Finding a great summer camp for your child can be an agonizing experience. Decisions are made months in advance, often with your fingers crossed. I like to look for the right balance of activities mentally stimulating, physically challenging and age appropriate. While it’s great if I can coordinate a week when a classmate might also be there, I’m also hoping that he’ll go and meet new kids and gain confidence and social ease from his interactions with them and inspiring camp counselors.
I’d like to say every camp we’ve tried has been a home run, but that wouldn’t be true. Some camps have been a little too geared for older kids. One other camp seemed to be a hit with my son but upon discussion he and his camp buddies loved it mostly because of the junk food served for snack. Sigh.
Fortunately, I discovered Camp Galileo early in my quest to find great camps three years ago. It’s a huge relief for me to know that each week my son goes there will be stimulating, fun, and active. As a working parent knowing that there are options to start the day a little earlier or to do fun projects if we need to extend the day are important factors too.
When we picked Camp Galileo three years ago, my son was just in Pre-K, and it was the first camp he had ever attended. Given that there were still days when he would only reluctantly let go of my hand at pre-school drop off I had no idea how things were going to go. I had read wonderful things about Galileo’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) oriented programs, and the manner in which they combined art, science, and outdoor activities at age appropriate levels. What I
was unprepared for was how they managed to make it all amazingly fun. As we walked up to the school hosting the camp for the first time my son and I were enthusiastically greeted by loads of smiling counselors unselfconsciously wearing crazy wigs, hats, and costumes. As we checked in, we could see an archway decked out with streamers and balloons with a huge sign above it labeled “The Fun Machine.” As groups of kids were checked in, they’d excitedly run through this tunnel of fun into camp. As we waited in line, I became increasingly nervous about my son making a clingy scene. However, after watching all the fun everyone seemed to be having when it was my son’s turn to go he barely glanced back to give me a quick wave goodbye as he raced off through The Fun Machine to meet his group.
With face painting, dress-up days, skits by both campers and counselors my son was thrilled to head off to camp each day. Although I had read quite a bit about Galileo’s focus on innovation and creativity, I wasn’t sure how that would materialize among the Pre-K set. I was floored at the end of the week by the amazing tools and structures made from cardboard, pipe cleaners and paper clips.
This last summer my son, who had just exited kindergarten, made a working dustbuster out of some basic circuitry work, cardboard and a paper towel tube! While I’d be tempted to think the kids might be getting a lot of “help” from their counselors with their creations my son proudly relayed stories each year about getting awards for perseverance when in crafting his projects something went wrong, and he pushed through
to make it work or create something even better. The Galileo folks do a fantastic job of getting the kids to reflect on their projects and find solutions while also celebrating and surmounting their ‘marvelous mistakes.’
Each year Camp Galileo introduces four fresh and engaging themes to inspire its young campers. My son eagerly awaits the roll-out of the camp schedule to see if our travel plans allow him to work in all four. This year’s themes are Space Explorers, National Parks Adventure, Galileo Olympics, and Galileo Makers: Toys. Galileo focuses on letting each child become an innovator and encourages them to be visionary, courageous, collaborative, determined and reflective about their projects. However, because it is all wrapped in a lighthearted, whimsical environment, the kids are unaware of the serious thought that has gone into all the fun they are having while they create and innovate.
Since our family is such a big fan of Camp Galileo, I am thrilled to be able to partner with them to sing their praises and also offer an exclusive discount for $40 a week for Camp Galileo. Just use enter 2016BOLD when you signup. Further, if you signup by February 29th you can combine that discount with early bird discount AND multi-session discounts! Even better so long as spots are open, you can change your camp date or location through May 2 for free.
A Galileo Demo – Circuit Making Madness
As a part of our partnership the great folks over at Camp Galileo sent us some materials to add to the building excitement about the summer ahead. We got to make our own ‘Circuit Bug’ from a tiny motor, battery, toothbrush head, tape, and decorations. We also got to practice our Galileo mindset as we approached the project so that we remembered to persevere, problem solve and innovate when things didn’t quite go as planned. See the collage below for a blow by blow of our efforts.