The search for the perfect summer camp can almost feel like panning for gold.
And the quest is to find, among all the wonderful camp treasures in South Florida, just the right one that will shine for your child.
Will it be singing, swimming, art, language, dance, space, scuba, soccer, basketball, trekking, magic, baseball, cooking, science, aviation, robotics, theater?
“You get to learn new stuff,” said Isabel Wesoloski, 6, who last summer tried out a lot of instruments at music camp. She discovered the violin.
Her brothers Michael, 8, and Adam, 4, like camp because “you make new friends,” Michael said. His favorite story is telling how he and a buddy learned to tip a sailboat over and over “a lot of times.”
“Playing!” said little Adam, about his best camp time.
For some teens, summer camp can mean getting the chance to help others.
Zachary Marks, 15, said his favorite part about camp was being a Counselor-In-Training at the Ransom Everglades Summer Day Camp in Coconut Grove . He earned 100 community service hours last summer.
“I was assigned to a group of kindergarten boys. It was a lot of fun. They look up to you like a big brother. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the same kids again this year,” said Zachary, who will return as a junior counselor.
The best summer experiences are talked and laughed about for years. To get you started, here are some camps that are tried and true, and some that are new.
SING IN A MUSIC VIDEO
This 3-year old gem of a choral camp has grown from 14 to more than 50. This will be the second year for Making the Music Video Summer Camp organized through The Children’s Voice. For three weeks, children who love to sing in grades 3-12 will be fully immersed in songwriting, recording and filming a music video.
Campers develop skills including ear training, music reading, vocal technique, performance, songwriting and video-editing, dance, drama and drumming. Master classes and performances are included from professional musicians.
Cost is $450 for three weeks. The camp is July 14 to Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. Before/after care is offered at an additional price. The camp is located at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, 14401 Old Cutler Rd. Financial assistance is available to qualifying families. Visit www.childrensvoicechorus.org.
IT’S ALL FRENCH
Kids can embark on world travel without leaving Miami at the Around the World of Francophonie Summer Camp. This French immersion summer adventure is for beginners and bilingual students.
The camp is offered by EFF (Education Francaise en Floride) France Miami and is located at the Downtown Miami Charter School, 305 NW Third Ave. Campers ages 4-14 can enjoy daily French classes, etiquette, art and crafts, theater, culture, food tasting, yoga, sports, outdoor French games, weekly field trips, splash days and shows for parents.
The cost starts at $265 per week with a two-week session minimum. A $50 registration fee per camper covers materials, portfolio and T-shirt. Sibling discounts are offered. There are two sessions of two weeks, beginning June 9. Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Before/after care are available. Register online at www.francemiami.org/summer-camp.
FIVE DAYS ON BROADWAY
Well, it’s almost like being in Times Square. This week-long camp takes its inspiration from Broadway’s cherished works. Camp Broadway Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., is open to all skill levels for theater-loving kids ages 10-17.
Camp is June 16-21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.arshtcenter.org or call 305-949-6722. Type Camp Broadway in the search field.
SOUNDS OF MUSIC
Bringing together children from many different backgrounds to share in the joy of music was the dream of the founders of Frost Young Musicians’ Camp at the University of Miami, Sarah Salz and her late husband, Simon Salz. And since 2000 this camp, located in the Gusman Concert Hall on UM’s campus, has done just that.
The camp is for musical students ages 7-18, of all levels, playing all instruments, including voice. Registration fee is $60. There are two sessions, June 16 to July 3, for three weeks, and July 7 to July 18 for two weeks. Fees are based on session, age and level, and range from $400-$1,360.To register, visit www.youngmusicianscamp.com or call 305-238-8937.
FRIENDSHIP, HONESTY, TEAMWORK
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade have been making a difference in young lives since 1940. There are four locations for summer camps, which run from June 9 to Aug. 1.Camps are open to boys and girls ages 5 to 16 and run weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with early care and late pickup. Activities include arts and crafts, computers and game room, table games, movies, basketball and baseball.
For more on session details and prices, ranging from $60 to $450, visit www.bgcmia.org. Camp locations are the Hank Kline Club, 2805 SW 32nd Ave., 305-446-2654; Northwest Club, 10915 NW 14th Ave., 305-758-5753; South Beach Club Fienberg Fisher Gym, 1400 Pennsylvania Ct., 305-535-1135; and Kendall Club 9475 N. Kendall Dr., 305-279-3013.
It’s all about movement at Pure Dance Summer Camp for ages 5 to 15. Students learn ballet, salsa, jazz, tap, flamenco, Broadway, hip hop, composition, samba, zumba, group choreographies, stretching and ballroom dances.
