Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Meeting Notes: Spring Break and Summer Camps!

Special thanks to CityMamas Sandra Wood and Andrea Matthiessen and Portland Park &; Recreation's Joan Hallquist for facilitating today's discussion on Spring Break/Summer Camps!

Before our meeting, we quickly discussed events/film suggestions for the City's Women's History Month (March 2011) Planning Committee, which Lora had offered to take to the CityMamas group.  The theme is: Our Women Making History, and the focus will be on local women.  If you have any suggestions in this vein (especially with a local mom bend), want to know more, or have any questions, please email Lora.

Also, we are taking suggestions/recommendations for topics in the upcoming meetings!  Some suggestions to date have included:
  • Part-time/flex-time rules, experiences, perhaps with COPPEA, DCTU, other unions and Moms who have some experiences navigating this world
  • Buddy system for New Moms
  • How to talk to your children about sex/stranger danger
  • How to talk to your children about bereavement/loss 
  • Kindergarten Roundup Update
If any of these are at cost, would the group be willing to pay $5-10/per person?  Lora will check on DEEP funding.  Please send any other suggestions/recommendations to your co-chairs: Lora, Courtney, Darcy.

Joan, from Parks:
Portland Parks & Recreation offers many camps for all ages!  For the older kids (teenagers), Junior Leaders is a great way to build community service hours and learn to be a leader!  Also, they can enroll in becoming a Junior Lifeguard to teach swim classes.  Highly recommended by Joan, who is the mother to a teenage daughter herself.

Year-round opportunities are on all PPR "Sites" (go to the website above, click on "Find a Park" and click the "Community Center" button to find the site near you.  Other sites include Multnomah Art, Environmental Community Center, and Community Music Center.  Many of the camps also interface with OMSI, the zoo, and pools.

Note: The Portland Parks summer schedule comes out on the 2nd Monday in April (unfortunately, several months after many of the private camps open registration and consequently become full).  Call your specific site NOW if you are interested in a certain program, especially to find out if there's a wait list for pre-school, as these fill up the fastest.

Also, check out PPR's Summer Free-for-All, which includes concerts and movies in the park, the playground program, and the mobile program - all free, and many include lunches (for 18 and under - parents are on their own).

Sandra and Andrea: 
  • Plan your summer according to WHEN you need care (about 11 weeks of summer).  Figure out start and end dates, plus your vacation weeks.
  • Plan vacations along the traditional weeks (Sunday - Saturday), because most camps are offered Monday - Friday.  This way, you don't have to pay for camps that your child won't be attending completely.
  • Talk to other parents to coordinate your child's camp with friends (camp can be scarier than daycare or school - lots of unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar routine)
  • Consider if the camp has a before or after camp program since most camps are 9-3
  • In planning, think about commute
  • Give your kids a choice in camps?  Allow them to pick from choices of camps that are convenient to get to, in your budget, etc.  Ask if there were any camps from last year that they didn't like
  • Recommend scheduling your summer so that you have some "down time".  Don't overschedule vacations and camps every other week. 
  • Put together a matrix - chart your schedule.  This can include:
    • Location
    • Cost
    • Before/After care? Times
    • Available ages
    • What friends can also attend camp - carpool?
    • Phone number of camps
  • Register early.  (Andrea usually has the summer scheduled by end of March - which makes the earlier point about PPR's schedule coming out as late as April difficult.)
  • Start your child in camp as early as before kindergarten (that way, if they are still in daycare and don't like camp, they can always return to daycare - also a good transition before kindergarten)
  • Sandra organized a "girl camp" one week for her daughter and two other friends (3 kids seemed a manageable number).  Each parent took a day off to spend with the girls, and they had "unscheduled" time.  Less expensive and less scheduled.  Recommends this once in the summer.
  • CityKids will allow kids throughout summer, as long as they are under 6
  • Recommended, tried camps among Moms present:
  • Many of these camps are open now!  Check them out.
  • What about cost of camps?  Portland Parks ~ 150/week.  Other private camps can cost up to $300/week
  • MetroKids comes out with Summer Camp guide March 2010  - last year's edition is not online anymore :(
Other suggestions?  Comments?

1 comment:

  1. New update from Andrea on Trackers Camp:

    Spring Break Camps Super early bird discount of 18% off ends February 4. Camps on archery, blacksmithing, wilderness survival, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ghost Detectives, paintball, School of Magic and more.

    Featured Summer Camps Early bird discount of 12% ends February 15...
    Ages 6-10 School Bus Time Machine Hop aboard our School Bus Time machine to explore Portland's past and stop the Time Witch from unraveling history and the entire space time continuum.