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Summer Camp Source

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Summer Camp Source — Do’s and Don’t of Summer Camps — Preparing Happy Campers



Summer is on the way – registration is open for the variety of exciting camps in this section. Please also refer to our March/April issue’s digital issue at to find more camp options.  And, tell ‘um you heard about it in Suburban Family Magazine.

Big Blue Swim School
Big Blue Swim School is excited to announce this summer’s Super-Improver Camps schedule. Each four-day camp will run Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, June, 5th and packs a month’s worth of progress into four consecutive days with the same teacher. Big Blue’s state-of-the-art swim lesson facilities are conveniently located in Buffalo Grove, Wilmette, Niles and coming this summer to Hoffman Estates. Call 847-769-7665 to register or visit Call today!

Great Lakes Center Youth Academy
Sports Performance / GLCYA Summer Volleyball Camps. “American’s #1 Volleyball Camp Program.” Week long day camps for Jr. High and High School age athletes. We are accepting girls and boys ages 4-14 who are interested in learning, developing and training the correct volleyball skills for the “Great Lakes Center Youth Academy Summer Volleyball Camp Series”. All camps focus on individual skill development by teaching both proper skill technique and introducing the campers to age appropriate game play as well. All camps are held at: The Great Lakes Volleyball Center, 579 N. Oakhurst Drive, Aurora, IL. 60502. For more info call 630-898-6400 or visit  FB: Great Lakes Center Youth Academy

Kiddie Academy
At Kiddie Academy we believe the best learning happens during play. From family style dining to character education, parents can rest assured that our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum gives your child a full day of learning and fun. In addition, Kiddie Academy sets the standards for safety, education and trust because we understand children need to thrive in an environment that’s as clean, safe and nurturing as home. Call to schedule your tour today!

Saint Ignatius College Prep
Saint Ignatius College Prep offers a wide variety of athletic and academic programs for students. Our camps and courses are engaging, enjoyable, and challenging in the tradition of Saint Ignatius College Prep. Choose from “Summer with the Pack” athletic camp opportunities for students beginning in the 3rd grade, our “Taste of Ignatius” academic enrichment program for rising 7th and 8th grade students, and our High School academic offerings. Visit for details and registration. 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL 60608.

Hanover Park Park District
The Hanover Park Park District offers a verity of themed summer camps, including; Adventure Camp, Discovery Camp, Teen Camp, Camp Sunrise and Camp Sunset. Summer Camp is for ages 4-14 and is divided into age groups.  Bus services also available for every camp, call 630.837.2468 for more information or click Register online or visit our administration office at 1919 Walnut Ave. Hanover Park IL, 60133.

Rocktown Adventures
Give yourself a couple of free hours and your kids some paddling adventure with our Youth Paddlesports Camps this summer. Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) concepts will be taught, providing them the skills and confidence to safely and comfortably maneuver on the water. In addition, on Day Four, Mom or Dad are invited to come out and paddle with the kids! For more information, please give us a call at 630-506-57606 or visit

Oak Brook Swim & Tennis Club
Kids will have a blast this summer in our full day or half day summer camps (Swim & Tennis), (Tennis, Archery, & Sports), (Art & Tennis) and (Soccer & Tennis) while parents with busy schedules will love their new found flexibility! Sign up for one week, all nine weeks, or anything in-between.  All camps begin June 12.  Oak Brook Swim & Tennis Club. 800 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Call 630-368-6420.

Funtopia Summer Camps are designed for campers to challenge themselves, push their limits, gain a sense of empowerment and develop a sense of camaraderie while engaging in a variety of fun and healthy activities. For more details visit For reservation please email: Have Fun, Be Active!

DanceDuo is the home of Ballroom dance, Latin and Standard styles. We offer ProAm, social dance nights, competitive, special occasion dances, private and group classes. Everyone from the age of 3 – 100 years young can learn, excel and enjoy the dance. Our professional instructors will teach you step by step to develop your dancing skills. DanceDuo provides themed dance parties for your child’s birthday! Summer Dance camps at DanceDuo studio (ages 4-12) and Lakeside Cabins/Three Oaks (ages 8-16) are intensive but fun dancer’s technique and stamina improvement. All levels dancers are welcome! Located at 635 Executive Drive, Willowbrook. 630-455-0524.

Rock ‘n Kids
Song and dance, rhythm and rhyme, join the fun for a rockin’ good time! Tot Rock and Kid Rock are structured music and movement programs for children ages 1-5 years that focus on imaginative play, sensory integration, fine and gross motor movements, rhythm skills and socialization, while utilizing a variety of rhythm instruments and props. Classes offered at park districts in the Northwest Suburbs. / 847-961-6584.

The Yard
Come join After School Sports Summer Camps at The Yard, two state-of-the-art athletic and family recreation centers located in the near-west suburbs of Chicago. Kids will enjoy field trips and pool trips every week, sports on our fields, our play tower and inflatables field, games, arts/crafts, science, reading, projects, and more. For more information, visit or or call 630-245-1101 for Naperville Yard and 630-737-1110 for Westmont Yard.

