Remember when summer vacation was a chance for all school-aged children to leave the confines of the classroom or living room and spend endless hours outside? Well, one way your parents may have encouraged this is by sending you to a sports or adventure camp. You enjoyed it because you were outdoors but there are countless other benefits to these camps that will help kids thrive in social settings, stay healthy and most importantly have fun.
Healthy and Active Living
Just like it sounds, kids will be sending a lot of their time at sports and adventures camps doing physical activities both indoors and outdoors. The primary goal here is teaching them that exercise and physical activity is the key to growth, overall health and encourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Through these activities they'll explore how their bodies work and how to keep them in shape.
Stepping Out of their Comfort Zone
Many camps, including sports and adventure camps, adhere to a philosophy known as "Challenge of Choice". In these programs, kids push themselves to explore and experience new things like zip lining, feeding animals, or learning about new cultures through different activities.
Afterwards these camps will hopefully allow time for kids and counselors to sit together and share their experiences; what they liked, didn't like and what they'd like to try again. Correctly implemented, the camp staff will gently nudge kids to experience new things but step in when activities or tasks become too overwhelming or difficult.
Develop Social and Life Skills
Camps with sports at their core will help develop your child's crucial life skills including leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition. They'll realize that to succeed as a team requires working together to solve problems and tackle situations head on. Competition, which is everywhere, will also help them succeed whether it be in sports, school or later on in business.
The benefits of a sports and adventure camp are great and choosing a good program that encourages these principles will make your child's summer fun, exciting and educational. At the end of the summer, you can transition your kids into the new academic year citing teamwork, healthy living and challenging yourself as the steps to a good school year.
For a full list of summer camps and programs, visit TBParenting.com/SummerCamps.
Here's a list of Sports and Adventure Camps for you to check out:
701 Channelside Drive, Tampa
www.flaquarium.org ● 813-273-4015
Get NAUI open water certified during this scuba camp for ages 12-15. Ages 10-14 can participate in travel camps, enjoying snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and tubing around Tampa Bay. On location camps for ages 6-9 include science experiments, field trips and the opportunity to see live animals. AquaTots and AquaKids programs for 3-6 year olds include crafts, games and live animals. Register online!
Belleair Parks and Recreation
918 Osceola Road, Belleair
www.belleairrec.com ● 727-518-3728
These 11 weeks will fly by and your children, ages 6-12, are sure to come home with great stories and lasting memories. Traditional and specialty camps offered, with the goal of safety, relationship building and fun.
Busch Gardens Adventure Camps
3000 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa
www.buschgardens.org ● 888-800-5447
Camps include resident camps that marry the best of the park's offerings into multi-day, sleep-away programs for students in grades four through college. Day camps — single-day to weeklong — provide campers in prekindergarten through ninth grade with hands-on, educational experiences with animals and the outdoors. One-night sleepover camps are perfect for groups and students in first through 12th grade who are looking for enriching up-close encounters with amazing animals as well as fun crafts and activities.
19501 Holly Lane, Lutz
www.sealswimschool.com ● 813-229-7946
This aquatic camp program for ages 4-12 will offer weekly themes that center on a variety of activities, including swim lessons, recreational swimming, outdoor sports, indoor games and arts and crafts. Each child will receive personal attention from the professional camp staff. Before and after care available. Register for the whole summer or individual weeks.
Circle F Dude Ranch Camp
5301 Dude Ranch Road, Lake Wales
www.circlefduderanchcamp.com ● 863-676-4113
Nestled in 500 acres of wilderness, this traditional sleep-away camp for ages 6 to 17 offers two-week, three-week and 10-day sessions packed with exciting programs that focus on providing young people the opportunity to just be kids. Campers build lifelong friendships as they participate in horseback riding, archery, sports, photography, arts and more in a safe environment.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Passage
www.seewinter.com ● 727-441-1790
Get your camper ready to have fun
in the sun as he embarks on a coastal learning experience. Enjoy half- or full-day weeklong camps featuring Winter, snorkeling, scuba diving in sea grass beds and sand flats, kayaking through local estuaries, meeting and greeting rescued animals and discovering marine creatures in their natural habitats.
Eckerd College Waterfront Program
4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg
www.eckerd.edu/waterfront ● 727-864-8288
Classes offered include sailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, saltwater fishing, children's marine discovery, exploring marine life, little mariners watersports, and exploring watersports for ages 5 to 17. Weekly camps run June 3 to Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon and/or 1-4 p.m. All watersports equipment and life jackets are provided. Each student receives a camp T-shirt, sports bottle, class photograph, certificate of completion and snacks. Register online!
