Best Summer Camps for Kids: Top destinations for children 11-14Christina Couch
Sports and Fitness Camps
Brooklyn Fencing Camp
Where: New York
What it offers: Instead of telling your kid to put down the sword-like object, now you can tell him to pick one up. At this day camp for kids ages 7 and up, future swashbucklers spend 5 hours a day learning how to parry and thrust their way to fencing victory. Don’t worry about breaking the bank on equipment either; equipment is provided for beginners, as is instruction on fencing footwork and safety.
In session: 10:30 am-3 pm, July 18 through September 2
What it costs: $500 per week; $450 per week if you register before April 1
Element YMCA Skate Camp
Where: Sierra Mountains, California
What it offers: Your kid will love shredding, grinding, and ollie-ing his way through summer, but you’ll love the licensed medical staff that’s on-hand 24 hours a day, just in case. In addition to perfecting their skateboard moves with help from the pros, residential campers ages 8 to 17 can also sign up for guitar workshops, survival skills classes, fishing excursions, and skateboard-making classes. Professional artists and musicians drop by to give keynote speeches, but let’s face it: the real draw of this camp is skateboarding from morning ’til evening.
In session: June 19 to August 12
What it costs: $912 per week. Subsidized rates available
Where: Austin, Texas
What it offers: Kids ages 9 through 12 get a crash course in three-dimensional, stop-motion animation then premiere their work at the Summer Film Camp Showcase on August 7. They’ll have the opportunity to work side-by-side with industry professionals to create their own claymation pieces and will get to take home a DVD of their work.
In session: 8:30 am-12:30 pm, June 13-July 15
What it costs: $195 per week
Buck’s Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp
Where: New Milford, Connecticut
What it offers: The alpha and omega of arts camps, Buck’s Rock residential camp offers 30 different creative programs for kids ages 11 through 17. A junior camping program is available for ages 9 and 10. The price is hefty, but for those who can swing it, their kids will have hands-on access in everything from spelunking to leatherworking, all set in facilities that would make college campuses jealous – including a full-scale digital recording studio, printing press, glassblowing studio, and radio station. Visits from alumni and pros in the field are sprinkled in throughout the summer, as are off-campus visits to nearby arts venues and cultural institutions.
In session: Sessions run from June 29-August 20
What it costs: $9,190 per session
Academic and Specialty Camps
Kids Culinary Summer Camp of Vermont
Where: Highgate Center, Vermont
What it offers: Put your youngsters to work at this delicious camp for ages 10 and up. Young chefs choose between sautè and bakery/pastry arts then go to work under the direction of the pros exploring a different culinary specialty each day of the program. In addition to learning the basics of domestic and international cuisine, kids also work in the on-site henhouse and greenhouse to learn where their food comes from.
In session: June 19-August 27
What it costs: $2,695 per week for residential campers, $1,275 per week for day campers
KidSpy Summer Day Camp
Where: Washington, DC
What it offers: Break codes and plot missions while incognito at this junior spy training camp. Operated by the International Spy Museum, this week-long day camp provides an introduction to spy missions and equipment as well as the science behind espionage. Kids ages 10 to 13 come away knowing a few tricks of the trade, but be careful: they might be a little stealthier the next time they’re up to no good.
In session: 9 am-3 pm, August 1-12
What it costs: $415 per week