Salt Creek Ballet Summer Camps
Join us this summer in our Fairy Tale Ballet Camp (July 31-August 18) and Creative Ballet Camp (July 31-August 11), for ages 3-7. Choose up to THREE WEEKS of ballet, dance enrichment activities, craft making, and plenty of fun! Young Ballet classes offered to ages 3-8, also. For more information: visit, call us at (630) 769-1199 or visit our studios at 98 E Chicago Ave, Westmont, IL 60559.

Vertical Endeavors
Indoor Rock Climbing – Our camps are designed to meet the needs of all climbers ages 6-16. Whether your climbers are beginners or advanced, our camps provide each child the proper instruction to achieve personal goals in a fun, supportive, and controlled setting. Our instructors possess years of knowledge in climbing movement, technical know-how, and safety. In addition to camps, we also provide: open climbing for all ages and abilities, group events, and more. 246 Windy Point Drive, Glendale Heights. Visit us at or 630.784.9000 to learn more!

Soccer Made in America
Welcome to Soccer Made in America Training Camp, a high quality program for players 4 – 17. The SMIA training program is designed to provide the most complete soccer training for both individual players and teams of all levels and abilities. Each camp is designed to teach players proper technical and tactical skills while enjoying playing the game of soccer. The SMIA clinicians are well recognized for providing personal attention to every participant. Since 1984 thousands of children have kicked the ball for the first time in a Soccer Made in America training program. Many have gone to compete at collegiate, professional, Olympic and national team levels. Come experience a great week at a Soccer Made in America camp. For camp schedule go to or call 630-257-6900 for more information.

Good Times Summer Day Camp
Offers campers an exciting and active program for children ages 4-12.  Each week is filled with incredible field trips, many hours of swimming, various sports, exciting guests, challenging crafts, special events, and a theme based cookout. We accommodate parent’s busy schedules by offering extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at no extra charge. Schedules are flexible – come only the days you want. Convenient locations in Illinois and Wisconsin. Busing available in some areas.  For more information, please call 847-680-4884 or visit

Downers Grove Adventist School/
Day Star Preschool
Kids will have a blast this summer in our full day Summer camp! Our weekly themes, crafts, games, activities and field trips are designed to help create happy summer memories!  Sign up for one week, all nine weeks, or something in between. Camp begins June 12.  Downers Grove Adventist School,  5524 Lee Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515.  630-968-8848.

DuPage Children’s Museum
Think BIG in Museum Summer Camps! Today’s kids are tomorrow’s innovators, problem-solvers, and trailblazers! Think BIG while having fun with summer enrichment camps at DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM). Research has shown that immersing children in STEAM learning experiences early on helps to inspire life-long curiosity, creativity, and problem solving skills. Choose from Preschool camps, STEM Labs for grades 1-5, and Art Camps for grades 1-2. Find the right camp for your young explorer today! 301 North Washington St., Naperville, IL 60540. 630.637.8000.

Camp Fire IL Prairie Camp Kata Kani
Camp Kata Kani offers 11 weeks of summer fun and learning for only $115 per week (less on Holiday weeks). Archery, fishing, hiking and open fire cooking, plus Camp Fire programming and field trips. Kids thrive while playing, making new friends and having new experiences. For a small additional fee, parents can drop and collect campers before and after camp hours. To register, call 630-629-5160 or visit

University of Illinois Sport Camps
Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has committed itself to the development of well-rounded summer sport camps for boys and girls. Young athletes have the opportunity to learn more about their sport, improve their skills, create new friendships and have fun at the same time. Campers receive excellent coaching, experience campus life, and meet athletes from a variety of backgrounds. To learn more about specific camp offering go to


Preparing Happy Campers

By Christa Hines

Summer camp is a time-honored tradition, rich with activities, newfound friendships and a lifetime of memories. Explore a few ways to make your child’s camp experience smooth sailing from start to finish.

S’more Than Just Fun
According to the RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, children who participate in summer programs, like experiential learning activities offered in an organized camp, are less likely to experience a significant summer learning slide.

Camp also enhances a child’s physical and emotional well-being. Activities build social skills, teamwork and independence, which all contribute to stronger self-confidence and leadership abilities.

“I often hear from parents how amazed they are when their children return home after spending time at camp….about how they seem older and more mature,” says Doug Berkel, senior program director of Youth Development Services with the Kansas City YMCA.

Avoid Camp Run Amok
First, together with your child, decide what skills you want your child to gain and choose a camp that fits her needs and interests, as well as your family’s values.

Check out safety guidelines in the camp’s parent handbook. Look for overnight camps accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). “ACA standards are the most universal and well-known standards adopted by most camps to ensure a quality and safe program,” Berkel says.

Day and specialty camps should carry a current state childcare license. Additionally, staff should be trained in emergency, communication and safety procedures, behavior management techniques (including handling the common bout of homesickness), and child abuse prevention.

