Summer Camps with Flexible Schedules
The traditional summer day camp scheduling requires planning on a weekly basis. Most camps are priced per week, and there are many that require multiple weeks. But family life does not always correspond to this standard schedule! Have you ever had a vacation that started mid-week and found yourself in a fix for child-care for two or three days? How about parents who work part-time and would like to have their kids attend camp for just 3 or 4 days, and use the other weekdays to do their own fun summer things with the kids? Sometimes we even need drop-in care when there’s an unplanned day we need to work.
Luckily, camps are starting to respond to this need for more flexible scheduling. Below are a few examples of Bay Area and Delaware Valley camps which offer more options than just weekly registration. A couple are so flexible you could actually drop your child off at the last minute for a day of camp. Most require some pre-paid days, registration, and/or some notice so they make sure the camp is properly staffed. At a few camps the one-day registration process may not be very clear on their website, so don’t hesitate to call them for help. (We find summer camp folks to be pretty friendly!) So read the fine print and do the leg-work ahead of time if you think you might need to take advantage of one of these camps.
Bay Area Flexible Camps
Three locations in Marin, plus now three convenient pick-up locations in San Francisco, provides many Camp Doodle options. Register for any number of weeks ($300 per week before 6/1) or days ($75 per day). Their whole-summer option is $1800, plus a bit more for extended care. Optional hot lunch is available for purchase at all locations. Camp day runs from 9:00am – 3:30pm, with earlier/later pick-up/drop-off from San Francisco.
Kids Outdoor Club
This camp meets in Speedway Meadow of Golden Gate Park, but travels within the park and elsewhere in the city. There’s a 5-day punch-card option ($425) which you can use any time during the summer on a drop-in basis. Full day camp runs from 9am – 5pm, with an extended day option. There’s also a punch card for their half-day program (9:00-1:30) for a bit less ($325). Once you have the punch card you can drop-in any day without advanced notice. Note: There’s a punch card discount of 10% through May 30th.
Andy Harader Tennis
This camp in Palo Alto, for kids 7-16, has a daily rate of $70 available. You can register in advance on their website to let them know the dates you are planning to attend. This sounds like a perfect option if you have another full week of tennis camp and want to add on a few more days for extra practice. Camp is half-day only, 9am – 12pm.
Steve and Kate’s Camp
With 19 Northern CA locations, Steve and Kate’s sets the bar for maximum flexibility. They’ve been going strong since 1980 and have the logistics down pat. You can buy any number of days ($75 per day) and use them anytime at any location. Unused days are fully refunded automatically. Alternatively, the “20-Day Bundle” is just enough to get in the groove and is a great deal at $1200 ($60 per day). But the best value of all is the All Summer Membership at $2100. (This is less than $50 per day, if you take full advantage.) Camps are open from 7:30am – 6pm and include all lunches, snacks and drinks. (And the food sounds fantastic BTW.)
The Dancing Paintbrush in Berkeley provides lessons on color theory and famous artists in art history, go on field trips, and host special guests to spark the creative process. They encourage individual exploration of personal themes and interests and value working together and sharing ideas. Drop-in students are welcome at the rate of $75/day on a space available basis. Please contact them at least 24 hours in advance to see if space is available. There are no drop-ins on Field Trip days.
Sticky Camp fills the mornings with a structured art or craft project (with local artists whenever possible), then in the afternoon the kids get to design their own project ideas. It’s a perfect combination of focused skill-building, then self-directed learning. Partial weeks, 2-day minimum at $60 per day.
Delaware Valley Flexible Camps
Club La Maison
Club La Maison in Wayne, PA, is swim camp plus much more for children ages 3-10 years old. They offer a traditional 5 day week, plus T/Th or M/W/F options. Half-days or extended care are also available.
For the summer of 2012, will be offering camps in Tennis, Golf, Culinary Arts, Robotics, Video Game Design, Performing Arts (theater and acting), Filmmaking, and Salon Services. Lavner Camps is known for their very flexible sign up options; camps open on June 18th and many run until August 31. Campers may sign up for a week or multiple weeks, including half day and partial week options.