Explore the Shore
1603 Gulf Way, St. Pete Beach
www.montessori-by-sea.org ● 727-360-7621
Children ages 3–6 years will explore sea birds, seashells, fish and water transportation during this four-week camp. Each week includes beach play and exploration, arts and crafts and cooking. Camp is led by a certified Montessori teacher. Enroll for one week or all four. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (June 17 – June 28 and July 8 – July 19). Cost is $150 per week, with a $50 registration fee.
Gold Medal Camps
6564 44th St. N., No. 804, Pinellas Park
www.goldmedalgym.net ● 727-515-5796
These half-day, day and weeklong camps are for aspiring gymnasts ages 6 and older. Children will work with professional staff and a camp director with more than 40 years' experience. Early drop off and late pick up available. Classes and sessions are by appointment only. Space is limited.
History Adventure Camps at Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water St., Tampa
www.tampabayhistorycenter.org ● 813-675-8960
Your children can dig, craft and build their way through the past! Open to ages 7-11, the camps, led by experienced educators, include games, music, literature, splash park fun and interactions with historians and other experts. Themes include: Go Green (June 17-21); American Girls (July 8-12); Build It! (July 22-26); and Archaeology Adventure (Aug. 5-9).
Primrose Schools – Passport to Adventure!
Camp offers field trips, creative activities, sports, and fun adventures to help explorers play, laugh and learn their way through an unforgettable summer. Choose specific camp weeks or join a location all summer long. Enter online for a chance to win a $1,000 American Express Travel gift card!
Pro Martial Arts Karate Kamp!
10027 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
www.promartialarts.com ● 813-252-3955
Packed full of activities to keep your camper busy, participants will build confidence, character and self-esteem while learning self-defense and enjoying healthy snacks, crafts, movies and more. Parents are invited to demonstrations at the end of the week to see what the new martial arts masters have learned all week.
THE Shot LAB by Marvin Harvey
730 S. Sterling Ave., Tampa
www.marvinharvey.com ● 813-374-2503
Internationally renowned for 30 years of training amateur and professional athletes, this elite program includes basketball aptitude, run-jump-shoot training, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 team training and basketball specific coordination training. Sign up year-round.
Tampa Elite Soccer Camps at UT
401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
www.tampaelitesa.com ● 813-323-3933
Camps are held on the 100-acre University of Tampa campus with the goal of laying a foundation of individual and team skills with an emphasis on individual player development. Campers are grouped by age and ability. Other camp activities will include indoor soccer, sand soccer and swimming.
Tampa Parks and Recreation
www.tampagov.net/dept_parks_and_recreation ● 813-274-8615
The city's nine-week camp is available at 25 community centers. Children will enjoy sports, arts and crafts, games and more.
www.tampaymca.org ● 813-224-9622
Summer camps focus on nurturing the potential of children and helping them grow in spirit, mind and body. Fun and friendship are encouraged and young people build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills and make lasting memories. Camps are offered at 10 YMCA locations and at several program sites.
Tampa Bay Watch Estuary EDventures
3000 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde
www.tampabaywatch.org ● 727- 867-8166, Ext. 246
Does your child have an interest in marine science? Sea Monkeys is a camp is for kids ages 6-8 and offers an introduction to the marine environment. Tampa Bay Discovery camp is for kids ages 9-14.
Tampa Bay Skating Academy
255 Forest Lakes Blvd., Oldsmar ● 813-854-4010
27001 U.S. 19, Countryside ● 727-723-7785
Have a cool time on the ice through camps for beginner and intermediate level skaters ages 6-12. Daily camp sessions include on and
off ice instruction, arts and crafts, catered lunch and supervised on ice free time. There also are camps for experienced skaters, including a hockey camp in Oldsmar and a figure skating camp in Countryside.
The Y of Greater St. Petersburg
Youth and teens will experience indoor and outdoor games, field trips and activities that will help them grow in spirit, mind and body. The Y helps young people build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills and make lasting memories!
The Y of the Suncoast
Various North Pinellas locations
Youth and teens will experience indoor and outdoor games, field trips, and activities that will help them grow in spirit, mind, and body! The Y believes that good self-esteem and character development makes happy campers and the Y gives young people the tools to enjoy a summer of fun and friendship in a positive, safe environment.
Valley View Ranch Equestrian Camp
606 Valley View Ranch Road, Cloudland, GA
www.valleyviewranch.com ● 706-862-2231
A horse lover's paradise since 1954, instructors teach beginner to advanced riders. For girls age 8-17, the camp includes barrels, vaulting and trails. Space is limited.
ZooCamp At Lowry Park Zoo
1101 W. Sligh Ave.
www.lowryparkzoo.com ● 813-935-8552, Ext. 268
This summer, the Zoo School is headquarters for more than 100 week-long camps for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Kids and teens can learn about nature, science and the animal kingdom while hiking through the zoo, exploring behind-the-scenes and cooling off in the water play areas. Adventure camps include animal encounters, keeper talks, educational shows, games, crafts and more.