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Camps for kids who hate summer camp

Jun 20, 2013 12:00 AM

I have vivid memories, as a child, of protesting to almost every activity my parents tried to introduce me to.  Whether it was little league, music camp or gymnastics, I have a distinct recollection of never wanting to try anything new, especially a new day camp.  Later, I tried to justify this behavior by saying I acted this way just to be contrary to my parents wishes, but truth be told there was more to it than that.
I was pretty apprehensive of anything that took me outside of my comfort zone.  Fortunately my parents knew this and would push me to try new things constantly.  With a chorus of “give it a chance…you’ll like it if you try it” I would be sent off to whatever organized activity or program was planned out for me.  Of course I learned that most times my parents were absolutely right.  I loved baseball, drum lessons and vaulting over gym equipment once I was steeped in these activities.  I just needed to buck up and give them a shot.  But let’s face it, no matter what, some kids just hate day camp.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t mean a genuine hatred.  This hate is more akin to hating broccoli, or cleaning one’s room.  Nevertheless, these anxious feelings are very real for some children, until they are allowed to ease into new situations.  Therefore, some of the best options for these kids are non-traditional specialty camps.  When the focus of your summer camp experience isn’t the obligatory field sport session into instructional swim into arts and crafts and so on (at break neck speed) through out the day.  Many local specialty camps offer kids a chance to engage in a concentration of activities that they already have an affinity for.

New York is home to all sorts of great music programs and there are countless possibilities for your child.  One notable summer music camp occurs at Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale.  This program prides itself in its faculty and special attention paid to each individual participant’s needs.  If your child is more the sort that feels the need to “rock out” however, then maybe New York City Guitar School is more their speed.  They offer three two-week sessions for kids 8 and up to plug in and crank that feedback!

If you have a budding Picasso you may want to consider summer programs at the Katonah Art Center.  This great alternative to full-day summer programs allows kids to explore their favorite fine arts in a friendly atmosphere with excellent ratios. They even offer a new musical theatre camp with a culminating performance.

Of course, I’m kind of partial to our own Mad Science summer camps.  They offer week-by-week convenience, so a long-term commitment is something you won’t have to worry about.  You can also select either a half-day or full-day program that suits your schedule.  Plus, our activities are awesome!  Our budding Mad Scientists will cast fossil replicas, build and launch rockets, break codes, brew up slimy potions and build robots (you actually get to keep the robots you build in our camps).  We have locations in Armonk, Chappaqua, Lewisboro, Scarsdale, White Plains and Yorktown this summer.

So if your child just isn’t jazzed about “color wars” or “super hero day” at their local day camp, don’t fret.  I wasn’t either, but there are still plenty of exciting options available this summer.

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