As summer approaches, local children and their parents are gearing up for more fun than the last two years have allowed. Summer camps have long been something to look forward to, and local camps offer everything from art and drama to outdoor sports and education. We spoke with staff at some of the local camps who are also excited to be back in full swing with the help of COVID protocols and spaces are filling up fast.
Although COVID variants are on the rise, local camps are taking the initiative from the county health officer and are ready to pivot with requirements if necessary to keep their campers safe. Camps are doing things like setting up sanitation stations and moving outdoors when possible and many indoor camps require masks and vaccinations for staff and sometimes the campers themselves to keep everyone safe. as safe as possible. Each camp lists their protocols and requirements along with their camp information.
Local parents are ahead of the game and making sure their children participate by being ready to register their children as soon as registration opens for their preferred camp. Art Escape summer camps sold out two days after registration opened. Likewise, the Boys and Girls Club summer camps were nearly full when we spoke to them.
Sonoma Ecology Center summer camps have been in full swing since last summer as their camps are held outdoors. They run seven weeks of camps, three at Sonoma Garden Park, including two Wizard Magic in the Garden camps for ages 7-11 and a new one for little tikes, ages 5-7. They also run four camps at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for ages 8-12. Places are still available and scholarships are offered to families in need, thanks to the help of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. They want to make sure no one is left behind for financial reasons.
The Sonoma Conservatory of Dance offers dance camps for three age groups. The “Firebirds, Bluebirds and Swans” camp for 4-6 year olds is almost complete and the camp for 6-8 year olds is filling up quickly. Their camp for ages 9 and up is open to all experience levels, even beginners, and it’s a great way to get a taste of what ballet is all about. For safety, temperatures will be taken, masks worn and social distancing will be respected. They also offer tuition assistance.
Rhoten Productions organizes both performing arts camps and adventure camps. Their performing arts camps are held at the Sebastiani Theater and campers have the choice of improv, Shakespeare, dance, singing, magic, juggling, tumbling, stilt walking, puppetry, costume design, storytelling, journalism, video, photography and more.
At Rhoten Productions Adventure Camps, kids ages 5 and up experience a ropes course, rock climbing, hiking and stream exploration, art, games and more. Campers ages 9 to 15 climb giant ladders, jump from high platforms, go zip-lining, group hikes in the redwoods, play field games, and complete art projects. At this time, all campers must show proof of vaccination and other protocols are followed. Scholarships are available.
The Sonoma Community Center runs many creative camps for ages 6-9, 10-13, and 13-17. They have expanded their camp options this year and are offering scholarships so anyone can attend.
They are following the same COVID guidelines as the school district and will be using their outdoor classrooms for many lessons and lunches. Each camp is divided into groups of up to 15 campers.
At their Fiber Arts Camp Dive, campers can dive into machine sewing and creative sewing techniques like embroidery, needle and hand sewing, wet felting, pom pom making, tassels, fabric printing, tie-dye, macrame, basket weaving, bracelet braiding and weaving. .
They have added an extra week to their clay and art camp where campers work with clay, prints and mixed media and learn to communicate and express themselves through art and movement. In their Upcycle Camp, campers will create their own shorts using all recycled materials.
They have a brand new theater camp led by director of creative programs and former Broadway performer Eric Jackson and Backyard Kids Theater founder Alexis Duermeyer. Campers will perform in a production of “Suessical a Musical Experience”.
The Community Center Self-Expression Camp is back for its second year. It’s the culmination of their monthly Queer Art Club where teens make art, learn from professional artists, share a meal, and build community with one another. They work closely with Positive Images Santa Rosa to hire instructors and create a fun program for the two-week camp.
These popular camps fill up quickly. When we spoke to them, two of the four clay and art camps were almost full and the first week of the fiber camp was also full.
The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art welcomes clay and art campers for a private tour of the exhibit and related art activity. The SVMA is still finalizing its summer plans and encourages parents to check their website for upcoming summer fun announcements.
The Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley is offering a variety of camps starting June 21. “Aloha, Summer! Aloha!” campers will participate in limbo and hula hooping contests, create their own leis and feast on Hawaiian cuisine. “The Joy of Painting” will allow children to learn watercolor, acrylic and to create their own paints. “Icky, Sticky Fun” is a hands-on camp, where scientists-in-training will observe the relationships between temperature and spoilage, how smell spreads, and all the fun experiments that come with it. Boys and Girls Club soccer camp introduces the basic skills of dribbling, passing and goalkeeping. And finally, “Fear Factor” is like the game show, where campers will test their fears with Spooky challenges that include eating bugs, mystery box guess what it is and cricket challenge.
There are plenty of other fun camps, like Challenger Sports and O’Sullivan Soccer Academy soccer camps and Sonoma Aquatic Club swim camps. Sonoma Gymnastics Academy will be offering summer camps with fun themes like Ninja Warrior Camp, Circus Camp, Marvel Camp and more.
Be sure to check out the various camping sites online so you can register your campers on time. With COVID protocols and financial aid in place, summer camps in Sonoma are a lot of fun.