Having never attended summer camp as a kid, choosing one for my kids was initially a process of trial and error with our family trying several and eventually letting the kids decide which they liked best.
When my oldest child son was ready to attend an all-day summer camp we sent him to several different ones over the course of several summers. They included Destination Science, the East Valley YMCA summer camps, theme camps offered by the City of San Jose, (Lego robotics and cooking camp) and Camp Galileo. That was more than five years ago, and I now have three kids who are old enough to attend summer camp.
Every summer they always say they want to be at Camp Galileo. I ask them why and they say because they get to use their creativity and the team leaders are always positive.
Each summer, there are four different art and science themes. Last year one of the themes was "Lost in the Forbidden City," where the kids learned about ancient Chinese art and history. Another was "Detective in Paris," where they learned about French art and the science of sleuthing. Also, each day there is a silly theme assigned and the kids can dress up in costume if they want.
Many of the camp leaders return each year so they know my kids by name. My kids don't have to start all over again, getting to know the staff and feeling comfortable being themselves.
Having quality staff that is engaged is important when we consider a camp. At one camp, my son complained that the leaders spent more time telling what he couldn't do rather than what he could. Some of the staff there seemed bored.
What blew me away about Camp Galileo was that my kids just couldn't stop talking about their day when I picked them up afterward. My son last summer talked constantly about the go-cart he was building at Galileo Summer Quest.
Every summer I am confident that my kids are well cared for and they are enjoying what they're learning. When they come away from camp, they have learned principles of science, art appreciation and history.
I've heard some parents say that it's expensive. My response is that the kids at Galileo are getting a lot more than a week of babysitting. And really, it's not that much more expensive than other camps. I am getting a higher quality program and staff at Galileo.
Throughout the week the kids are learning to work with fellow campers on joint and individual projects. They learn to brainstorm ideas, then are turned loose to innovate and make their ideas reality. If it doesn't work, that's OK. They are taught to not give up. That it's all a process.
On Fridays, parents are invited to an open house to see what their kids have done. It's a great way to close up the week with a skit, and it is always fun to see the magical rubber chicken get the kids to shush, cheer, and dance in unison. Camp Galileo has become a summer tradition for our family in addition to our annual camping trips.-Nancy, parent of Camp Galileo San Carlos camper