific sport. Plus, each day includes team-building activities and arts and crafts. And if you do as much recreational reading about “hyperspecialized” kid athletes, the existence of camps like this is the perfect fit.
The Park City Sailing Club has Learn-to-Sail Camps all summer long on the Jordanelle Reservoir. Sailing skills are taught from beginner through advanced, with mini-regattas throughout the summer. The club also hosts open sailing evening potlucks all summer long.
Basin Recreation’s super-popular water-fun camp is actually a week full of field trips to water parks and attractions all over the greater Salt Lake City area.