Sessions are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., June 9 to Aug. 8. Weekly cost for half-day until 12 p.m. is $140 for members, and $150 for non-members of the Pinecrest Community Center, 5855 SW 111th St. Full day prices are $240 for members, and $250 for non-members per week. If you enroll before May 31 there is a 15 percent discount and students enrolled for four weeks or more receive a 15 percent discount. Visit www.pinecrestdanceproject.com.
SWIMMING AND MORE BY THE BAY
The Ransom Everglades Summer Day Camp in Coconut Grove is open to children ages 4 to 12. The camp offers swimming, basketball, beach volleyball, arts & crafts, drama, Karate, yoga, soccer, tennis, flag football and sailing. Three sessions are June 16-27, June 30-July 11, and July 14-25. Camp is daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A camp open house and tour will be on April 27, from noon to 2 p.m. Cost for a two-week camp session is $850. Sibling discounts. To learn more, visit www.ransomeverglades.org/summercamp or call 305-460-8874. Ransom Everglades campuses are at 3575 Main Hwy. and 2045 S. Bayshore Dr.
Older campers can practice flight skills in the on-site flight simulator in Exploring Aviation, just one of the courses at the Ransom Everglades Summer Explorations Camp. Classes range from 1 ½ hours to 3 ½ hours long.
Courses run for two weeks, and range from $135 to $360. Sessions are June 16-July 25. For more visit www.ransomeverglades.org/SummerExplorations or call 305-460-8874.
ARTS AND SPORTS
Here’s a summer camp close to the arts, literally. Located in the Design District, Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep’s Summer Knights Day Camps for tweens and teens offer both arts and sports camps.
Campers at the Summer Knights Visual and Performing Arts Camp will learn from the pros about photography, animation and indie film making, storyboards, set and lighting design, sound and editing.
Sports programs include tennis, baseball and softball, volleyball, wrestling and football. Week-long camps are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 16 to July 18; cost is $100 per week. Multiple week discounts are available. Register online at www.acnd.net/SummerKnights or call 305-751-8367 ext. 22. The school is at 4949 NE Second Ave.
SOCCER, TENNIS, BASEBALL AT THE “U”
For the sports lover, consider the soccer, tennis and baseball camps at the University of Miami.
Mary-Frances Monroe Soccer Camps are led by the four-time All-American soccer star. Soccer camps are open to girls and boys ages 5-18 and run June 9 to Aug. 3, Monday through Thursday, and are priced for half-day, full day and individual and team training. Prices range from $140 to $290. Visit www.abcsportscamps.com/canessoccer.
Girls who love basketball can refine and develop new skills at four girls’ basketball camps. The 2014 Katie Meier Day Camp is June 14-15 for high school and AAU teams; the Elite Camp is June 16-17 for high school students; and two sessions of Day Camp are June 16-20 and July 28 to Aug. 1. Camp is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, in the Knight Sports Complex on the UM campus. Tuition is $330 and includes lunch and T-shirt. There is a discount for returning campers and groups of five or more. Register at www.hurricanebasketballcamps.com.
The Jim Morris Baseball Camps run June 30 through Aug. 1. The camps are for ages 6-13 and all sessions are held at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Discounts are available for children of UM employees, firefighters, police officers and the military. Session tuition is $200 to $240 per week. Call 305-284-4171 or check out www.jimmorrisbaseballcamp.com.
LEARN TO BE A LEADER
New camps at the YMCA include Fit Camp and Teen Camp.
The Teen Camp, for students entering seventh grade, teaches students about community service. Camp is $130 for YMCA members and $220 for all other campers. It runs June 9 to Aug. 15, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are three off-site field trips and two days a week are spent on service projects. Teens also can earn service hours.
The other Y camps for ages 5 to 15 are varied. The new Fit Camp helps kids learn about proper exercise, nutrition and healthy habits. Pricing and locations vary from Homestead to North Pointe. Call 305-254-0310 or go to www.ymcamiami.org under programs.
CHEERLEADING AND MORE
The City of Sunny Isles Beach offers a summer camp with options for toddlers up to 15 year olds. Classes include arts and crafts, games, sports, music and yoga and field trips (depending on age) to the Miami Shores Aquatic Center, Zoo Miami, X-treme Rock Climbing and Ski Rixen at Quiet Waters Park.
Specialty and sports camps such as Musical Theater, LEGO®, Fine Art, Basketball, Soccer and Cheerleading fill up quickly. Registration for city residents opens April 12; for others, April 26. Complete details are in the camp brochure at Pelican Community Park, 18115 N. Bay Rd. or at www.sibfl.net. Call 305-792-1706.
