Brownies vs. S'mores and Other Summer Camp Questions

Have you figured out what to do with your kids over the long, hot days of summer? If you haven't, it's time to start weighing your options.


If you’re a parent, though it's only March, you have probably already planned out your kids' summers. You know when school ends, what days they'll go to childcare, and at which pool they’ll be taking their swimming lessons.

But the most important decisions in my house are always about summer camp. And, wow, it seems like Alameda is the center of the universe when it comes to great camps!

On the island, we have , , , and many , too. Sport camps? Yeah, we have that covered, too.

There are great camps at the Oakland and San Francisco zoos, and I have not heard one bad thing about the camps held by Galileo Learning. UC Berkeley is close and has a wide variety of camps and Nike puts on specialty active camps through colleges like Santa Cruz and Stanford.

My favorite camp growing up was an sleep-away camp my parents sent me to when I was about ten. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was for a week, and it’s where I fell hopelessly in love.

His name was Jason Robertson. I remember boys and girls didn’t have many opportunities to fraternize, but he did save his brownie for me after dinner one night and that, at age ten, is the same as getting engaged. 

It’s true. I will give my heart to just about any man who offers me a brownie. But this? This was different.  

Jason Robertson also brought me ice for the swelling when I got stung by a bee UP MY NOSE at the drinking fountain. And, on the last day, he held my hand during the goodbye singalong at the huge fire pit.   

This was true, everlasting love. Taylor Swift would have certainly written a song about it.

The love was everlasting until camp ended, that is, and we all went home and I never spoke to him again. Sigh.

This summer, my eldest daughter is very excited to be attending her second overnight water polo camp. My youngest daughter opted to go to Skylake Camp in Yosemite. This is a more traditional sleep-away camp with canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, etc.

But, be warned, Jason Robertson of Skylake, 2012. This girl isn't a floozy like her mother. She won't take brownies from just any boy. You're going to have to step up your game. Trust me when I say, she'll take nothing less than a s'more. She's quite the heart breaker.

Corey March 23, 2012 at 06:15 PM
And don't forget to mention if your child is a member of an organization like scouts, during the summer they step up and offer great "get-away" adventures. Girl Scouts have day camps and resident (sleep-away) camps locally (Marin County) or in the Sierras! There are interest groups like wing scouts and also science type camps. Boy Scouts also have resident camps that can be attended as individuals and with the whole troop. Troops also plan summer trips to go camping or maybe take a trip south and kayak the islands off the southern CA coast. And don't forget those sea scouts! They pack up their unit boats and head off on adventures too, maybe down the coast or across the bay or up to our own Sacramento Delta. Miles of waterways. Don't forget your Y programs, either. Choices are plenty! Thanks Judy Judy for the memories, I learned to canoe, ride a horse, shoot a bow & arrow, backpack, made short & long term friends, and more at summer camp. (I also learned that my dog could write letters to homesick campers! -- thanks Dad!)
Jennifer Serr March 25, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I spent my summers in Arizona with my Dad and Step Mom (Aka Step Monster). I always HATED the I had to go. I never thought was going to have any fun at all. But I have great memories now - Sewing like there was no tomorrow - or at least no end to the fabric. The evil step monster taught me, by the way and it's also now my main gig (she wasn't so bad after all). Going up onto the roof to watch a) the sunset , b) the dust devil making it's way across town or c) Fireworks. Yeah! Summers spent collecting Sundae boats at the Dairy Queen and then racing them down the gutters after a flash flood. I also got sent down the street to computer camp, but all I remember about that was the fact that it was crazy cool (because of the movie War Games with Mathew Broderick - Sigh) and that there weren't any mice back then ;-). Oh and then there was the time we discovered the pet snake had himself a girlfriend who we thought was a boyfriend. Or the snake preserved in the fridge (Tom Waits music softly in the background at this point). Thanks Judy, for what you bring to our community! and thanks for the shout out above :-) I don't know what Alameda would do with out you!!!


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