Sat10252014

Magazine

From GPS treasure hunts to lemonade stands, YMCA offers summer fun


amino ymca Sports and games are just the beginning when it comes to camp choices at the YMCA.

It may be winter, but the El Camino YMCA has already rolled out its 10-week lineup of child care and summer camps.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, expect some technological innovations.

Lucky third- through sixth-graders, for example, can attend GPS Treasure Hunt camp, where campers use a GPS unit to find caches hidden across the world by other game players.

Finding a passion

The El Camino YMCA’s summer camp sessions begin June 9 and run through Aug. 15. Traditional, half- and full-day weekday offerings range from High Five camps for those entering kindergarten, Discovery and Sports camps for first- through sixth-graders and Explorer, Adventure and Movin’ On camps for those entering second through ninth grades.

The largest local summer camp provider, more than 5,500 campers partake in the Y’s sports, academic and general camps annually.

"We like to help kids find their spark and we focus on that," said Danny Koba, associate executive director at the El Camino YMCA.

Research shows that once children find their passion in life, "it helps them develop their assets and become successful," according to Koba, a Mountain View resident.

Through "intentional programming," the Y makes sure that participants build skills and relationships over the years with developmentally appropriate activities, he added.

Koba noted that "different focuses" bring out strengths at appropriate ages. Traditional day camps like Discovery introduce weekly field trips to Happy Hollow, the Oakland Zoo, Pump It Up and other destinations for first- and young second-graders.

The Explorer day camp for older second- through fourth-graders provides more action packed off-site excursions to Raging Waters and educational centers like the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

It’s not until Adventure camp that children entering fifth- and sixth-grades experience overnight campouts. Some children, Koba acknowledged, may not be ready for an overnight experience, so they are optional, with the first night held at the Y.

"It would be close enough to call parents to come get them," he said.

Fresh offerings

Children from 2 years, nine months to 16 years old can attend 35 different specialty camps this summer, including fresh offerings. The camps aim to give "diverse summer experiences," Koba said.

Some weeklong sessions offer a dance focus - Bollywood, Ballet and Zumba - others center on Mountain Biking and Film and Production.

First- through third-graders can spend a week building robots, and kindergarten through fifth-graders can attend new day camps in LEGO Chima Engineering and Engineering Masters.

Also new on the agenda is the Photography camp for third- through sixth-graders with digital cameras.

For budding first- through fourth-grade entrepreneurs, Lemonade Stand camp shows what it takes to run a successful business. After deciding on titles and assigning responsibilities, students will test products and then take them public.

Some parents might be a bit jealous of their fourth- through sixth-graders who sign up for the new Spa specialty camp, scheduled July 28 through August 1. According to the Y guide, participants will explore facials, manicures, pedicures, healthful food preparation and exercise.

"Everyone deserves some rest and relaxation," the guide states. "In this camp, we feel it’s a way of life."

The camps range in cost. Financial assistance is available, with two new options. Those who complete an application may qualify for the $99 Challenger camp, and anyone can sign up for the budget-friendly Crusader camps, which run all summer.

The El Camino YMCA is located at 2400 Grant Road, Mountain View.

To register for camps and for more information, visit ymcasv.org/pdfs/2014_EC_SummerCampGuide.pdf. n

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