From June 6, when Vista schools get out, to August 28, when Carlsbad students start again, school kids all over North County will be running amok, or else busily engaged in some of the many stimulating summer activities offered locally by public and private organizations.
Kids can participate through their local parks and recreation departments in day camps, junior lifeguards, camps for special interests such as acting, dance, computers, Legos, and arts and crafts, as well as many sports.
- Carlsbad Parks and Recreation
- Encinitas Parks and Recreation
- San Marcos Parks and Recreation
- Oceanside Parks
- Solana Beach City Services
- Vista Parks Department
The YMCAs of North County offer a dizzying array of day camps and sleep-away camps for all interests. Some highlights include overnight camps focusing on horseback riding or surfing, camps for cheer and tumbling and for baking, and even camps for the budding performer, such as Glee camp and Comedy Sports.
For the more serious minded, academic enrichment camps and classes are available through the Carlsbad Educational Foundation (with plenty of fun and frivolous options as well), and through UCSD. The camps available through UCSD vary from kid fun to serious academic preparation in the sciences, with specialty options in theater at La Jolla Playhouse, writing with the San Diego Area Writing Project, and sea animals at the Birch Aquarium.
For the animal loving child, the five-day camps at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park also offer animal encounters and behind the scenes experiences. Kids get to enjoy shows and games as well.
For parents looking to motivate their child to read when not at a camp or activity, Barnes and Noble entices kids to earn a free book by keeping a reading log over the summer and racking up the pages. Scholastic offers an online version of this incentive, adding a clever “world record” challenge for minutes of reading. County library branches in Cardiff, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, and Vista offer summer reading programs with incentives and fun activities. Kids can also attend special events such as story times, arts & crafts, movie days, video game tournaments, and battle of the bands at the libraries generally for free. City libraries such as Dove and Cole libraries in Carlsbad also offer fun, social events connected to reading and sharing interests.
Teens aren’t too old to have fun this summer, too, while honing skills in leadership, organization, punctuality, and responsibility. Many of the programs that are geared towards the younger ages employ teens as counselors or mentors, such as the YMCA Leader-in-training program. Teens entering grades 8th-10th can participate in a one-week training camp in which they learn group skills, games, public speaking, First Aid and CPR, and basics of child development. After the training, the L.I.Ts can sign up for “fieldwork” to assist the leaders at one of the many kids’ camps ranging from skate camp to cooking.
County libraries extend teens the opportunity to get involved by helping organize events, write book reviews, and have other input. Valuable community service hours can be earned through these programs.
Whether the kids are out having fun on the beaches, skate ramps, ball fields, college campuses, or library carpets this summer, if they are involved in any of the many quality offerings for kids around North County the summer, the time will fly by – for child and parent. And those lazy, hazy days that are left unstructured, between camps or classes, will feel just that much sweeter as well.