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Super Summer Camps

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Super Summer Camps | 9 Benefits of Sending Kids to Camp | Drop-Off Day:

Super Summer Camps…

For generations, children have spent their summers at day and sleepaway camps, trying new activities such as swimming, hiking, and various sports.Camp provides children with different opportunities to develop important life skills that are difficult to achieve in any other environment. In this section you will find wonderful options for the irreplaceable experience of summer camp and parents retain their peace of mind.


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.

Camp Adler at the David Adler Music and Arts Center
At Camp Adler, creative kids make great friends, and build their own class schedules from a variety of classes featuring Broadway musicals, drawing, clay, improv, songwriting, ukulele and more.  Three-week sessions begin in June and July.  Full and half-day options available.  Junior Counselor program for ages 12 – 15.  Located at 1700 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville, IL 60048.  847-367-0707.  Visit .

Overshadowed Theatrical Productions
Perform in a live production, sharpen your acting skills, make new friends and lasting memories! Camp #1 – High School Musical Jr. June 11-23. We are all in this together as Disney Channel’s smash hit musical comes to life! Camp #2 – Jungle Book Kids. July 10-13. Performance July 14. Camp #3 – Around the World in 80 Days July 30-August 11. In 1872, on a gentleman’s wager, Phileas Fogg and his French manservant Passepartout attempt to traverse the globe in just eighty days. The two encounter strange new countries, colorful (and at times hostile) characters, and even love. A faithful, swift adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel. For more information, visit our website at .

iD Tech
The #1 Summer STEM Program
Ages 7-18 learn to code, design video games, mod Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, print 3D characters, work with AI, and more! Held at Loyola, GEMS World Academy, Northwestern, Benedictine, Lake Forest, and 150+ locations nationwide. iD Tech Camps (weeklong, 7-17), Alexa Café (weeklong, all-girls, 10-15), and iD Tech Academies (2-week, 13-18). Your child can make friends as they master new tech skills, and will join a community of 350,000 alumni. ; 1-844-788-1858.

KidZone at TopGolf
Our half-day golf clinic includes all of the components that make up the great game of golf. From chipping, putting and full swing to the rules and etiquette, your kids will learn everything they need to know about the game of golf. Visit for more information!

Rock ‘n’ Kids!
This summer, come out to sing, dance and play the Rock ‘n’ Kids way! 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.

InZone Camps at Harper College
Hello Summer. Hello InZone! InZone, Harper College’s enrichment and sports camp for ages 8 to 14, fills your summer with fun and learning. Kids can expand their art creativity, develop outdoor education skills, create their own video games or become the master of STEM challenges, all while making new friends. Visit to learn more about InZone, request a catalog, and schedule your summer fun. Harper College CE, 1200 West Algonquin Road, Palatine, IL 60067. For more information, visit or call 847.925.6300.

University of Illinois
Summer Sport Camps
University of Illinois, 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 .

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
In SAIC’s camps, kids work together on a variety of fun projects, including painting, drawing, mixed-media, sculpture, printmaking, performance, digital art and more. One- and two-week camps for students ages 4 to 13 begin in June. Located at 36 South Wabash Avenue Suite 1201, Chicago, IL 60603. 312-629-6170. Visit: .

SciTech Hands On Museum
SciTech Summer Camps are full of adventures in STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math! The Hands On camps are led by certified teachers and capped at 15 campers per session. Programs are available for children aged 3 – 8th grade. Early bird registration is only $150 before March 31, 2018. Visit for topics, registration, and more information.

Alma Dance School
Alma Dance School is a pre-professional ballet training facility for young talents interested in building a strong foundation in ballet and pursuing a career in dance. Join us for our 2018 Summer Intensive Program (July 2nd- August 11th) and experience the comprehensive Cuban Method of Ballet taught by renowned Cuban instructors. International experienced teachers will also be joining our faculty.The six-week curriculum program includes: Ballet, Pointe, Variation, Partnering, Supplementary Ballet Technique, Conditioning, Modern/Contemporary, Jazz, Character, Flamenco and Acting Classes. Housing is available. For more information, please contact the school. 630-580-9784  Email: . Visit: .

Sports Broadcasting Camp
Boys and girls 10-18 will have an opportunity to learn from the pros in the sports broadcasting industry. July 9-13, 2018.  Meet sports celebrities.  Make sports anchor, play-by-play, and reporting tapes.  Participate in mock sports talk radio and PTI style shows, trivia and Stump The Schwab contests, and much more.  Day/Overnight Options at Holiday Inn–Skokie. Check us out on and  For more information, call 800.319.0884 or visit: or email: .

