Summer Camp Guide

For Miami parents and kids, plenty of choices for summer camps


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Special to The Miami Herald

It’s almost summer and if you’re a kid there’s excitement in the air. It’s finally time to get out and do something you really love.

If you’re a parent, you can’t wait for the words Shannon Shapiro heard from her 7-year-old daughter Tyler after the first day of camp last year:

“Mommy, Mommy! That was the best day ever!” Tyler is already registered for the UM Mini Canes Recreational Sports Camp this summer.

Summer is the time to act, sing, sail, swim, row, dance, paint, cheer, write, cook, take photos, help others, make crafts, shoot baskets, score goals, get fit, ride horses, get dirty, get moving, be a little wild, and travel through time.

Excuse me?

“Time Travelers” is just one of the choices at the Deering Estate at Cutler summer camp, one of many in our community. So, parents, it is your time to get registering.

To make your job easier, here are just a few camps that caught our eye.


Many repeat campers love their Coconut Grove Sailing Club Summer Youth Camp, training young sailors since the 1970s. In our house the teen actually got up early for this camp and came home exhausted after a good day on the water.

Students are grouped at beginner, intermediate, advanced or racing levels and U.S. Sailing certified instructors and junior instructors supervise the classes. Campers must be between 7-14. Camp runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. There are five two-week sessions starting June 10. Each session is $400 for a member or $500 for a non-member. Scholarships are available.

The sailing club  is at 2990 S. Bayshore Dr. Check out or contact Lauren Simpson at to register.


If your camper likes to be in the water during our hot summer days, the historic Venetian Pool in Coral Gables might be just the place. In the Jr. Lifeguard sessions students ages 5-12 learn CPR, First Aid and water rescue skills. And new this year is the Guard Start program for ages 13-15. There are also half-day Fun in the Sun camps for ages 7-12.

“We have waterfalls and caves in the pool and the kids imagine they are on an adventure, ” said Counselor Ashley Jugo, 21 and a senior at FlU. “The most fun for me is being able to explore with the kids. Just being around them you get to be like a kid yourself.”

Venetian Pool is at 2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables. Prices range from $80 for one week of the half-day camp to $267 for the two-week Jr. Lifeguard camp. Fees are higher for non-residents of Coral Gables. Email


If your camper really does want to try traveling through time, Miami-Dade Parks’ Specialized Camps are where to get started. Remember, many Miami-Dade Parks’ camps require a small registration fee, usually $12.

The Deering Estate at Cutler offers “Time Traveling” along with “Wild and Crazy,” “Planet Patrol” and “Getting Dirty.” Eco Explorers are ages 6-8 while those in Expedition Deering are ages 6-14.

These camps range from $125 to $188 for five-day sessions, from June 10 to Aug 16. Camp hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check


Miami Rowing Club Summer Camp started in 1982 and more than 4,000 young athletes have attended the program. Rafael Montalvo, director of youth rowing, said many camp alumni have gone on to row in college and a few have rowed for the U.S. national team, rowing in the Olympics and World Championships.

Campers are in grades 6-12. Rowers meet from 8 a.m. to noon in five two-week sessions starting June 10 through Aug 16. The fee is $450 per session, $425 for two or more sessions.

The Miami Rowing Club is at 3601 Rickenbacker Cswy., next to Marine Stadium. Call 305-361-3225, email or check out


The Junior Naturalist session at the Deering Estate for teens 15-18 teaches team building and leadership. At EcoAdventures’ Nature Adventure, campers can snorkel, hike, canoe kayak and swim with instruction from naturalist guides. There’s also the Sense of Wonder Nature Center, for ages 6-9 and 9-14, at A.D. Barnes Park and Nature Center, 3401 SW 72 Ave.; and Fishing Camp at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St. (meets at the Hillside Pavilion), for campers ages 9-15. To register, call 305-662-4125. Camp Manatee at Greynolds Park, for ages 6-14, meets at the Greynolds Park Boathouse, 17530 W. Dixie Hwy. in North Miami Beach, 305-945-3425. To register, go to Fees range from $110 to $175 per week.


OK, so these terms are new to us too but maybe there’s a future lacrosse hero in your house. The Miami Stone Crabs Lacrosse Camp is open to players entering grades K-12.

