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


Summer Camp Plans Coming Together in Morris County and Somerset County NJ…Just In Time for the Last Day of School

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I can’t believe we’re coming up on the last day of school, but Rex and I have attended two year-end celebrations:  Maddie’s Incredible Kid Day in the first grade, and London’s Beatnik Poetry Cafe in the second grade.  Luckily, Roxy and the other Roxiticus Desperate Housewives have made our kids’ plans for summer camp 2009.  In case you’re still figuring it out for your family, I’ll do my best to cover the camps my kids have tried, and the ones my friends recommend.

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.

While my girls will not be attending this summer, the Pathways to Learning Summer Camp at Mendham Township Elementary School is back (with shorter hours, now 8:30am-12:30pm) and promises fun and enrichment for all under the guidance of our new Superintendent, Kristopher Harrison. Campers will be grouped by grade levels in order to provide appropriate activities and meaningful experiences.

  • NEW!  Pre-K Cub Camp — children entering or presently attending pre-school (note higher price of $450/week and abbreviated hours: 8:30am-11am)
  • 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

This year’s Pathways to Learning Summer Camp will run six weeks starting June 22nd and ending on July 31st.  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.

For all but the pre-K Cub Camp, the camp tuition is $269 per week, or you can pay $1,599 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. This year, Summer Stars starts tomorrow (June 15th) while London and Maddie are still in school, and runs through Friday, August 14th with the Big Show on Friday evening, August 7th.

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

Over at Pavan’s Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis Club, Pavan is running his awesome tennis camp for kids of all ages (kindergarten through high school) for nine (9) weeks this summer, starting Monday, June 22nd through Friday, August 21st. 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.  Pricing for the one hour (Monday-Friday, 9am-10a) Quick Start Tennis program is $130 per week. The three-hour (9am-noon) Beginner and Low Intermediate (age 9 and up) program is $330 per week, or you can register for two hours (10a-noon) for $250/week. The four hour Hot Shots (USTA Players’ Development, Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate — USTA and high school age) program is $420 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.

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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