Chicago Red Stars Camps
Red Stars camps have a distinct advantage as the only professional all-female soccer camp, focus on specific areas of improvement for athletes to experience soccer at a pace that is representative of the women’s game. Open to players of all skill levels, the Red Stars Soccer Camps provide a professional, fun and welcoming environment for girls to learn new skills and mature as players. All campers receive a Chicago Red Stars t-shirt, free home game ticket, as well as other giveaways. Red Stars Summer Camps are led by Red Stars staff and other top-level coaches. .

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 .

Cub Creek Science Camp
For ages 7-17. Imagine a summer camp where you can eat breakfast next to a colony of lemurs, zoom down a zip-line and pet a camel before lunch, and play a camp wide game of Capture the Flag after dinner! We are that camp! With 300 animals including porcupines, foxes, parrots, lizards, miniature horses, a 6-element ropes course, and classes in chemistry, pottery, culinary, animal care, and many more, we are a truly unique summer camp experience! A/C cabins.  ACA accredited. (573) 458-2125.​

SEASPAR is a special recreation association offering therapeutic recreation programs and services – including summer day camps and a multi-sensory room – for people with disabilities served by the park districts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Westmont, and Woodridge, and the villages of Brookfield, Indian Head Park, and Western Springs. Visit or call 630.960.7600 for more information about our year-round programming for all ages and all abilities!

Downers Grove Park District
Downers Grove Park District summer camps offer adventures where kids will make memories that will last a lifetime! Check out action-packed sport camps, teen trips, traditional day camps and our preschool camps. Unique specialty camps let kids delve into science, robotics, cooking, visual and performing arts. Campers can take a swing at our golf camps, discover the great outdoors with nature camps or explore their historical side at one of our museum camps. Before and after care is available. .

Kiddie Academy Chicago
CampVentures offers children all day adventures all summer long. Campers enjoy fun, creative learning opportunities; soaking up the joy of summer with physical fitness activities, exciting field trips and special visitors. Our traditional day camp and preschool camp help children make friends, learn new skills, have adventures, and play! Each week offers a new theme with new activities, including cooking, sports, STEM, art and more. Before and after care is available. See the academies near you and learn more about CampVentures at .

Camp Anokijig
Outrageous fun is around every corner at Camp Anokijig! For 92 years, we have nurtured independence, character, and confidence in our campers as they build positive values, friendships, and life skills through their experiences. We offer a huge variety of activities for campers to self-direct their own camp experience, build self-esteem, and create an enriching week of summer camp. Convenient, 1-week sessions offer valuable flexibility to accommodate busy family schedules. Be part of the family and catch the Anokijig spirit! For more information: or 920-893-0782 (ACA Accredited).

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Summer Camps
In the drafting room where Frank Lloyd Wright and his fellow architects pioneered a new vision for American architecture and design, In Wright’s Studio summer camps let young participants collaborate and create with professional architects, artists and designers. One week-long day camp (July 9-13) serves students grades 3-5, and another (July 23-27) serves students grades 6-8. High school students enjoy Saturday workshops on June 23, July 7 and July 21. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park. For more information, visit or call 708.725.3828.

St. Charles Park District
St. Charles Park District offers a variety of camp programs and schedules to guarantee summer fun for everyone – DAY CAMPS, FARM CAMPS, NATURE CAMPS & SPORTS CAMPS! Ages 3+ will enjoy all sorts of activities: outdoor fun, swimming, crafts, minigolf, science experiments, hikes, field trips and more. Before and after camp care available. Counselors are trained in CPR & First Aid. Reasonable rates. For more details, visit . 8 North Avenue, St. Charles, IL 60174 .

Great Lakes Volleyball
The GLCYA is accepting girls and boys ages 2-14 for the Great Lakes Center Youth Volleyball Academy Fall, Club, Winter and Spring programs. All sessions focus on motor development and individual skill development by teaching both proper skill technique and introducing the young athlete to age appropriate game play as well for volleyball. We are also offering winter/spring clinics and lessons for all ages. The Great Lakes Volleyball Center is located at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive, Aurora, IL. 60502. For more info call 630-898-6400 or visit  FB: Great Lakes Center Youth Academy .

Fox Valley Park District
Some of the best times from childhood can be traced back to youth camp, those indelible memories of exploring, learning and growing – all while having fun. The Fox Valley Park District features more than 60 such camps that offer exciting opportunities for youth of all ages and interests. Venture into new worlds of discovery, enjoy a variety of sports, advance specific skills or just enjoy some good, ol’ summer fun. It’s all here! Visit for full details .

Keshet  (Special Needs)
At camp with Keshet, endless opportunities are provided for children with disabilities. From learning a new stroke in the pool to getting invited to their first playdate, Keshet provides a positive, inclusive camping experience for all of our campers. Campers with a disability participate to the greatest possible extent in the full experience of a regular camp setting alongside their peers. Campers with and without disabilities do all camp activities together, eat together, and at overnight camp live together, with no separation. Behavioral supports and accommodations based on each camper’s individual needs are incorporated into daily living. For more information about Keshet Camps, contact Jen Phillips at or call (847) 205-0274.

