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Camp Edmo: Sharon Mor and Ed Caballero

March 18, 2010

From time to time, I conduct interviews of camp directors to get their advice for parents. Last week, I spoke to Sharon Mor and Ed Caballero, Founders of Camp Edmo.  Camp Edmo offers science, art and recreation camps and has a great reputation.  Sharon and Ed have been enthusiastic supporters of Sign Up For Camp and have a lot of passion for summer camp, so I really enjoyed my discussion with them.

With so many camps to choose from, any tips on how to pick the right camp for your kids?

That’s a great question. We actually have summer planning workshops to help parents with this. The important thing is to identify tangible outcomes you want to produce for your children over the summer. You may want to look at academic, social skills, physical goals as well as your child’s interests. In choosing camps, you will want to consider all your desired outcomes. For most parents, the ideal is to find a camp that fits most of the outcomes.

Here are some examples of what a parent might want as outcomes for their child:

  • Academic – I’d like to increase my child’s enthusiasm towards science.
  • Social – I’d like my child to improve teamwork skills.
  • Physical – I want to be sure that my child has plenty of running around time.

There are a number of different ways that you may choose to achieve these outcomes. This is also something that we address in our workshops. You can choose multiple specialty camps, each of which addresses a specific outcome you’d like to achieve. Or you can choose camps that will address multiple outcomes in one camp, such as in a hybrid camp like Camp Edmo.

Lastly, you’ll also want to consider the values of the camp? What are they trying to promote? What are kids learning through the program? How structured a program does the camp offer, and what amount of structure is right for your child?

How can parents find the camps to meet these outcomes?

Go to Sign Up For Camp! (editor – thanks!) You can also find camps through word of mouth – talk to parents of kids that are just a bit older than your child. Camp fairs are good resources as well. You’ll actually talk to the people who work in the camp. Be sure to bring your child, so that you can see how the staff interacts with your child.

What questions should parents ask a camp?

  • What are the activities? Make sure they align with outcomes and interests that you are trying to achieve.
  • What staff training does the camp provide? How many hours of training are there? Is there a curriculum that the camp follows?
  • Ask about food options – come camps have lunch options.
  • And, of course, you’ll want to ask about staff to camper ratios and how the camp handles safety issues. If your child has allergies, be sure to ask about how the camp handles allergies as well.

How should you prepare your kids for camp?

Encourage your children to make new friends. It’s fun to go to camp with friends. But it’s an amazing opportunity for your child to find another side of yourself. They can discover new aspects of their personality.

Be excited about them going to camp. The more anxious you are, the more anxious your child will be. And you should be excited about your child going to camp. If you do your research well, there will be no reason to feel anxious. There are many high quality camps in the Bay Area.

What’s unique about Camp Edmo?

Camp Edmo is unique in that your child can explore art, science, and recreation all in one camp. We work with a variety of museum partners to develop strong and unique curriculum. The camp allows kids to explore a variety of areas.

In addition, we encourage the kids to continue the excitement, and what they are doing, outside of camp. We send activities home with the camper so that they may teach the rest of the family what they learned. This both continues the fun and reinforces the learnings.

We offer additional opportunities throughout the school year. We’re advocates for the kids outside of camp. We were able to take the kids in our animation program to Mac World, where they were able to demonstrate their projects and they were interviewed by NBC. We have a film festival for the kids that will be presented with Pixar on April 24th. Kids get to screen their animations and Pixar does a presentation. In addition, campers will participate in National Lemonade Day in May. This emphasizes, art, math, entrepreneurism in a socially conscious way. And in July, we are participating with CNN to put on a kids’ marathon. These are all events that are unique to Edmo.

What other tips would you give parents about camp

Try to send your child to at least two weeks of camp, especially if they are new to camp. The 10 weeks of summer is long, and they’ll have a lot of transitions if they are at a new camp every week. And it can take awhile for some kids to really get into camp. It’ll be a better experience if they are there a little longer.

Be intentional about camp. Your child will spend a full school year’s worth of time in summer camp. It’s worth thinking about what you’d like them to get out of camp.

Sign up early! Take advantage of the discounts. (And Camp Edmo does have a March promotion.)

If your kid loves a camp, see if you squeeze your kid in the next week. Even if a camp is sold out, if your child loves the camp, a camp director can sometimes work miracles.

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