It’s summer camp time again. Sorry, we should be more clear. It’s summer camp registration time again! These here are your local options
Spring is on its way (or so we’re meant to believe), and after that, it’s the time of year that’s perhaps most stressful for parents.
Our week-long Summer Camp Guide will introduce you to and familiarize you with several camp options around town, as well as the sometimes baffling concept of long-term sleep-away camp. Today, we’re kicking it off with an updated guide to day camp options around town and its immediate environs.
Some of these organizations have already started sign-ups, while others will do so in the next few weeks, so be sure to visit each camp’s website for the most up-to-date scheduling, registration, and pricing information.
This co-ed camp for kids ages 3 1/2 through rising 10th grade features courses in physical education, outdoor adventures, science, creative writing, foreign languages, and more. Specialty day camps in theater, dance, biking, and fishing are also offered.
Rainbow Station hosts this traditional day camp program for kids ages 4 to 13 where campers are divided into four groups based on age: Pee Wee (ages 4 and 5/rising kindergarteners); Junior (ages 5 and 6); Middle (ages 7 to 9); and Senior (ages 10 to 13).
This day camp for preschoolers, run by the Weinstein JCC, has been around for more than 30 years and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Campers ages 2 to 5 will enjoy water play (toilet-trained children also get daily swimming instruction), outdoor play, arts and crafts, puppet shows, and special performances from guest artists and musicians.
Also run by the Weinstein JCC, Camp Hilbert offers kindergarteners through 10th graders a traditional camp experience in a peaceful, 110-acre, rustic setting. Campers can take part in canoeing, archery, swimming, pottery, and eight different sports. Each of the four sessions (each lasting two weeks) also offers field trips, overnight stays, and visits from special performers.
Camp Hanover offers faith-based, week-long day camps for elementary school age children at 12 locations. throughout the greater Richmond area–a great option for younger kids who aren’t quite old enough for the Camp Hanover sleep away experience.
Choose from sessions focusing on ballet, art, musical theater, chess, and robotics–all taught by professionals or seasoned coaches and mentors.
Chesterfield County offers a variety of camp options for kids, including sailing, archery, stand up paddle boarding, arts and crafts, horseback riding, and more.
Summer Quest boasts over 100 programs for preschoolers and up. Course offerings include academic enrichment classes, karate, fishing, mountain biking, foreign languages, engineering, dance, art, pretty much every sport you can thinking of, and about a bagillion other things, too.
Hanover Parks and Rec has some great camps lined up for school-age kids this summer including Mega Middle with activities designed just for those hard-to-please middle schoolers; and Summer Sneakers for those looking for traditional day camp activities. Registration begins April 1st, so be sure to check back in with the website in the next few weeks for more details and sign-up info.
Choose from day camps focused on sports, arts, nature appreciation, history, and more. More info–and registration details–will be posted on the site soon.
This youth center affiliated with VCU offers two summer programs: “Lobs & Lessons,” focused on healthy lifestyle activities, and “Discovery,” a fun, challenging, and creative program offering a variety of in-depth experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts, and health science. Registration opens March 16th.
Millwood School’s day camp offerings are many and varied. Click the above link to request a brochure. Registration is now open.
Go for one of Richmond Parks & Rec’s specialty camps for dance, drama, and sports, or opt for a multi-activity experience like the Great Summer Escape Day Camp for ages 6 to 11, or Generation Z for ages 12 to 14.
This program is open to all (not just RWS students) and promises nature-based, homespun activities that will excite your child’s imagination and immerse them in creative explorations in baking, gardening, music, crafting, and water-play.
Romp ‘n’ Roll will set up shop at the Children’s Museum of Richmond Central and Chesterfield locations for its award-winning summer camp program for kids ages 2 to 6 (no potty training required). Each week-long session will feature music, movement, art, sports, and science activities, all focused on a special theme. Theme examples include Firefighters to the Rescue, Rompin’ Robots, Days of the Dinosaurs, and Knights, Princesses & Dragons.
Held on St. Christopher’s campus in the Near West End, Summer Experience is a co-ed day camp offering swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, archery, bowling, music, computer, arts and crafts, and more.
Choose from 17 branch locations in the Richmond area for summer childcare and day camp options. Programs vary greatly at each location, so visit the website to see what summertime fun your local branch has to offer. (And be sure to check out Camp Thunderbird if you’re looking for a traditional, generalist camp experience for your kids.)
Visual Arts & Writing
Week-long, themed day camps give kids the chance to explore clay, ceramics, glass fusing, drawing, wheel throwing, tie-dye, and painting. Teen editions and all-day camps are also available for some sessions.
ArtHaus Studio offers loads of summer courses, some for kids and some for teens (and adults). Class descriptions and registration info is coming soon, so keep an eye on the website.
Kids ages 6 to 12 enjoy morning art classes in ceramic and painting.