BE A LITTLE CITY TREKKER
Five -to 10-year-olds can learn all about their city at the Coral Gables Museum City Trekker Summer Camp. Classes are Design and Play, June 9-20; Shutter Bugs, June 23 to July 3; Splish N’ Splash, July 21 to Aug. 1; and Natural Wonders, Aug. 4 to 15.
Cost is $450 for each two-week session; $400 per session for Coral Gables Museum family members. Check out www.coralgablesmuseum.org or call 305-603-8067or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum is at 285 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.
MARINE SCIENCE AND SCUBA
If your camper wants to touch squishy underwater animals and learn all about South Florida’s aquatic environment, Pigeon Key Marine Science Summer Camp is the place.
Students can get hands-on marine science educational classes that include stingray and shark dissections, invertebrate labs and reef fish identification. Open Water SCUBA certification is available to campers 10 and older and refresher dives are available to campers already certified.
Camp is July 7-11, July 28 to Aug. 1, and Aug. 4-8. Day camp is Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for kids 10 and up. Overnight camp as well. The camp is in the Keys off the Seven Mile Bridge. Visit www.pigeonkey.net/Education.php#Summer_Camp or call 1-952-769-7636.
Summer camp returns to the Miami Seaquarium with week-long sessions including “Flipper and Friends,” “Oceans in Motions” and “Ocean Rangers.”
Sessions are from June 9 to Aug. 15. Parents with students in grades 6-12 also can enroll their campers in a Reef Encounter called Sea Trek. Costs are $200 for the first week and $185 for any additional weeks. Discounts available for members and siblings. Camp hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with early and late care available for an additional charge. Call 305-361-5705, ext. 298 or 207 or visit www.miamiseaquarium.com/EducationPrograms/Camp-Programs.
The Li'l Abner Taekwondo program, for girls and boys ages 6-14, focuses on the art of self-defense along with competition techniques. The camp is at 11387 W. Flagler St.
The program runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from June 9 to Aug. 1. Campers who participate eight weeks can take a belt test and participate in Rave's First International Taekwondo Championship Tournament on Aug. 2. Camp cost is $690 per child with a $70 registration fee. For more call 305-227-7240 or visit www.lilabnerfoundation.com.
The Black Panther Karate Camp, 8200 SW 124th St., Pinecrest, for ages 5 to 12 teaches discipline, respect and honesty. Camp costs $160 per week, is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 9 to Aug. 15. Visit www.blackpantherkarate.org for more.
BUTTERFLIES ALL AROUND US
How about learning everything to do with butterflies and seek them out in Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 S. Red Rd.? Campers will make artworks, plant a garden to attract butterflies and visit a learning lab. The camp is Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30-11 a.m., June 9 to July 2. Contact Lisa Toy at 305-669-6990 for prices or e-mail her at email@example.com.
TENNIS EQUALS LOVE
Campers can learn the sport or refine their skills at the David Ensignia Tennis Academy for ages 6 to 17. Camp is half day (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) for $150 per week, or full day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) for $210 per week. There are also single-day options for $40 and $55. Camp sessions are June 23 to Aug. 15. Sessions are in Coral Pine Park, 6955 SW 104 St. in Pinecrest.
FITNESS AND SPORTS
The Five Stars Sports and Fitness Academy camp at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay North Campus, 3000 NE 151 St., runs from June 9 to Aug. 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for girls and boys ages 4-14.
Activities include basketball, football, soccer, tennis, swimming, T-ball, kickball, dodgeball, arts and crafts, weekly field trips. Cost is $130 per week with a $50 registration fee. Half-day camp is $100 and a daily option is $26 per day. Early 8 a.m. drop-off and late 5 p.m. pick-up available at no extra charge. Call 305-989-5221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Kendall area tennis camp is 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. from June 9 to Aug. 15. The camp is at Tennis Advantage of Miami, based out of Ron Ehmann Park at 10995 SW 97 Ave. Campers are ages 4-16 and half-day and full-day programs are available. Sibling discounts. Check out www.tennisadvantageofmiami.com or call 305-812-5450.
Campers ages 6 to 14 can boost their physical fitness through Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) activities.
Weekly sessions are available for half day or full day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 9 to Aug. 15. Prices are $150 per week for half day and $210 per week for full day. One-day options are $40 and $55. Early drop off and late pick up options available. Camp held in Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy. in Pinecrest.
THE GOAL IS SOCCER
Soccer-loving kids ages 5 to 14 will have a blast perfecting their skills at Premier Soccer Camps at Evelyn Greer Park, 8200 SW 124th St. in Pinecrest.
Camp is Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a half-day option until 12 p.m. Sessions are June 9 to June 27; cost is $150 for a half day and $265 for a full day per session. For more call 305-804-1661 or visit www.pinecrestpremier.us.
