For students who attended this year’s Summer Camp+, the summer was filled with engaging morning lessons and fun afternoon seafaring adventures. Themed “Camp on the 7 Seas,” the program provided educational and activity packed sessions for students in grades K-5. The very popular program, held on the lower school campus, attracts nearly 800 campers each summer.
Camp+ students in grades 1-5 have several morning program options, including the traditional academic offerings Core Focus and Learning Opportunities in Literature (LOL). Campers in grades 2-5 also had the option of art or music. An artist’s studio was led by Harker’s lower school art instructor Gerry-louise Robinson, while orchestra, rock band and songwriting workshops were led by Louis Hoffman, lower school music teacher.
New this year were extended teaching blocks during the academic portion of the day, explained Patricia Lai Burrows, who served as a Camp+ principal alongside Diann Chung. “This year’s schedule allowed for deeper and more meaningful learning,” recalled Lai Burrows.
Following the morning session, many campers stayed on for a partial or full-day activity program, which included a wide range of group and individual activities such as arts and crafts, dance, water play, wall climbing, archery and field sports.
Among those participating in the afternoon program was first-time Camp+ participant Kaleb Goldin. The rising grade 3 Harker student stood on the lower school field, waiting in line for his turn to participate in the rock wall climbing activity.
“I’m looking forward to it!” he said, as a camp counselor helped him prepare for his climb. After he had finished, he gave the thumbs up sign, declaring “That was great!”
The afternoon sessions included a variety of activities for campers of all ages, who were grouped according to their grades: kindergarteners attended kindercamp, first graders were called “owls,” second and third graders were” condors,” while fourth and fifth graders were “eagles.” Afternoon activities also were divided by themes, such as Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Artic, Bon Voyage, Pacific, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.
The groups enjoyed many fun outings. For example, the kindercampers enjoyed parfaits at a neighborhood park; the owls went on a field trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum; the condors went bowling and to the Oakland Zoo; and the eagles spent an afternoon at Laser Quest and had a sleepover in the gym. Campers of all ages had a blast celebrating camp mascot Ray’s Deep Sea Birthday Party and a salt water pool carnival!
The Summer Camp+ program traditionally kicks off and ends with Color Clash, a fun event held in the lower school’s gymnasium. Groups of campers on yellow, red, green and blue teams participate in an array of silly games cheered on by captains (aka camp counselors) wearing color-coordinated outfits that run the gamut from superheroes to hula skirts and fun hats.
At the end of each session, there was an informative showcase for parents. The “Super Summer Showcase” allowed parents to spend some time exploring their child’s classroom and learn more about the exciting activities in the afternoon program. As part of the showcase, art work from students enrolled in the artist’s studio was on display.
The exhibit had a playful feel, with a colorful array of chalk pastels of flowers, sunsets and snails. The children also made windmills and American flags, among other seasonal artwork – reflective of both summer fun and another great year at Camp+!
The Harker School has offered extensive summer programs for more than 50 years. The Summer Camp+ program is nationally accredited by the American Camping Association.