Camp Wa-TamThis is the Big Daddy of area Kid’s Camps. Locals have been swarming this Howarth Park camp for years, and now they’re signing their kids up for the fun. It’s not just a camp, it’s a tradition. Activities include canoing, archery, nature and craft projects, and hiking to Spring Lake for a day of swimming. Thursday nights are the special all-night campout. First, kids and counselors cook dinner over a campfire and then hold a performance for their family and friends. Afterwards, they sleep out under the stars. Tip: If this is your first time, be aware that kids bring oodles of candies and snacks to eat and share during the campout. Also, if you’re signing up late, the week of the 4th of July seems to fill up last. Or, put yourself on the waiting list. Plans change during the summer and there are often cancellations. In addition, Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks runs a number of other great camps that don’t fill up quite as quickly as Wa-Tam.
For something a bit more low-key, Sonoma County Children’s Music runs a popular Children’s Musical Theater camp each summer, and at the end of the week, the kids put on a performance for parents, family and friends. The center also runs a variety of other music classes for children 19 months to 12 years.
The YMCA also offers a good theater camp (as well as several other day camps) as does Parks and Rec with their Drama Camp.
Sonoma Country Day School Summer CampsThe Santa Rosa Symphony now holds its Summer Music Academy classes at the Sonoma Country Day school. These highly-regarded music classes or for beginners through advanced, elementary to high school age. Classes include wind ensembles, string orchestras, string classes, music appreciation, theory and composition, and an academy orchestra. All classes and ensembles culminate in a final performance.
Along with the Summer Music Academy, the Sonoma Country Day School offers a number of camps/classes include actor’s workshops, basketball, website design, dance, science, cooking and more.
SSU also offers the Super Kids Camp. The week-long, all-day camps for 6 – 12 year olds include a field trip, special event, and swimming in the SSU pool. And, the university holds several Sports Camps including volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, baseball, tennis, swimming and water polo.
Also, Santa Rosa Junior College offers a “College for Kids” program with a good variety of courses, such as astronomy, sculpture Lego robotics, fashion design and more.
Cloverleaf RanchThis is good old-fashioned summertime fun. They offer horseback riding, rope courses, sports, crafts and more. Residence and day camps available.
FREE Recreation Programs at Santa Rosa ParksKids can be dropped off at a number of city parks throughout town where they can enjoy safe, outdoor fun with trained staff. and organized activities like games, crafts, sports and more. Morning sites are open from 9 to 11:45 a.m. and afternoon sites are from 1:30 to 4:15 p.m. All sites are closed on Wednesdays for “Wild Wednesday” events. Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks trains their camp counselors at these free sites. Don’t worry, not only is there experienced staff on hand doing the training, but the counselors-in-training are always terrific. In fact, I’m constantly impressed with all these bright, enthusiastic and skilled young people who go on to work as counselors in the city’s several Summer Camps.