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Camp Director Diaries: Urban Adventure, San Francisco

April 2, 2012

Urban Adventure Camps is a one-of-a-kind camp experience designed for city kids who need to explore both who they are and where they live. Each child learns how to navigate through their urban neighborhoods while also pursuing their passions and interests as they relate to an urban childhood. We recently spoke to Mike Dobson, the founder of Urban Adventures to find out more about their unique program offerings and where they come from as a camp.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started the camp

I have attended and worked at a number of camps in my life. My most recent position prior to starting Urban Adventure Camps was running the year round and summer program for Astrocamp, one of the largest outdoor education facilities in California. My wife and I wanted to move closer to family and friends and start our own camp, so we moved to northern California and came up with the idea ofUrban Adventure Camps.

Are there any special lessons or experiences you are trying to provide during the camp? 

Besides just having a great time, we try to give the campers an exciting adventure while increasing their subject knowledge and teaching them how to independently navigate their city.

What surprises/delights the kids (or parents) most about your camp? 

Our camper/instructor ratio. One of our main goals is making sure that each camper feels cared for on an individual basis.  We limit our group sizes to no more than fifteen campers and two adults. This encourages the staff and campers to form bonds that leave the campers feeling valued and excited to return to camp each day.

The flexibility and full days [is another aspect of the program they love]. Campers enjoy our structure because the days are flexible.  We have constraints on departure and return times and we always go to our planned destination; however, we work as a team.  If the group wants to stop and play a game for a little while, or eat lunch a little later because they are enjoying a museum, then that is what we do. On the flip side, if we want to eat earlier or move on from a museum, we pack up and go to the next planned stop.  This keeps our groups moving and doing; there is little down time. When we stop for snacks or lunch, staff usually breaks out games and sports equipment for the group to engage in.

Finally, the ability for parents to feel connected with their camper:  Throughout the day we tweet (post pictures and text on Twitter) our locations and activities. This allows camper’s families to see what they are up to and feel comfortable that their child is safe. It also serves as a great conversation starter once the campers come home.

Anything else you’d like to add?
We are looking forward to having another great summer this year!  We can’t wait to see all of our returning campers and meet all of the new campers.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Urban Adventure Camps, your kids are in for a treat. From teaching practical skills to implementing plenty of fun each day, early bird registrants receive a discount. There are also price reductions for siblings and multiple session registration. So start your summer off right with an urban adventure filled with new friendships and lifelong memories!

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