NCAA players from around the U.S. work with players during the summer. All levels are welcome and this year the group is starting a program for girls. The camps meet at Miami Dade College-Kendall Campus soccer fields, from 3 to 7 p.m., June 10-13.

The price is $200 before May 8, $225 before June 8, and $250 June 9-10. Check out


At Fit2Play, Green-It-Up Summer Camps, run by the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, kids and teens learn about living healthy and going green. At $40-$90 per week the camps are a great choice for students ages 6-14. There are 33 camps throughout the county, from June 10 through Aug. 16, that are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with early drop-off and late pick-up available.

To find sessions near you go to the Summer Camp option at


If your child loves horses the Miami Equestrian Center summer camp is perfect. This camp is for ages 7-17 and all levels of experience are welcome. Campers meet weekdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and the cost is $250 per week. The camp hosts 20 children a week.

Sessions from June 10-Aug. 9, excluding the weeks starting July 1 and July 22, at Miami Equestrian Center 19525 SW 142nd Ave. Email


Kids crazy for our Miami Heat champs can refine their own hoop skills June 10 to Aug. 16 at Tamiami Park, 10901 SW 24th St. Basketball camp is $100 a week and includes field trips and tournaments.

Learn the jumps, chants and dance moves at Cheerleading/Dance Camp for ages 6-14. Cost is $100 per week at Tamiami Park.

Call 786-315-5295 to register.


FREE summer programs for teens are being offered at the MOCA Art Institute this summer. The focus is on journalism, photojournalism and studio art. Sessions start June 17 and go through Aug 16. Teens ages 13-19 will learn valuable skills and prepare for real-world experiences in a professional field.

Applications must be submitted by June 7 and are available at or by calling 305-893-6211. Only 25 students per session, and community service credit is available.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is at 770 NE 125th St., North Miami.


Well, that’s what my gamer calls it. The University of Miami will host for the 11th summer the extremely popular iD Tech Camp for kids into game design, robotics, film, animation, web design, filk (the music culture tied to science fiction and fantasy), and programming. There’s even an iPhone® app development session.

Campers are ages 7-17 and fees range from $829-$879 for a weeklong session.

Go to


At the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Summer Camp, young musicians can get a lot done in a short period of time. Melissa Lesniak, executive director of GMYS, said the 6-year-old camp brings in more than 300 students ages 5-18. There are three sessions and groups are based on level. Intermediate and advanced students need a recommendation from their music teacher. There are field trips to New World Center, ZooMiami, Actors Playhouse. The beginner camp meets at the Deering Estate at Cutler and Atala Montessori School in Homestead while the intermediate camp is at South Miami High. The advanced group meets at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Sessions are two to six weeks long.

Go to


A theater camp still talked about in our house is the University of Miami Summer Theatre Academy. My girls even learned sign language at this camp and one went on to perfect her skills.

The final performance is at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre. Registration is open to kids in first through 10th grades. Early registration is until April 26 for discounts. Fees are $1,300-$1,500 for the full six weeks or $700-$800 for the half sessions.

For more, go to


The Tandem Theatre Project immerses campers in music, dance, stagecraft, productions and games. For teens, summer is the perfect time to get into the craft, said Jean Sensale, co-founder of Tandem and music director of the camp.

Aspiring opera singers are encouraged.

Email or visit


The Young Musicians’ Summer Music Camp for students aged 9-18 is in its 13th year at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Coral Gables.

Session A is June 17-July 3 and Session B is July 8 - July 19. Study tracks range from Vocal, Classical Instrumental, Rock, Jazz, Piano and for advanced musicians, Classical Chamber Music - Instrumental, Classical Piano, Classical Voice, Classical Composition, Jazz-Instrumental, Jazz Voice, and Contemporary Songwriting.

There is also a community service program with hours awarded. Students in grades 10-12 can work as camp counselors or help set up and break down stage equipment for concerts, talent shows and jam sessions. Registration is now open. Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and fees run from $600 to $980. Go to


The Kids/Teen College Summer Program at Miami Dade College is a great bet. You’ll find salsa and merengue classes, karate, improv, modeling, a kids radio show, LEGO® building, paper mache, rocket building, photo editing, and more.

Prices for sessions vary depending on class. For kids ages 7 to 17.

See the schedule at,Z1,Z2&chkK=on.


