One Martial Arts Day Camp: Brannon Beliso
From time to time, Sign Up For Camp conducts interviews with camp directors to collect advice for parents looking for unique experiences for their kids. We recently exchanged emails with Brannon Beliso, owner of One Martial Arts Day Camp in San Francisco. Brannon has been studying the martial arts and instructing children for over 43 years. His life-long love of the martial arts, and how it helps people live their best life, was his inspiration for starting One Martial Arts some eleven years ago.
With so many camps available, how can parents find the right camp for their child?
Parents can find the right camp for their child if they clearly define what their goals are beyond the obvious: fun, safety and learning. Is it academic, physical, creative etc.? Take the time to visit the facility, interview the staff, and review the curriculum.
I’m a big believer in referrals from other parents and reviews I read on reputable websites to help me choose the right camp.
Any specific advice on selecting a martial arts camp?
My advice on selecting a great martial arts camp should be based the upon the following:
- They should have an experienced martial arts instructional staff.
- They should offer a life skills education and character development component.
- They should offer “Child Safety, Stranger Awareness and Bully Prevention” workshops.
- A designated space should be provided specifically for the campers to eat lunch, do arts and crafts etc. that is not shared with the regular martial arts classes and students.
- The martial arts curriculum should be balanced with traditional day camp activities, field trips and outdoor activities.
- They should provide early drop off (7:30am) and late pick up (6pm) at no extra charge.
What questions should a parent ask a camp?
As a parent, I ask the questions that make me feel confident the camp I enroll my child in will make sure the child is safe, has fun, is challenged and learns.
Is everyone CPR certified? What is the camper to counselor ratio? What is the age of the counselors and their experience?
Consider asking if parents are involved in running the camp. I personally appreciate when there are parents involved because I believe they make “Parent choices.” I trust this being a parent.
Some kids attend as many as 10 weeks of summer camp. The summer can seem long. Any tips on preventing camp burn-out?
The most obvious tip to prevent burnout is to attend a variety of camps. If I enroll my child in a variety of camps, he won’t get burnt out on any single one.
However, one challenge with attending too many camps is there isn’t enough of an investment, time wise, to build trust in the camp, especially with the staff. The second challenge is my child never really develops any connections and is constantly trying to make new friends.
I make sure my child attends at least three weeks of any one camp. I believe this offers him the opportunity to make some friends. I also believe it gives him enough time to begin to learn a skill, such as basketball or the martial arts, which in turn can build his confidence.
I also schedule a few weeks of vacation time during the summer to spend quality time with my son. I schedule his camps in intervals with my vacation time to help reduce potential burnout.
How should parents help kids prepare for camp?
Communication is number one. Talk to your kids about what types of camps they’d like to attend as well as the ones you feel they’d benefit from.
Do your homework by gathering information about the various camps and schedule visits for you and your child to tour the facility to help orient them beforehand.
Tell us what is special about One Martial Arts Day Camp.
We genuinely believe the purpose of the One Martial Arts Day Camp is to best serve you and your child. Our number one priority is to provide a safe and fun environment.
We are passionate about life skills education and character development such as focus, teamwork and confidence. They are integrated into the martial arts and traditional day camp activities we offer. I’m dedicated to helping children be their best at home, school and in life through the martial arts, life skills education and character development.
We believe this unique environment insures your child has lots of fun but stays sharp over the summer, grows as an individual and learns the benefits of always doing their best.
We offer early drop off (7:30am) and late pick up (6pm) at no extra charge. That’s right, it’s absolutely free. We find our working parents love this added value.
We have earned Parents Connect and Bay Area Parent Magazine “BEST Day Camp” for 6 years in a row. Please feel free to check out our reviews at Yelp and other sites. I mention this only because anyone can toot his or her own horn. I believe it really says something about a camp when it comes straight from the parents and kids who attend.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Make sure to sign up for camps early. We start booking reservations as early as January for our summer camps. This is common for most reputable camps. Also by booking early, most camps, like ours, offer considerable discounts. Booking early also allows you more options and better rates. The only disadvantage is that many camps will not give you a refund should you have to cancel.