Roxy’s Best Of…Morris County, New Jersey

The Best of Morris County, New Jersey, from kid stuff (including summer camp) to restaurants to art galleries and shopping

Jan
04

Starting to Think About Summer Camp 2009 — Roxy’s Best Of… Summer Camps in Morris and Somerset County, New Jersey

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The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives are starting to think about summer camp 2009, and I’ll do my best to cover the camps my kids have tried, and the ones my friends recommend.  Some of my favorites haven’t posted all the details on their 2009 camp programs, but I’ll provide a summary of last year’s program now and update the dates and details as soon as they become available.

Mendham Township Elementary School Pathways to Learning Summer Camp:
For starters, I can highly recommend the Mendham Township Elementary School Pathways to Learning Summer Camp that former Superintendent Christine Johnson launched in the summer of 2007. In their first experience with Pathways in 2007, my girls attended the camp’s first two weeks in July and begged me to go back for the final week in August. The MTES Cub Camp was the perfect way for Maddie, at the time a rising kindergartner, to get to know some of the other kids she’d be in class with in September, and to get to know her way around the elementary school ahead of time. Camp is open to all children (from rising kindergartners through eighth grade) in Mendham Township and the surrounding communities.

Last summer, the Pathways to Learning Camp returned to MTES, running June 24 through August 1st, 2008, with expanded hours (8:30am - 2:00pm).  We took advantage of the camp bus service that picked the girls up in the morning, but our nanny or Rex or I picked the girls up at the end of the camp day.  While I had assumed that, without Christine Johnson at the helm, the camp would be less enriching than the prior summer, London and Maddie insisted they had even more fun during their two week Summer 2008 stint, possibly because Mr. Gallo (the MTES Technology teacher) was their camp counselor.

I expect that the Pathways to Learning Summer Camp at Mendham Township Elementary School will be back and better than ever under the guidance of our new Superintendent, Kristopher Harrison.  If camp is organized as it has been in the past, campers will be grouped by grade levels in order to provide appropriate activities and meaningful experiences.

  • Cub Camp - For students entering Kindergarten in September 2009
  • Junior Tiger Camp - For students entering 1st and 2nd grades in September 2009
  • Tiger Camp - For students entering 3rd and 4th grades in September 2009
  • Bulldog Camp - For students entering 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades in September 2009

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that this year’s Pathways to Learning Summer Camp will run six weeks starting June 22nd or 23rd, ending on July 31st, though it would be terrific if Pathways extended the program for eight weeks through August 14th.  Campers will spend an action packed week or weeks (you can sign up for 1 week or all 6 weeks or any number in between) engaged in activities such as creative fitness & sports games, visual and performing arts, challenges & contests to build teamwork & personal leadership skills, technology, theme days, literacy and math enrichment & skills reinforcement, and hands-on science projects. Certified teachers, district administrators, and junior camp counselors will staff the camp. In addition, a certified nurse will be on-site at all times. The MTES camp sounds “educational” but my girls never felt like they were in school, they were having too much fun!

Transportation and food services are also available at an extra cost. My kids won’t eat anything but mom’s home-made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but there’s a round-trip (or one way) bus option that worked well for us last year.

Last year’s camp tuition was $269 per 5-day week, $218 for 4-day (holiday) weeks, or you could pay $1,490 to register for all six weeks. The MTES Pathways to Learning Summer Camp is a great value if you don’t need full-day day care. At some of the “country club” camps mentioned below, you could pay $1,000 for one week of camp.

Annie’s Playhouse Summer Stars:
My girls have also attended the Annie’s Playhouse Summer Stars Musical Theatre Camp for two summers, and we’ll be back again this year. The camp runs 8 weeks, with a big show towards the end of camp where you’ll see your kids (and other talented summer stars) strut their stuff on stage at the Bernardsville Presbyterian Church.  Annie hasn’t announced precise dates yet, but my best guess based on last year’s dates would be June 15th through August 7th, although London and Maddie will still be in school if the first week starts June 15th, so depending on the last day of school in other districts it may be June 22nd to August 14th.

Annie’s Playhouse Summer Stars.  Phone: (908) 658- 3002.  Please be sure to let Annie know that Roxy sent you.