Held by the Department of Art Education at VCUarts, this day camp for kids in grade K through 9 will provide campers with experience in a variety of media, including sculpture, digital media, printmaking, painting, drawing, bookmaking, fibers, and more. Classes are held on the VCU campus and are taught by undergraduate and graduate art education students. The theme for Summer 2015 is “RevolutionARTists!”
Richmond Young Writers Summer Sessions include courses on comics and graphic novels, non-fiction, screenwriting, horror, and soooooo much more. Course offerings are divided into ages 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 17.
Spirited Art offers three different levels of camp: Matisse (for ages 5 to 8); Van Gogh (for ages 7 to 12); and O’Keeffe (for girls ages 7-12). Campers will create brand new paintings each day as they learn about technique and art history. They’re also offering something new this year: Calendar Camp where kids ages 5 to 12 will create three brand new “month-themed” paintings on canvas board each day, leaving them with a complete calendar set by the end of camp.
ArtVenture at the Visual Arts Center hosts week-long workshops giving your young artist the chance to try his/her hand at everything from ceramics to cartooning, from writing to painting, from photography to metalsmithing–seriously, the course offerings are incredible. The ArtVenture schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but keep an eye on the website!
“Summer Art Adventure” and “Summer in the Studio” at VMFA features sessions tailored to specific age groups that provide access to high-quality materials and a world-renowned art program. Morning and afternoon and sessions are available throughout the summer, and courses offerings include drawing, painting, sculpture, illustrating, digital art, photography, and more.
Music & Performing Arts
ComedySportz Improv Camp for Kids is a half-day camp for your child to get wacky, meet some new friends, and grow in confidence. Each week the kids meet with a certified ComedySportz Intructor who teaches them the basics of improvisation. Campers will close out their session with a Friday night performance to show off their new skillz. 2015 camp details coming soon!
Kids can choose from two-week classes focus on topics such as drums and percussion, arts and crafts, dance history, storytelling, dance-theater, Latin ballet, Spanish language through dance, hip hop, and Latin and Spanish dances.
Magical Movers (for ages 3 to 6) and Summer Arts (for ages 5-10) give kids the chance to explore the worlds of dance and music (and more!) through activities based on a new theme each week. 2015 camp details coming soon!
This program welcomes students who have been playing their instruments for a minimum of two years and are ready to advance their skills by working with professional musicians. Students do not have to audition to register for String Odyssey, but there will be placement auditions on the first day of camp.
School of Rock out in Short Pump will offer three five-day summer camps, including Rock and Roll Boot Camp, Rock and Roll Junior Boot Camp, and Rock and Roll 101 Camp. All sessions promise lots of chances for students to jam together.
Henley Street Theatre and Richmond Shakespeare will team up this summer to offer two camps: Bard Basics, a week-long course for rising 6th through 10th graders on performance techniques, and Bard Boot Camp, a two-week course where rising 9th through 12th graders will experience the full process of studying and staging a Shakespeare play as they prepare for an abbreviated production of Hamlet on the Summer Festival Stage at Agecroft Hall.
With summer course offerings for preschoolers up through age 18, SPARC is sure to have something to keep your little theatre kid happy. Each session concludes with a final performances from the campers so they can strut their stuff and show how well they’ve learned to work together.
Virginia Rep’s day camps provide an exciting and comprehensive understanding of professional theatre performance and production. Options include Exploratory Theatre Camp for ages 8 through 15, and Performance Camp for ages 10 through 15. Performance Campers will close out this two week-long master class in dancing, singing, and acting with an evening performance of Seussical Jr.
Virginia Rep’s day camps provide an exciting and comprehensive understanding of professional theatre performance and production for students from preschool through 10th grade. Options include Dramatic Adventures Half-Day Camp (ages 3 to 5); Stage Explorers (rising 1st to 6th graders); Young Performers Institute (rising 7th to 10th graders); Summer Showtime! Day Camp (rising 3rd to 10th graders); and Charlie Brown Day Camp (rising 1st to 8th graders) in partnership with Hanover County Parks and Recreation.
Sports & Fitness
The ACAC offers an all-day camp with dozens of activities for rising kindergarteners through 8th grade, as well as more advanced sports camps and academies.
American Family Fitness’s locations around Richmond will host three-day sessions focused on basketball, racquetball, and soccer. Camp offerings vary a bit around town, so be sure to check with your branch for specifics.
Rising 1st graders through 5th graders can take part in week-long, themed camps focused on interactive baseball and softball, fun games, and relays.
CORE’s preschool camp (ages 2 to 4) is a weekly themed camp where campers will play interactive games, learn and practice gymnastics, and make crafts. School-Age Camp (ages 5 and up) is focused on creating a solid gymnastics foundation or building on existing skills-but no prior gymnastics experience is necessary!
Choose between FUNNdamentals Camp for ages 4 to 8 and Baseball Camp for ages 7 to 14. Both camps are open to boys and girls, and all campers will get instruction from Squirrels coaches and players.
