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Happy Campers! Tips for Entertaining Your Kids this Summer

The Coronado Moms Council’s guide to summer camps in town and beyond.

If you’re worried about how to keep your kids busy and active this summer, fret not. Sign them up for camp. Enrollment is already open for most summer camps in Coronado and beyond.

Feeling overwhelmed by the choices? Unsure if certain classes are the right fit for your kids? Want to take advantage of the activities offered for military families?

Read our Coronado Moms Council's comments for firsthand suggestions and tips. Click on any link to visit a camp’s website. Or scroll to the bottom of the page for camp details and contact information.

For Coronado camps, click here. Also see the Coronado Recreation Department’s . 

Note: One of our mom's tips is to enroll early. Word on the street is these classes fill up quickly!

Tonia Accetta: My son used to love Camp Coronado with his local friends and has made some lifelong international friendships from attending year after year. He has also had some great experiences with baseball camps and Coronado's Junior Lifeguard program. All of these camps included many of his friends, but my daughter is happier to attend a camp designed for her that does not involve any friends tagging along. One of her favorites has been Zoo Camp at the San Diego Zoo. She has attended for about five years in a row, as each grade level focuses on a different area at the zoo. It does help to ask around and carpool with the parents that have also signed up their kids for that same week, even if they are different age groups, as it will help with the drop-off and pickup. My daughter also loves the Girl Scout camps with her top pick being the “Cool Skates.” This camp meets at Balboa Girl Scouts council for drop-off and pickup, and the girls are bussed up to Mira Mesa Boulevard, where they have skate lessons at the San Diego Ice Arena followed by a free skate. You do not have to be a Girl Scout to enjoy these camps, and they have everything from one-day horse camps to weeklong resident camps that are all well-organized. 

This year we are looking for , so if anyone has tried a good one I would love to hear about it. Enjoy your summer!

Morgan Benzian: This summer I don't plan on scheduling much for my 3-year old. I'm actually looking forward to having an open schedule so we can enjoy some time together. I miss her! If I find that both of us need an outside activity, then I plan on enrolling her in some of the classes offered at . I sent her to "playschool" there before she started preschool, and we both had a very positive experience. I love Brittani and her staff, and my daughter really enjoyed her time there. The classes are just long enough for both of us to have a break without sacrificing an entire day to anything. 

Tam Dorow: Summer camps are a great opportunity for kids to learn new skills or hone a specific skill set, explore different activities and make new friends, all with no pressures. And if you find you don't like this week's camp, it's OK, because it will be over soon. It's like the best part of dating—the falling in love, with all the excitement and anticipation, but it doesn't last long enough to get bored or cause heartaches.

So many camps, so little time. We have not done overnight camps, because as parents we are not ready. Our kids do not know that option exists. My daughter can take them or leave them. But my son enjoys summer camps. He's been to a lot of them, averaging about eight camps per summer. I don't think he's ever said, "I don't want to do that camp again."

Some of his favorites are:

University of San Diego Baseball Camp. The organizers really target baseball lovers, teaching them the fundamentals of baseball in addition to some basic character building. The counselors remember each kid’s name from one year to the next. The kids enjoy the beautiful campus and dormitory food. I know it's weird, but boys like eating in the cafeteria. The staff is very professional and organized. I always feel safe and confident leaving my son with them.

Coronado Recreation Center Skate Camp. The guys running this camp and the skate park are super people. They are fun, but also very caring and cautious when it comes to the kids' safety. I was pleasantly surprised when I first took my son there. They are especially careful with the younger kids. They give them room to push to the limit of their abilities in the skate park, but also escort them to the restroom to make sure they are safe. Campers go to a different San Diego skate park each day, it's like a field trip wrapped around skateboarding. The kids like the van ride as much as the different sites.

Sea World Adventure Camp. Each week's activities are centered around a theme. Campers spend the morning going behind the scenes to see the work the trainers do and interact with the animals. Then you can go home if you are half-day. If you stay for the afternoon, you get to hang out at Sea World with your friends. There's also one day of kayaking or snorkeling in Mission Bay, depending on your age group. Sea World is a beautiful park with a gorgeous setting. People come from all over the country to go to Sea World, and we have it in our backyard. It's a great opportunity for San Diegans.

Lynette Penn: Though our kids have utilized what our amazing summer programs have to offer, being a military family, there are options for summer camps through programs that support the military. The most widely known, and yet still somewhat of a secret, is the National Military Family Association, or NMFA—because everything military must have an acronym!  

NMFA offers the Operation Purple Program, which started with traditional summer camps, but now “includes teen leadership programs, family retreats, overseas day clinics, and camps for families of the wounded. The goal is simple: help kids and families know they serve too!" 

In addition, Coronado military housing communities on the Strand, Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Amphibious Base are run by Lincoln Military Housing. They have numerous community events that involve our children and families. Not so much "camps" per se, but good fun for the family. 