Camp Naper
Naper Settlement, an award-winning outdoor museum, is a cultural campus of life-long learning, discovery and fun for all ages. Sprawled across 13-acres, visitors can explore its beautiful grounds and 30 historic buildings. Families can bring their little ones to the Early Learning Playscape and splash pad, or sign up their curious camper for a summer camp program. Visit Naper Settlement April through October for the museum’s summer hours open Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-4 PM and Sunday 1-4 PM (closed on Mondays).Located at 523 S. Webster St. Naperville, IL. For more information, call 630.420.6010 or visit .

Cantigny Park 
Cantigny is the 500-acre former estate of Robert R. McCormick and part of the nonprofit McCormick Foundation. Visit the colorful gardens, museums and, opening this spring, the Red Oaks Farm Playground, located in the picnic grove. The 2018 Spring Events Guide, online at , includes a wide variety of events and classes for kids. Gardens, museums, concerts and most special events at Cantigny are complimentary admission with paid parking ($5 per car). For event reminders, text PARK to 36000. Cantigny Park, 1s151 Winfield Road, Wheaton.

Christ Community Church
At Camp Commotion 1st to 6th graders choose from 18 different activity focuses to create the unique summer experience they want! Camp is offered at Christ Community Church in St. Charles every week from May 29 to August 10. Kids can come for one week…or all 11. It’s only $120 per week (that’s less than $3.50 an hour). Extended care is available (regular hours are 9am-4pm). Register now at .

9 Benefits of Sending Teens to Camp

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Summer camp is often a place to send elementary-age kids so they aren’t sitting around the house bored and so they’ll make friends and learn new things while having fun. As kids grow out of their “little kid years” we sometimes forget that they still need those kinds of experiences they had when they were younger, just in a different form. Maybe you don’t think your teen needs summer camp. Your teen should be babysitting, mowing lawns, working at the pool, hanging around with friends, right? Well, sure! But why not send them off for a week or more of summer fun and learning this year for a break? Here are some great benefits of teens attending summer camp:

  1. Learning how to give back. Community service camps offer a great chance for your teen to make a difference and help out in the community while also learning skills that will carry them through their life. Kids get to spend their days helping others, which just feels good to everyone involved. Maybe your teen will learn how to pack food for the homeless, teach kids how to read or work on a project that will benefit the community like cleaning up a playground or fixing equipment. They could even learn how to paint a house, care for a yard for an elderly person who is unable to do so anymore … or they may even learn how to plan and build a house for someone who is need.
  2. Making new friends. It’s important to continue to grow and change, and adding new friends to one’s life enriches it at any age. Some teens attend the same camp or camps every summer and might find the same friends there year after year. Many are attending for the very first time and need to hone their social skills to make new friends and get to know other kids in their age range outside of a school setting. Being in close proximity for days or weeks helps kids get closer, faster.
  3. Learning new things. Whether your teen attends a camp to learn more about horses, adventure, a specific sport, or any other type of camp, they have an entire day, week or longer to focus on that one activity and really immerse themselves in it. Who knows? Your teen might find a new passion that he never thought of before that could be helpful in his educational or work life later on down the road.
  4. Deepening their faith. If your teen enjoys church youth groups and activities, a church or other organized religious camp might just be the ticket. The day might begin with a church service, followed by breakfast, a hike, some time spent in the cabin with friends memorizing Bible verses for a competition at the end of the week. Later there could be singing songs around a bonfire while roasting s’mores.
  5. Developing a hobby. When your child is unplugged from the TV, video game player, smartphone, etc., they can really focus on developing a hobby in a creative way. It seems like these days there’s a camp for pretty much any interest your kid has. There are camps for horse and other animal lovers, sports lovers of all types (think developing soccer skills, swimming, football, volleyball, baseball … anything!), Boy Scout camp (covers so many different hobbies and topics), Girl Scout camp (also covers so many great skills) … the list goes on!
  6. Working as a team. Your child will be meeting kids of different ages and from different backgrounds. Learning how to get along and work as a team is a huge life skill that will be reinforced at camp. Some camps even have kids do team-building and trust activities to help kids get to know each other.
  7. Staying active. Forget sitting around doing “screen time” all day long during the summer! When a teen attends summer camp, they often forget all about those things and focus on having fun with their friends going on hikes, paddle boating, swimming and more, depending on the camp they choose! Bonus points for activity if they choose a camp targeted to a sport your kid is passionate about.
  8. Standing on their own. Let’s face it: as our kids get older they start to grow away from us. They are simply preparing to head out on their own and they are also preparing you for that by perhaps being a little distant. They are stuck in between childhood and adulthood, and it’s a confusing time. Going away to camp for even a short period of time helps teach independence. There is a daily structure at camp that’s already in place that teens need to follow. Parents aren’t the ones doing the nagging so teens don’t tune it out and they learn to respect and learn from other adults.
  9. Appreciating everything. Away from screens (yes, I keep focusing on this one), it’s easier to focus on nature, learning, forming relationships and more. Being away from parents, kids will come home with a new appreciation for what it takes to be in a family and what it takes to help out in the running of the household. Your teen will probably also appreciate funny things like a full pantry that’s open all day, their comfy bed and privacy!