GET UP ON STAGE
The Miami Theater Center Musical Theater Summer Camp teaches young campers about acting through theater games, improvisation, music, movement and dance. For students ages 6-12.
Two sessions are June 9-27, and July 14 to Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuition is $650 per session and there are full and partial scholarships available. You can register online at www.mtcmiami.org/camps/ or call 305-751-9550. The Miami Theater Center is at 9806 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.
BROADCASTING AND CHESS
Miami Country Day School, 601 NE 107 St. in Miami, offers SpartanTV camp, a two-week course from June 9-20, held on campus in a professional studio, for 20 boys and girls, ages 10-17. Campers learn to produce content, ready for air on SpartanTV. Cost is $1,100.
For the chess lover, chess camp sessions are June 2-6 and Aug. 4-8 for ages 6 and up. Cost is $450 per week and includes lunch. Visit www.miamicountryday.org/summer or call 305-779-7350.
Robotics and 3D printing wizards need to apply to this camp. Started 20 years ago in Europe as an after-school program, the Nutty Scientists camps are now in 37 countries and for the first time in South Florida.
Campers, ages 5-11, have fun while discovering the world of science. Programs focus on STEM, the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Camp will be held at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and School, 1121 Andalusia Ave. in Coral Gables. Three two-week sessions run June 16 to July 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with early care and late pick-up available. Price is $450 for each session. Visit www.nuttyscientists.com/miami or send email to email@example.com.
ART, ROBOTICS, FASHION DESIGN
Music, art, dance, LEGO®, and crafts are among the classes offered at the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Miami Dade College. Specialty courses are for ages 5 to 17 and are held at the Kendall and North campuses.
Both campuses also offer traditional summer camps for children ages 5 to 11. For classes, times and prices visit www.mdc.edu/summercamps. Prices range from $120 per week to $774, a discounted price for nine weeks.
A free robotics camp for ages 14-18 is open to all public high school students who are interested in STEM. Limited to 50 students with a registration fee of $50. Lunch and snacks included.
The Kendall campus is at 11011 SW 104th St. and the North campus is at 11380 NW 27th Ave. Call the Kendall campus at 305-237-2161 or the North campus at 305-237-1019.
A MAGICAL 25 YEARS
More than 20,000 campers have had fun at the MagiCamp/FunCamps held on the UM campus over the past 25 years.
In addition to MagiCamp, favorites include Jurassicamp, and Space and Rocket Camp and Amazing Science Camp and StarKidz. Camps are for ages 5-14 depending on the session. Check www.funcamps.com to find a new favorite. Or call 305-666-2992. FunCamps are held at the UM in Coral Gables, June 9 to Aug. 15; and Jungle Island, June 9 to Aug. 9.
NOT JUST FOR WOLVERINES
Registration is already open for the Belen Wolverine Summer Camp, 500 SW 127 Ave., open to boys and girls ages 4 to 14. Camp is from June 16 to Aug. 1 and activities are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There’s a registration fee of $100 and the program is limited to 1,000 campers. Price is $1,030 for seven weeks if registered by May 16. After that, it’s $1,105 for seven weeks. Four weeks of camp is $765 and you can opt for weekly camp at $220.
The Summer Camp Parent Open House will be at 10 a.m. June 14. For more, visit www.belensummercamp.org or call 786-621-4610.
The camp is also looking for counselors and lifeguards to join the 2014 summer staff. To apply you must be 15 prior to June 14. Applications are available at www.belenjesuit.org/summercampemployment.
BUG JUICE, WACKY WEATHER, AND DINOS
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science Summer Camp, 3280 S. Miami Ave., always glows with campers in Pre-K to middle school. One-week sessions start June 17 and end Aug. 9. Classes are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $210 per week with a discounted price of $180 for members. Sibling discounts available. Some theme favorites are Journey to Outerspace, CSI:MiamiSci, Kitchen Chemistry and Advanced Rocketry. More is at www.MiamiSci.org or call 305-646-4200.
FOR MATH FANS
Summer sessions at Math Monkey of Pinecrest keep kids engaged when school is out with new skills learned through game-based activities.
Programs are for kids in grades K-12. For times, classes and prices checkout www.mathmonkeymiami.com or call 305-971-6284. Math Monkey of Pinecrest is at 12659 S. Dixie Hwy.
SUMMER PROGRAM GUIDES
If you need even more guidance to find the camp of your child’s dreams, pick up The Children's Trust Summer Programs Guides in Winn-Dixie Stores after April 15. The guide also will be online at www.thechildrentrust.org.
The guides are published in English, Spanish and Creole. The guides have addresses, contact information and a short description of hundreds of summer camps. You can search by zip code to find a camp, whose specialties include reading, science, math, fitness, the arts, marine life, technology and more.