GETTING READY FOR SUMMER FUN
article by Holly Mar-Conte | Childcare Sector Strategist for Onward Eugene
As the days grow longer and warmer, parents across Lane County start turning their attention to summer plans. And by summer plans, we mean cobbling together child care for school age children. With a confusing amount of information and processes, different deadlines, and slots that vanish in minutes, we’ve rounded up a few helpful resources and asked parents on staff at the Eugene Chamber/Onward Eugene what camps their families love.
Summer Day-Camps for School Age Kids:
Oregon Family Magazine has a directory of summer camps in their March issue that is a great starting point. It lists the camp contact information, ages served and main camp activities (i.e. Math/Science, Language Arts, Arts & Crafts, Sports, etc).
“Our family has had great experiences at Nearby Nature and we love that the kids spend their days outside – hiking, skipping rocks in the river, and doing nature-based activities,” says Holly Mar-Conte, Child Care Sector Strategist, noting that the camp also has regular no-school day options and that the waitlist often seems to move pretty quickly. Learn more at www.nearbynature.org, sessions are full but they’re keeping a waitlist and trying to open more sessions.
One of her son’s favorite camps is the LEGO-themed camp at Bricks and Minifigs. Sessions are led by trained Play-Well instructors and include weekly themes involving Star Wars, Minecraft, and robotics (and more!). Sessions run from 11am-2pm or 3pm-6pm and registration is open now at Summer Camps – Bricks & Minifigs Eugene (bricksandminifigseugene.com).
Continuing on with more ideas for creative kids, Maude Kerns Art Center has a series of summer camps designed to foster kids’ love of art. Classes are currently full, but the waitlists are open.
Samantha Roberts, Director of Marketing and Communication at the Eugene Chamber is planning to enroll her son in the Boys and Girls Club summer camp. She says, “I can’t wait for my kids to experience the joy I did at the Boys and Girls Club – from the games, to life skills development, to new friends – it feels great to have this resource in our community.”
We consistently hear from parents that the Eugene YMCA’s summer camps are popular with kids, particularly for their weekly field trips to parks and museums around town. And, the bonus is that you can sign up for both summer camps AND after school care for next school year at the same time. Registration opens at 6:30am on May 1st.
Kids Entering Kindergarten:Elevation Bouldering Gym offers half-day rock-climbing camps that are also a kid-favorite. They tend to open registration closer to the end of the school year.
For kids entering kindergarten in the fall, many school districts offer the Kids In Transition to School program, which helps kids hone skills that will help them ease into the kindergarten classroom (e.g. sharing, taking turns, following simple instructions, etc). To learn more, visit Home – KITS (kidsintransitiontoschool.org) or contact your school district/elementary school.
Activities and Family Fun:
The Early Childhood Hub of Lane County has compiled both a list of family fun activities and resources, as well as keeps an up-to-date calendar of family friendly activities and events in the community.
Whatever your path to fun, sun, and child care, our region has some pretty remarkable resources – and we’ve just scratched the surface! Whatever you do, make sure to pause long enough to enjoy the giggles and sunshine that come along with kids and summertime.
For more information, please reach out to Holly Mar-Conte, Childcare Sector Strategist for Onward Eugene, at firstname.lastname@example.org.