Teen summer camp has so many benefits that cover all the bases, from physical, social, mental and spiritual. As for the rest of the summer? Well, your teen can spend plenty of time doing those odd jobs to help pay for camp next year!


Drop-Off Day

By Ashley Talmadge

A few decades ago, parents eagerly awaited Drop-Off Day at summer camp. For a few glorious weeks, they could happily ditch their roles of chauffeur, chef, and chaperone. They’d read a few more books, have an extra glass of wine with dinner, and simply enjoy a respite from the non-stop pace kids require.

Today, we parents seem to have more difficulty “letting go.” Thanks to new communication technology, we’re accustomed to being in constant contact with our kids. And our news feed can make the world seem like a pretty scary place for children. How can we trust that our kids will be protected and get their needs met unless we’re overseeing every detail of their lives?

But trust we must. In his book, Homesick and Happy, psychologist Michael Thompson concludes that children become more resilient, confident, competent, and independent when they have opportunities to make decisions, solve problems, and try new things out of their parents’ view. Overnight camp provides the perfect environment for such growth. Thompson states, “When you send a child off to camp, the gift you are giving him or her is to let go. You have to be willing…to let go of your importance in your child’s life to make space for someone else and new experiences.”

Kevin Gordon is owner and director of Camp Kupugani outside of Chicago, and has many years of experience working with first-time campers and their parents. When deciding whether to send a child to overnight summer camp, Gordon says it’s a good idea to separate a child’s readiness from a parent’s readiness. He says, “Sometimes well-meaning parents will communicate that their child isn’t ready, but in fact, it’s the parent that’s not quite there.”

Erec Hillis, former camper, counselor, and now boys’ camp director at Camp Champions near Austin, Texas, agrees. He says, “It is our observation that 95 percent of kids finishing second grade can be successful for a three-week camp term, but only 5 percent of their parents think they can.” As a parent, memories of your child as baby, toddler, and preschooler may skew your understanding of her current capabilities. You may think, “How could she have grown up so fast?” Hillis suggests that parents begin to more accurately assess a child’s maturity by “taking note of things he or she can do now that weren’t so easy a year or two ago.”

Good preparation can also help you manage parental uneasiness. Taking the time to select the right camp is the first step. Is the camp director approachable and available? Do staff members undergo a rigorous hiring and training process? Does the camp provide exciting physical opportunities for kids, while also managing risks? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you can remind yourself as Drop-Off Day approaches: “I’ve chosen a great camp. My child is in good hands, and he’ll get to try some really cool things.”

The next step is to prepare your child. Both Gordon and Hillis say it’s a good idea to have children spend a few nights away from home with friends or relatives. Hillis says, “When they can do this successfully, they can probably also make it at camp.” In addition, some parents will find peace of mind in familiarizing their child with camp-necessary skills, such as sorting laundry, stowing toiletries, and using a flashlight or headlamp. You can also acquaint yourself and your camper with the rules, daily schedule, and layout of buildings by downloading information and watching camp videos.

Finally, it really helps for parents to make their own plans! Sign up for that hula hooping class. Plan a tour of the wine country. Or read ten classic novels and get a new tattoo. As Gordon says, “Just like your camper is trying new things and experiencing personal growth, you’re ready to do the same so you can be reenergized when he arrives home with great camp stories.”

Above all, express confidence in your child’s ability to succeed and have fun at camp. “Whatever you do, don’t project your uneasiness or anxiety on your child,” advises Hillis. If you have concerns about food, allergies, or medical issues, speak with the staff ahead of time. Read the parent brochure and be prepared to follow the guidelines regarding communication with your child during the camp session. “When in doubt, call the camp,” says Hillis. “The directors are there to talk to you, answer questions, and ease your concerns.”

Drop-Off Day is often bittersweet. You may need to hide a few tears behind your dark glasses. But as Gordon reminds us, “ There are only limited camp years available for a child, so once the child is ready, it’s the parent’s job to get the parent ready.”

Before you know it, Pick-Up Day will arrive. As you hug your tangle-haired, sodden-sneakered, somehow wiser child, you’ll think, “How could she have grown up so fast?” On the way home, the stories may bubble from her lips. Or the words may be few. But her eyes will tell you: “I’m different. I’ve found parts of myself I never knew existed. Thank you.”

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