Say you never win an argument with your kid? That’s a good thing at the Hurricane Debate Institute, the Summer Speech and Debate Camp at the University of Miami in its 22nd year.

Three weeklong sessions are open to middle school and high school students June 10 - June 28.

Tuition depends on the program the student is participating in. The $100 deposit is due now. Camp is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 305-281-2705, email or visit


Girls Empowerment and Mentoring is a summer arts program in its fourth year. Art matters here, said Program Director Vivian Greer-Digon.

At this camp, held at the Women’s Park, 10251 W. Flagler St., girls ages 11-16 can expand their imaginations through a 10-week program. Classes include photography, screenwriting and film, ballroom dancing, painting, knitting, theatre and music. A Mandarin-only-speaking professional will teach the Oriental arts dance classes. Participants also learn about women’s history.

The cost is $75 per week. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and classes are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Call Greer-Digon at 305-271-0812 or register at


This summer camp for girls is owned and operated by state-certified teachers and is located at the Hillel Student Center, 1100 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables. At the First Girls Club girls learn arts and crafts, dance, recreational swimming, cooking, etiquette and reading. The mission at FGC is for girls to develop character and build lifetime friendships.

There are three two-week sessions. The cost is $400 tuition with a $25 registration fee and $50 lunch fee. Fees are slightly less the second session because of the July 4th holiday. For more visit


Outdoorsy campers will enjoy Girl Scout Summer Adventure, open to girls 5-17. There are three locations, Camp Choee, 11347 SW 160th St., Camp Mahachee, 9950 Old Cutler Rd., Camp Little House, 6609 SW 60th St. In our house, we remember fondly one of the slogans at Camp Mahachee: “No ‘P’ in the ‘OOL.”

These fun and adventurous camps includes sessions like “Warriors and Wizards,” “Cooking Mama,” “Mermaid Mania,” “Sangam Style,” which is all about India. Cost is $100 for Girl Scouts and $112 for non-Scouts. Registration fee is $10. There are field trips and overnights.

To register call Lois Auerbach at 305-253-4841 ext. 252 or write her at lauerbach@girlscouts


Miami Beach teens in grades 11-12 are eligible to be interviewed for the Counselor in Training Program. Participants learn the skills to become future recreation professionals. Teens must participate the full nine weeks and are trained by City of Miami Beach Parks and Recreation staff.

Teens should apply in person, with their last report card, at the camp of their interest no later than May 23. Enrollment in the program is limited. Activity fee is $75.

For this and more on camp options through the City of Miami Beach Parks and Recreation, from toddlers to students in 12th grade, go to


Certified Florida teachers help students build confidence and social and learning skills at Wise Choice Summer Camp held at three locations — University of Miami Summer Camp, Summer Camp in Kendall and Florida International Summer Camp.

Campers play football, soccer, volleyball, box ball, dodge ball, and race in relays. Campers are ages 5-14 and

sessions are June 10- Aug. 9. Weekly rates start at $200 and there is a $50 registration fee. Includes camp T-shirt and bag, all activities plus lunch and Friday pizza parties.

Go to or call 305-630-3600.


Your mini-Phil Mickelson or Paula Creamer can learn how to get on the green quickly at the historic Miami Springs Golf Course, 650 Curtis Pkwy., close to Northwest 36th Street and the Palmetto Expressway.

Beginning and intermediate boy and girl junior golfers, ages 7-17, are invited to learn golf rules and etiquette, strategies, long drives, pitching and putting on the course where legendary golf pros played. The PJA Golf Summer Camp at Miami Springs Golf Course is supervised and taught by PGA Certified Professional Instructor Philip J. Argianas and options include full or half day schedules. There’s even a free golf clinic on May 18 for campers who register early with a drawing for a free set of U.S. Kids Clubs.

“There will be a lot of instruction and personal attention,” Argianas said. “It’s very kid-friendly and campers will have access to short game practice, putting greens and get out on the course.”

Weeklong sessions start June 10 and run through Aug. 9. There are fun contests and prizes daily. Half-day camp is $175 and full day is $280 per week for early registration. Lunch is included for full day camp and 10 percent discounts are available for Miami Springs residents and for siblings. Contact Argianas with any special requests or details about your camp needs. Visit or call 305-238-7507.


Don’t procrastinate. And check and for daily deals.

Remember private schools, churches and temples have wonderful summer programs too.


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