When I began compiling a list of cool summer camps offered by the Alt Ed Austin community of schools and related organizations, I figured I’d find a goodly handful—enough to warrant a blog post of their own, much like the one I published a couple of weeks ago on Spring Break camps. Boy, was that an underestimate! It turns out there’s such an abundance that I’ve felt the need to add a new web page to hold them all. Indeed, I've been driven to the thesaurus to find adequate words to express the diversity, creativity, and sheer wonderfulness of these offerings: A plethora of programs? A cornucopia of camps?
While working on this directory I’ve found myself wishing I could sign myself up for multiple camps every week throughout the summer. If I could take a sabbatical from work and get the camps’ age limits lifted a bit (OK, a lot), I’d learn all kinds of new skillls, build dazzling structures, explore Austin on foot and by public transit, care for farm animals and crops, participate in democratic processes through Robert’s Rules of Order, experience a rite of passage, get up-close and personal with molds and fungus, immerse myself in Elizabethan-era theater, use power tools, practice permaculture, observe the heavens through fancy telescopes, make messy art, bust myths, and, above all, PLAY!
Despite their diversity of themes and formats, these off-the-beaten-track camps do have a few things in common. They are small, and thus more personal and less overwhelming for some kids than standard-issue programs can often be. They are affordable; most are considerably less expensive than the average summer camp in Austin. And all are facilitated by adults who have the utmost integrity, deeply respect children’s individuality, and really know how to have fun.
If you’re still working out a summer plan with your kids, check out these camps. And if your kids are all set, but, like this blogger, you like to dream of well-spent youthful summers, leave a comment here telling me which camps you’d choose for yourself.