Immerse your kids into the world of Tae Kwon Do with all-day camps at Master Cho’s. In addition to Tae Kwon Do classes, campers will also enjoy multiple field trips each week.
MAC’s All Sports Summer Camp aims to keep its campers (kids ages 4 to 13) active and engaged through team sports and team building activities. Campers are also given time each day to explore science, do arts and crafts, or take part in creative thinking activities.
University of Richmond camps and clinics are open to any and all interested participants (in accordance with NCAA rules). Camp options are: baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer (girls only), swimming, diving, tennis, and track & field.
Campers will play on the same floor as the VCU Rams as they work with the coaching staff on the fundamentals of shooting, passing, dribbling, rebounding, and defense. The camp is offered in three sessions, with session one open to rising 3rd through 12th graders, and sessions two and three open to rising 3rd through 7th graders. Registration begins March 16th.
Kids ages 3 to 9 can take part in Lil’ Kickers, a camp composed of three-hour, high energy classes focused on the fundamental of soccer, while Soccer Skills Camp helps kids ages 8 to 16 work on their technical skills. Kids ages 5 to 12 can also take part in All Sports Camp where they’ll get to try soccer, dodgeball, wiffleball, kickball, flag football, basketball, tug-o-war, relay races and much more.
Kids ages 6 to 13 will receive non-contact football instruction. Specifics about 2015 camps (including locations) will be coming soon!
Outdoors & Nature
These week-long, themed summer day camps allow campers to explore the grounds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to find out about the plant kingdom and their connection to it. Camps are divided up by age and include offerings like Growing Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Bug Brigade, Garden Cuisine, and more.
Henricus Historical Park will offer two day camps this summer: Camp Pocohontas (two sessions available), in which campers will explore the environment and the life of Pocahontas and the Powhatan people through activities and arts and crafts; and James River Camp, in which they will discover the environmental features of the historic James River as 17th century Virginia Indians and the Colonial English would have encountered it.
Maymont’s Children’s Farm and Nature Center serve as the setting for a variety of themed day camps for ages 3 through rising 6th graders as they explore the grounds, learn about plants and animals native to Virginia, and even have the occasional animal encounter.
Outdoor skills and all sorts of cool activities for the adventurous kid aged five to 17, with a very small camper-to-counselor ratio. Both day camps and overnight camps.
Riverside Outfitters offers three camps for kids itching to get outside, climb trees, and soak up all that nature has to offer. They’ve got Sapling Camp for ages 6 to 9; O.A.K. for ages 9 to 12; and Old Growth Camp for ages 12 to 15, with activities and challenges getting tougher and more technical as they go. New this year is Paddleboard Camp where your kids will get a full week of instruction with RO’s expert instructors.
Wilderness survival, archery instruction, and all kinds of critter-centric day camps for kids of all ages.
Day camp for ages 6 to 8 focuses on the basics of freshwater fishing in local ponds and rivers. Camp for ages 9 to 14 teaches the entire process of fishing from rigging rods, tying knots, baiting hooks, to driving boats with trolling motors. Both camps meet at Forest Hill Park.
Bricks 4 Kidz offers tons of classes all over the Richmond area all year long, but they’ve really beefed up their schedule for the summer. Pick the theme that best suits your LEGO® lover’s fancy (and the date and location that best suits your schedule) and go nuts.
Whether you’ve got a KinderCook (ages 3 to 6), a Jr. Chef (ages 6 to 12), or a Sr. Chef (ages 11 to 16) on your hands, Young Chefs Academy has plenty to keep him or her busy in the kitchen throughout the summer.
Edible Education’s Camp C.H.E.F. incorporates culinary arts, healthy resources, exercise, and farming into a week of fun, friends and food. During breaks from working in the garden and preparing good, campers also get time to exercise and work on crafts.
CodeVA’s super popular week-long sessions for kids of all ages combine artistic activities and computational thinking to create “a fun and exciting portal to the growing field of Computer Science.” Note: these sessions fill up quickly, so get to it! We’ll be featuring more on CodeVA later this week!
Explore Colonial Virginia with this week-long day camp at Wilton House. Campers will learn to churn butter, decorate a floor cloth, design their own colonial chambers, create watercolor paintings, make their own wigs, and play like they’re living in the 18th century!
Mad Science Central Virginia is heading out to locations all over Henrico, Chesterfield, and Richmond for the summer to offer a variety of sure-to-be whacky and fun classes. Before and after camp care is also available for an additional fee.
With camps catering to a variety of ages (as young as rising 1st graders), the SPCA’s summer camp offerings are sure to have something to keep your young animal lover happy.
Kids ages 8 to 12 can create their own apps, learn coding basics, create 3D video games, and geek out (I mean that in the most lovingly way possible) over Minecraft. All sessions take place at the J. Sergeant Reynolds Parham Campus.
Photo by: Rick Harris