Another fabulous resource for military families is the Armed Services YMCA. This group of dedicated people provides a wide range of activities for military families, with summer camps, tickets to local San Diego attractions and more. 

We have participated in each of these programs, and the kids enjoyed each experience. They were able to meet, bond and get to know kids in their own community better, as well as other military children who know and endure the same difficulties of having a parent in the armed forces. 

Suzette Valle: Summer in Coronado can be paradise for kids and parents. Day camps are plentiful, and there’s one practically for every age group, skill set and interest. Though our kids are now over the age limit for camps (they have to get summer jobs now, boo!), they participated in the gamut of activities summers in Coronado have to offer.

We took full advantage of the beautiful waterside setting of the Recreation Center’s Camp Coronado, starting with the weeklong themed activities camp all the way through the Junior Lifeguard program, which takes place at Coronado beach – chosen as one of the 10 Best Beaches in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine!

Another wonderful campsite is the Southwestern College Aquatics Center by Strand State Beach. One of their favorites was Sea Camp where they learn how to sail, kayak and canoe. This was a real hands-on camp, which culminated with a long trip out to the Coronado Bridge and back, and finished with a picnic at the Coronado Cays bayside natural reserve park. 

To hone their sports skills, our kids also joined several sports camps. They started with the Mini-Hawks and moved on to more challenging summer programs on and off the island. Our son particularly enjoyed The Summer Youth Golf camps offered at the lush . By the way, if you enroll in this year’s program, you might have him as one of your camp instructors!

Our daughter participated in a sleep-away camp at the University of San Diego. USD offers softball camps directed by their college softball staff. Campers stay in the dorms and eat at the college cafeteria. (My daughter reported the food was exceptionally good there!) Additional hour-long sessions can be added on each day, specifically for pitchers and catchers, which costs a little extra.

For those interested in Coronado camps, one thing I learned early on is that you need to enroll your children as soon as you receive the City of Coronado Recreation Services brochure in the mail! Camps get full rather quickly, especially the popular Junior Lifeguard program, and the wait lists can be long. However, don’t despair if your child ends up on a wait list. We did, and most of the time, they got into the camp they wanted. There are kids who don’t show up or have unplanned vacations, which frees up quite a few spots! 

Another convenience for parents is the before-and-after care offered by the Rec Center's Camp Coronado.

We fondly remember the six-hour days our kids spent in the cold ocean water, on the hot white sand beaches, cool green grass and under the bright sunshine of our Emerald Isle. Our young campers would come home completely exhausted, but full of stories and newly acquired skills … which made for a houseful of true happy campers!

Contact and Registration Information:

San Diego Zoo Summer Camp, age 2-17, prices range from $40 for half-day to $80 for full-day. Dates and times vary. Register online or call 619-718-3000.

Sea World Adventure Camp, Sea World San Diego, grades K-9, one-week sessions begin June 20 and end Aug. 15, prices range from $140 to $295 depending on grade level. Register online.

University of San Diego Sports Camps. Costs and schedules vary. Visit the website or call 619-260-2999 for more information.

Girl Scouts Day Camps, prices range from $134 to $269, dates vary. Register online or call 619-298-8391.

Golf Camp, Coronado Municipal Golf Course, ages 6-13, four-day sessions begin June 22 and end Aug. 22, price is $85 per week. Call Mark at 858-705-0641 for more info.

My Learning Playhouse, 1107 Eighth Street in Coronado, ages 2-6. Visit the website for class schedules or call 619-818-6538.  

For the below Coronado Camps, call the at 619-522-7342 to get your ID and PIN. Then register online, by clicking here.

Camp Coronado, Glorietta Bay Park, ages 5-12, one-week sessions begin June 6 and end Aug. 19, prices range from $115 (4 days only) for Coronado residents to $150 for non-residents.

Before & After Care at Camp Coronado, Glorietta Bay Park, ages 5-12, cost is $40 per week or $32 for four days only.  

Mini-Hawks, Coronado Cays Park, ages 4-7, one-week sessions begin June 27 and end Aug. 5, prices range from $112 (4 days only) for Coronado residents to $150 for non-residents.

Skate Camp, Tidelands Park, ages 8-13, one-week sessions start June 13, July 11 and Aug.8, prices range from $225 for residents to $235 for non-residents. Call 619-522-2459 for more info.

Sea Camp, Crown Cove Aquatics Center at Silver Strand State Beach, ages 8-14, one-week sessions begin July 11 and end Aug. 8, prices range from $205 for residents to $215 for non-residents.

Junior Lifeguards, Coronado Aquatics Pool, ages 9-17, four-week sessions begin June 20 and end Aug. 12, prices range from $275 for residents to $350 for non-residents. Swim test required. Call 619-522-2629 for more information.

To learn more about our moms, .

Kevin Waldick May 06, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Be sure to check out The Watersports Camp that is hosted by SDSU and UCSD at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. They offer all kinds of watersports camps from wakeboarding to marine science. www.watersportscamp.com

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