It’s been a minute since I had to decide on how my children would spend their summer. My youngest child is 15 and his aviation and basketball obsessions pretty much determine what he throws himself into from June until August.
Years ago, however, trying to keep his older sisters busy while also stimulating their thirsty minds was a challenge. Some summers saw them just hanging out the way that I did as a girl – carefree, sleeping late and having lots of unstructured fun with friends. Other summers included tennis camp, cheerleading, traveling with their grandparents and for one of them, the top quality, amazing multi-faceted performing arts camp at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City.
I revisited the program for this special section because of its endearing relationship with its young charges and their parents. The center went through a scary spell a few years ago when threats of its demise were rumored; however, thankfully, it is still going strong. Longtime manager Marshall Davis and his staff continue to deliver outstanding services to youngsters who, like Ashlee Thomas, went from being an introverted little girl to an articulate college graduate who now serves as the program’s marketing manager.
This section also includes quality camp programs that step out of the box by offering children something other than the traditional recreational summer camp experience.
Camp Chameleon combines the recreational aspect of traditional camps with old fashioned, get outside and run around like your parents used to activities. By incorporating a nice balance of indoor and outdoor activities, the Broward County camp keeps campers busy all day, five days a week.
Camp Broadway Miami at the illustrious Arsht Center offers children who may be curious about performing on stage the opportunity to do just that with an innovative week-long program that goes all out to provide campers an idea of what Broadway is all about. In addition to learning all aspects of a Broadway production, including a behind-the-scenes peek at how the production crew works, campers get the chance to take the stage with a grand production that family, friends and the general public eagerly attend.
Camp Lingua, held at the Parkway School in Davie, offers children the chance to immerse themselves into new languages, learning or enhancing their Spanish, English, French, Mandarin and Portuguese. The camp also includes lab, sports, field trips, arts & crafts.
Miniature golfers can sharpen their skills at the Okeeheelee, Park Ridge, and John Prince Golf Camps in Palm Beach County. Youth as young as six and as old as 17 can learn how to play and enjoy the game of golf. Instructed by PGA & LPGA Professionals, each student will learn putting, chipping, pitching, and bunker play; swing analysis and improvement; game knowledge and etiquette.
The YES (Youth Empowerment Summer) Camp in Miami is one of those experiences that can change a girl’s life. The program is built on the knowledge that a young girl entering adolescence will receive messages from the media, society, social media and peers that can significantly impact the way that she views herself and the way that she views life. By helping girls to discover their inner power and to own their unique voice through proven best practice approaches that incorporate arts, culture, fitness, affirmations and more, the YES Camp equips them with life skills and tools to help them successfully navigate adolescence.
Essentially, summer camps throughout the tri-county area offer something for everyone. Parents can pick and choose how their children will spend their summer and could very likely introduce them to a hidden passion that will have life-long benefits.