Circus Center’s summer camp, which typically teaches acrobatics, stunts and tumbling inside a gym, is shifting to an outdoor-indoor program this year. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)

Circus Center’s summer camp, which typically teaches acrobatics, stunts and tumbling inside a gym, is shifting to an outdoor-indoor program this year. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)

Kids camps open up for summer fun, learning

Programs especially welcome following year of being shut in

With spring here and the end of the school year approaching, parents are looking forward to summer camps to give their children academic enrichment, social interaction and the chance to get out of the house after enduring a year’s worth of online learning.

“I’m feeling over-the-moon excited about the possibility of summer camp,” said Stacey Palevsky-Lewis, a San Francisco parent. “We kept our first-grader home last summer from everything and he’s been distance learning since last March, so I am ready for him to be back in the world, playing and having fun.”

The City’s COVID-19 reopening plan gives summer camps and extracurriculars the green light to run in-person programs that must be at least three weeks long, have a maximum of 14 children and require parents, counselors and children older than 10 to wear face coverings.

Camp leaders are eager to kick off plans, too, as Phase 1B of California’s vaccine plan allows counselors, considered employees of children’s recreation programs, to get vaccinated.

“I’m just really excited to have kids back in person and be able to see them, having a good time,” said Juliet Reingold, local director of Steve & Kate’s Camp in Noe Valley. “Summer camp is always a really special time and I’m just excited to give that back to the kids.”

The camp, made for kids ages 4-12, offers activities including sewing, performance, coding or a mix of options presented in interest-based “squads.” There’s also virtual performances from magicians, reptile shows and other acts. And while the mix of online and in-person things to do is new to her team, Reingold says beloved traditions are not.

“Summer camp and new social activities for kids are still important, and the importance of youth programs and summer camp hasn’t changed because of the pandemic,” Reingold said. “Those same reasons that people have sent their kids to camp for so many years still exist and are going to continue to exist as long as camp is around.”

Divyata Griggs, center director of Mathnasium of Pacific Heights SF, says her program — both in-person and virtual, covering math, logic, STEM games and more — gives kids a chance to work on math face-to-face after what she calls the “COVID-19 slide.” Kids typically lose some skills during summer, because they’re out of practice, but deficiencies she’s seen this year are greater than ever.

“If those learning losses are not addressed, then there is a very serious risk of them falling behind in math. Math is especially difficult because it builds upon itself in layers,” Griggs said. “The concepts get more complex as each grade level goes, and the fundamental concepts are critical for their success in higher grades,” she said, adding, “As The City’s numbers are improving, we are getting a lot of calls from parents asking to come back because kids are tired of online learning. They want to interact with the instructors in person and learn.”

Circus Center’s camp focuses on fun, not academics. Kids are encouraged to get goofy and burn off pent-up energy as they learn to juggle, tumble and stilt walk with circus professionals.

“One of my favorite things about circus is that it is a wide door, in that anybody can come in and kind of find something that suits them,” said Barry Kendall, executive director of Circus Center.

The camp plans to run partially inside, where kids can have access to rigged aerial equipment, a trapeze rig and tumbling mats, and partially outside, where they can play circus-related games. Kendall says that following COVID safety protocols while providing a safe place to practice means that stunts needing a spotter may be limited.

“In the heat of the moment, if it’s the choice between a child safety, and getting a little closer than the health order says is OK, we’re going to get closer in order to protect the child’s safety,” Kendall said. “But we want to think ahead before we get into that point, to try to make sure that we’re planning our activities so that we can try to stay safe always.”

Kendall, a parent, knows there will be a high demand for summer camp, given the need for smaller group sizes and kids have spent the year indoors. Circus Center’s first week already has a waiting list.

“I’ve got a 7-year-old, and she’s dying to get out of the house,” Kendall said. “That’s gonna be our chance, you know, to give them some sense of normalcy, even if things haven’t all gotten all the way back to normal for the rest of us.”

More city summer camp opportunities with various focuses, from art to athletics, are featured here.

San Franciscosan francisco newssummer

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

Circus Center’s summer Camp, which typically teaches acrobatics, stunts and tumbling inside a gym, is shifting to an outdoor-indoor program this year. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)

Circus Center’s summer Camp, which typically teaches acrobatics, stunts and tumbling inside a gym, is shifting to an outdoor-indoor program this year. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)

Just Posted

Police seized ghost guns and other firearm manufacturing items while executing a warrant in February (Courtesy SFPD)
Ghost guns linked to rise in SF shootings as numbers jump

San Francisco police are seizing an increasingly alarming number of untraceable firearms,… Continue reading

Students walk around campus near the Cesar Chavez Student Center at San Francisco State University. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
California’s massive UC and Cal State systems plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

Nina Agrawal, Teresa Watanabe, Colleen Shalby Los Angeles Times The University of… Continue reading

From left, Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Kay Kerr started launched one of the country’s first environmental movements. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Former California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, left, shown here in 2015, has been chosen by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state’s new attorney general. Bonta was confirmed Thursday. State Sen. Ed Hernandez is at right. (Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Rob Bonta is confirmed as California attorney general

Patrick McGreevy Los Angeles Times The state Legislature confirmed Democratic Assemblyman Rob… Continue reading

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101, including Park Presidio Boulevard, to keep traffic flowing as The City reopens. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Most Read