Pavan’s Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis Club in Chester, NJ

London had a make-up lesson this morning over at Pavan’s Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis Club, and Pavan assured me that he’ll be running his awesome tennis camp for kids of all ages (kindergarten through high school) again this summer.  London and Maddie spent three hours a day with Pavan for one week in August last summer and both girls dramatically improved their strokes and presence on the tennis court.

Based on last year’s dates, I’m going to guess that Pavan’s Summer Tennis Camp will run 9 weeks from June 22nd through August 21st.  Last year’s pricing for the one hour Munchkins (age 4-7) and Advanced Munchkins (age 7-8) program was $140 per week.  The three hour Beginner and Low Intermediate (age 9 and up) program was $345 per week.  The four hour USTA Players’ Development, Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate (USTA and high school age) program was $500 per week.

Phone 908-879-5231.  Please be sure to let Pavan know that Roxy sent you.

Randolph Gymnastics

Randolph Gymnastics in Randolph, NJ, where London and Maddie are training for the Olympics, will offer a 10-week Summer Day Camp program from June 29th through August 28th.  Both a full and half day camp schedule is available.  The full day runs from 9:00am through 4:00pm and half day runs 9:00am through -1:00pm.  Before and after care is available if needed.  The minimum age for Randolph Gymnastics Summer Day Camp is five years old. Some of the camp’s activities will include: recreational gymnastics & open work-out, arts & crafts, games and races, swimming, non-contact team sports, and a climbing wall.  The schedule is flexible, and you’ll find rates on the Randolph Gymnastics web site for one to five days per week and one to ten weeks of camp.  Phone (973) 584-4111.  Please be sure to let Shannon know that Roxy sent you.

Garden State Ballet:

Garden State Ballet, where London and Maddie attend weekly ballet classes, will offer a summer program at each of its three locations in Randolph, Rutherford, and Newark, NJ.

The West Morris YMCA Backyard Pool Program:

No, it’s not a day camp, but it’s what my girls like to do on summer afternoons. For the first three summers after we moved out from New York City to the Roxiticus Valley, my kids had private swimming lessons in our backyard pool. The West Morris YMCA sent out a high school or college kid who’s passed their lifeguarding tests and the kids learn at their own level on their own turf (or surf, as it were). Unfortunately, due to the crazy price of gasoline last year, the West Morris YMCA canceled their Backyard Pool Program for the Summer of 2008.  This summer, the price of gasoline shouldn’t be an issue — today I watched our local Exxon station post the price at $1.49 per gallon vs. last summer’s four bucks.  As soon as I learn more (they usually mail out applications in April), I’ll let you know if the West Morris YMCA Backyard Pool Program will resume in 2009.

Word of Mouth Summer Camps, Untested by this Roxiticus Desperate Housewife:

We have friends who swear by Harbor Hills Day Camp in Randolph, NJ. Since I have an nanny (remember, I’m an investment banker, not really a housewife), I’m not really interested in putting my kids on a bus at 8 in the morning and not seeing them again until 4 or 4:30pm. However, if you’re looking for a full day camp with round-trip bus service and all the “country club” extras your kids can imagine (swimming, bungee jumping, go carts, etc.), Harbor Hills may be the place for you.

Hi-Hills Day Camp at Gill St. Bernards is right down the street from us in Gladstone, NJ. Cheaper than Harbor Hills but not quite as luxurious, Hi-Hills does offer horseback riding.

Meadowbrook Country Day Camp in Long Valley, NJ is another option if you’re looking for full day care, want to spend a bit less than you would at Harbor Hills, and want your kids to have a more outdoorsy camp experience (e.g., fishing instead of bungee jumping).  My good friend and fellow Roxiticus Desperate Housewife, Lynette, has twins who have enjoyed the camp for the past two summers, and one of my loyal readers left the following comment:  “My 2 children have attended Meadowbrook for the past 2 summers (and attended Valley Brook, the adjoining preschool and kindergarten school). They have had a wonderful time, had tremendous supervision (pools have always scared me at camps!) and have made long time friends. Wonderful summers at Meadowbrook.”

Roxy’s Mailbag received a rave for Soulshine Farm Summer Camp in Randolph, NJ: Yoga, farm activities, organic food!

If you have a favorite summer camp that you’d like to share with Roxy’s Best Of… readers, please leave a comment on this post or contact Roxy.

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