Camp Sunshine
Day camps are a practical way to introduce children, ages five to 12, to the camp experience. Most center on a theme, like sports, science, nature, technology and the arts.

Ann Bowley says that when her stepson, Trevor, was younger, he enjoyed planning out the day camps he wanted to attend each summer. However, as her son got older he grew more apprehensive about starting over with a new group of kids each week.

“We talked to him about it and he never changed his plans. We just looked for school mates that might be in camp with him to help him be more comfortable,” she says.

Camp Ability
Specialty camps center around one activity like music, art, sports or science. These camps provide children the space to further explore and develop a skill that interests them.

“Specialty camps tend to run…partial days and could be a nice addition to regular day camps,” Berkel says.

Camp Starlight
Overnight camps, typically in an outdoor setting, can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks and are generally offered for children ages 7 and up. If you aren’t sure your child is ready, allow him to spend the night at friends’ houses occasionally. Or, as Berkel suggests, take advantage of a weekend family camping opportunity, usually offered in the fall and spring to familiarize campers and their families with the facilities and staff.

Conquer Camp Blues
Preparation and an awareness of what to expect can ease the transition from home to camp. Before your child departs, go over a list of everything she will need. Pack a physical connection to home like a favorite sleeping bag, stuffed animal or pillow.

Also, mail a card ahead of time to ensure it arrives before the end of camp. Tell your child how you look forward to hearing her camp stories, but avoid saying how much you miss her which can trigger homesickness and worry.

Fourteen-year veteran Boy Scout leader, soccer coach and father of eight, John Whiteside, is a camping pro. Over the years, he and his children have participated in multiple camps, including sports, band and weeklong scout camps.

Initial nervousness isn’t unusual. If your child asks to come home, Whiteside says to consider the situation, but to encourage him to discuss his anxieties with the camp counselor and take it one day at a time. “Tell him ‘Yes, today was hard, but I think it will be better tomorrow’ and usually tomorrow is better,” he says.

While your child may struggle at first, chances are he’ll come home a happy camper with a heightened sense of self-confidence, memorable stories and a passel of new friends to boot.


Do’s & Don’t for Day & Away Camps

So you’ve made the decision to register your child for a summer camp. While every summer camp is different, and most will include some general information in advance of important items to know, let’s face it—we can never over prepare! Parents should also trust that at camp, like at home, rules exist for good reasons. With that in mind, here is a quick checklist of some key tips to remember when getting your child ready for camp.


  • Communicate: Let the camp director know if your child is reluctant, apprehensive or worried about heading off to camp. Counselors can help ease the camper into the first few days.
  • Paperwork: Ensure all registration and information forms are fully completed. This provides valuable and critical information on all campers. The counselors study this information prior to camp and are ready when the campers arrive.
  • Orientation: Attend a camp orientation or open house; this is a chance for you and your child to meet the staff and learn about their programs. Ask questions and make notes on important issues for you.
  • Connect: Check the camp’s website, social media links and information packages. Keep important phone numbers and email addresses with you.
  • Pack Medication: Send along prescription medicines, in their original containers, making sure instructions are on the label. If your child needs an EpiPen, asthma puffer or other special medications close at hand.
  • Label Items: Iron-on labels are great for fabrics while permanent markers or even colourful nail polish works for everything else.
  • Training Camp: Sleepovers can be great practice for avoiding separation anxiety, especially for first-timers.
  • Choose Wisely: It’s camp and kids will get dirty. Pack older clothes or items your child has almost outgrown.
  • Keep In Touch: Mail a letter to your camper a week before camp starts, so it arrives before they get there. Pack self-addressed, stamped envelopes so that they can write you back.


  • Force It: Don’t force your youngster to attend camp. Be sure they are ready, willing and able.
  • Make Promises: If your camper is reluctant, suggest that they “give it their best,” and tell them that you will re-evaluate for next year. Never suggest that you will come pick them up if they don’t like it. Instill the expectation that they will stay for the entire session.
  • Pressure: Don’t set your child up for disappointment by overselling how wonderful the camp experience was for you. Stay positive but let them enjoy camp in their own way.
  • Worry: Stay positive about your child’s camp time. Don’t dwell on telling them how much you will miss them (though you will), and don’t overplay all the “fun” things you have planned while they are away.
  • Send Valuables: Money, cell phones and jewelry are not needed at camp.
  • Criticize: Don’t criticize or belittle your child if their camp experience isn’t totally positive. Be encouraging.
  • Overpack: Never overpack. Follow the camp’s guidelines. Each camp offers suggestions on what to pack and how to pack. They’ve done this before—heed their suggestions.
  • Burn: Don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Be a Heli-Parent: Camp directors and counselors are focused on the campers. Don’t send them daily emails, letters or phone calls to check up. If there are issues, they will contact you. If you need to touch base, once a session is sufficient.
  • Procrastinate: Don’t leave things until the last minute. Pack ahead of time.
  • Push: Don’t push your kids to follow your trail. Let them blaze their own.

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