Every summer the Carlisle area is inundated with camps and summer programs. Lucky us! There are plenty of options! Last summer I shared a number of choices in posts about local day camps, playground programs, sports camps, and specialty camps. Many of those same programs will run again this year, and in early April you’ll be able to find a comprehensive list on the Partnership for Better Health website. For those of you who don’t mind a little driving, Shippensburg University just posted its list of 2016 camps, with a lot of fabulous offerings.
Now are you wondering how to choose among all the great offerings around town? We’re here to help! Check out our list of Best Bets in 6 summer camp categories.
- DiscoverE Day Camps at Kings Gap (ages 4-17): Nothing says “nature” like hanging out at a state park. As I mentioned last year, this has been my oldest son’s very favorite camp for four years running, and now he is finally old enough to attend one of the all-day camps for ages 9+! DiscoverE camps get bonus points for being very affordable ($25-$65 for three days).
- New Frontiers Day Camp (ages 8-14): Run by the Carlisle Family YMCA and held at the 100-acre Y’s Men and Women’s Club Farm, this camp is a great all-day option. Weekly themes vary and three weeks of camp programming will focus on “Creek, Pond, Lake” with water activities, canoeing and kayaking, creek walks, and more.
- My Voice Writing Camp (grades 1-8): Run by local teachers for a wide range of ages, this camp is will help kids find their inner writer and develop confidence in the process. As a writer, this has to be on my list of best bets! I remember attending a writing camp as a kid and how fun it was to have an extended opportunity to do some writing in a focused way.
- CALC Summer Art Camp (ages 5-14): Carlisle Arts Learning Center, located on Pomfret Street, offers week-long camps all summer long with themes that range from jewelry-making and clay to painting and improv. Whatever medium your child prefers, you are sure to find it…and maybe something new to try as well!
- School district basketball camps: I had a tough time choosing a best bet among sports camps, because there are just SO many available – just check out last year’s list! I’m nominating the basketball camps run by the local high schools for two reasons. First, they are relatively affordable, compared to sports camps offered at area colleges. Last year most district camps ran $50-90. Second, they offer a great opportunity for kids to start developing a relationship with their district basketball programs. Big Spring, Carlisle, CV, and South Middleton basketball programs all run youth camps for elementary and middle school students.
- CAYS Soccer Camp: CAYS gets big points for being one of the few sports camps open to young kids (ages 4+). The YMCA runs solid programs and this camp is a great opportunity for new players to get their feet wet or for more experienced players to have some fun. The camp will run from July 11-15 this year. Keep an eye on the YMCA website for registration details.
- Camp Invention (grades 1-6): This camp is pricey ($220/week), but it is nationally recognized and highly rated by all of the parents I’ve spoken with about it. It runs most of the day (9:00-3:30) for a full week, which is a bonus. This summer campers will learn about cool things like robotics and circuitry, clean energy and physics, while having opportunities to invent and experiment under the guidance of local teachers.
For Little Ones
- YWCA Preschool Summer Camp (ages 3 – 5): Summer camps for kids who haven’t yet started school are few and far between, but every summer the YW in Carlisle offers a half-day program for preschoolers, Monday through Thursday, and it lasts all summer long! Well, 8 weeks at least! The kids enjoy fun activities built around a weekly theme and have opportunities to develop their social skills. Much like the YW preschool, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the camp from parents; it fills up fast. (Full disclosure: I am on the YWCA Carlisle board.)
- Carlisle Parks & Rec Day Camp: The borough began offering a day camp in 2014 and now Carlisle finally has a really affordable option for families. Like most day camps, the kids enjoy games and crafts, utilizing the gym and other space available at Stuart Community Center. Afternoons are often spent at the Carlisle Community Pool.
These camps were all chosen by the Carlisle Kids founder, based 100% on her own experiences, word-of-mouth, and information available about each program on-line.
Interested in writing for Carlisle Kids? We’re a website by parents, for parents, and we’d love to have you join us! All writing is done on a volunteer basis and no experience is necessary. Send your ideas or questions to Liz at CarlisleKidsPA@gmail.com.