Thank you to Steve & Kate’s Summer Camp for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions expressed are my own.
Imagine a summer camp where kids get to choose when and how to spend their time. No agenda, no strict schedules. Total freedom to participate in the activities that interest them most. Maybe this morning it’ll be bread making, then learning to code in the afternoon. Tomorrow can be all about sewing a pair of jeans, or taking a dance class.
In a sea of schedules and off-campus field trips, Steve and Kate’s Camp was the most impressive I came across.
Except I wasn’t completely sold from the start. Not yet. “Are the kids even supervised?” I had asked my husband when he told me about Steve & Kate’s Camp. With all the freedom and choice, I imagined a summer camp overrun with a bunch of wild kids.
But after learning the camp’s philosophy and attending an orientation, I was hooked. Yes, the camp has a schedule, such as the morning huddle and a late afternoon game show. Lunch—which the camp provides—is in the middle of the day.
But in between, kids choose their own activities instead of doing things adults tell them to do. From their website:
Instead of a rigid structure, we give our campers choice. Instead of teaching kids the typical way, we give them tools and gentle guidance to help them become autodidacts. The difference is subtle–and it’s profound.
You see, I’m a huge fan of open-ended play. The kind you see at home where your kids get to decide what and how they want to play or create. Child-directed activities where we follow their lead instead of the other way around. And lots of downtime to tinker and play based on their interests.
Steve & Kate’s Camp practices the same values I hold about play and creativity. That children reach their potential when they’re given the choice to pursue those interests.
My son enjoyed bread making, dance, music and playing with his friends on the playground. Other “studios” include style (where kids can make clothes), film and coding. And every week, the camp offers “specials,” such as laser tag, obstacle courses or go-carts.
And yes, the staff supervises children throughout the day. Campuses are crawling with staffers who communicate with one another through an earpiece. A typical pick up involved me checking in at the front door and seeing my child head over within a minute.
Speaking of the staff, I love the Steve & Kate’s staff. They hail from cream of the crop collegiate campuses like Stanford, Yale and the UCs. They’re respectful and kind, helping children enjoy camp and make friends. Each site also includes a camp director who oversees all the activities and staff.
Common questions about Steve and Kate’s summer camp:
Where are Steve & Kate’s camps located?
Steve & Kate’s is nationwide. Enter your zip code to find one near you. The coolest part? Passes and membership are good for any location. So let’s say you have one by your house, but for about a week, you have meetings in another city. Your child can attend the one in another city as easily as he does the one by your house.
Do I have to pack or pay for lunch?
No, lunch is included in the day passes and membership. And we’re talking a real lunch here, no brown bag stuff. Global cuisine, street food, and meals like quinoa meatball sandwiches. All lunches are a balanced meal in themselves, and snacks are included as well. A typical snack table includes pretzels, bananas, peaches and apples.
What are the camp hours?
Camp is open from 7:30am to 6pm. One of my favorite parts about Steve & Kate’s Camp is they don’t take kids on field trips. I don’t want my son out on the road three or more times a week. Plus, I can pick him up any time without waiting for a bus to come back. At Steve & Kate’s Camp, you can drop off and pick up your kids any time between their opening and closing hours.
How much are the fees?
Pass prices come in tiers and can differ by location. You can get one-day, 5+ days, 20+ days, or a whole summer membership. Any unused day passes will be instantly refunded.
What ages does the camp accept?
Steve & Kate’s Camp accepts Pre-K to seventh grade kids. All kids must be four-years-old by their first day of camp and not have designated nap times. Young campers are also part of Launchpad. They’ll have a dedicated staff to help them make friends and choose activities.
By now, I’m sure you know I’m a huge fan of the camp. After 36 years of running summer camps for kids, Steve & Kate’s Camp knows what they’re doing. And they’re always thinking of new ways to make summer camp even better.
Summer is fast approaching. Check out their website and find a camp near you. Give your children the choice to pursue their passions in a camp that conforms to them, not the other way around.
Tell me in the comments: Which activities—sports, playground, music, style, breadmaking, film, dance, coding, or reading room—would your child be most interested in this summer?