Summer Camp for Introverts?

Hello parents,

My child is a classic introvert and has hated all the camp experiences she has had so far. None of them seem to be geared toward quieter kids who need downtime, prefer small groups and structure, need time to warm up or facilitation with meeting other kids, have a group of kids going for multiple weeks, or a dedicated staff person who "knows" them.  She is completing the first grade this year and is already stressed out about it. It's also challenging because the really awesome sounding camps I've found are expensive AND end after only 3/4 hours so I can't just "make it work, somehow". We've tried Studio One in Oakland, Steve & Kate's, and Trackers. I'm hoping not to deal with crying every morning this summer so can someone tell me there is a magical camp with a dedicated counselor per small group, is low-key, has longer multi week sessions that kids attend for, and lasts at least 6 hours per day. Or am I asking too much? Thanks!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Both my boys attended this camp but we chose it because One son was cautious, slow to warm up, introverted. He went to Monkey Business camp and it worked well for him. He started around 5 or 6 years old. The things that made it easier for him there:  there was a goal to help all the children feel part of the group, they helped kids learn each other’s names, he did not feel anonymous there. Also the structure of the day allowed for some choices for ex there was typically a choice of activities so some kids could sit at the table and craft, and some could join an organized game.  At the session where they put on a play, my son worked on set design and wasn’t pressured to perform but felt a part of the presentation.   I was able to discuss my concerns re my son’s temperament with The directors and the lead counselor and they were receptive and supportive of making the camp work for many kinds of kids. My boys both enjoyed being outside all day and went to the camp for several years. The have fond memories of those years now. 

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Your daughter sounds like my daughter. I don't know what they did exactly, but my daughter had an amazing time last summer at Camp Kee Tov. I don't know if they still have space this summer (we signed up in December!) but the sessions are 4 weeks long. You can use before and after care (I think from about 8-6). All of the staff were campers there, many of the counselors have been attending since they were 5 or 6. 

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Oh boy! I hope you find something! My kids are fine with outgoing camp counselors, but if I had to go to their camp I would DIE DIE DIE of being yelled at and forced to chant things. I just wanted to express support - I have no useful suggestions, all the camps I've seen really think I'm crazy if I point out the kids sitting on the sidelines wishing for a little downtime and peace and quiet. 

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Pear Tree Summer Camp has a lot of the things that you are looking for. The camp is open for 8 weeks and your daughter could have the same 2 staff people the entire time she participates. Your camper would be in a group of 15 kids or less. The morning starts with a circle and a supported academic session. The rest of the the day has both free play and structured activities. www.peartreesummercamp.com

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

I would love to recommend Monkey Business.  There is care until 6 pm.  More importantly, it is a safe and warm camp.   Both of my kids have attended and are now in “leadership” positions there ( counselor in training).  

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

My daughter, who was very worried about going to camp, had a very successful experience at Monkey Business for the same reason brought up by someone else—-they gave her choices about what she wanted to do. This made her feel like she had control over her situation and it was her best camp experience in Berkeley. For an introvert I think that being given choices makes you feel more respected, and if you feel respected you feel more comfortable and happy. 

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Not a specific recommendation but strategy: I was an introvert kid and hated summer camp unless I was with a best friend from school. Does she have anyone close with whom she could attend camp? This allowed me to get past the social anxiety and not dread it to such a degree. Still not ideal, but eases the stress.

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Camp Galileo

the counselors are SO well trained, enthusiastic, intuitive, non judgmental, accepting. My introvert kids had perfect experiences and attended K-8 (wow). There is lots of small group time with dedicated counselors, classes with great ratios. Plenty of big group active games at lunch — but always a solid alternative too for quiet fun, like lanyards. I can’t speak highly enough. 

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

I highly recommend the summer art camps at Richmond Art Center. If you do both the morning and afternoon sessions with lunch in between, and extended care then there is full day coverage. Very small class sizes (think 8-10 kids). My daughter has attended a couple of summers as well as classes during the school year (as a bonus, you could sign up for a spring Saturday class or workshop to help your daughter get used to the center and see what she thought before committing to summer camp). My daughter is a more outgoing introvert, but she is very sensitive to noise. Richmond art center is the only place where I’ve seen an instructor tell the parents of a more rambunctious kid that he needs to tone it down because there are a lot of kids in class who don’t like the noise when they are concentrating on their art work (without being asked by the quiet kids parent). The instructors are true teaching artists, serious about their craft. It’s a great place for kids to really focus on creating visual art in multiple mediums. I’ve found that not that many kids do the full day for the full summer, but kids do come back for multiple sessions. My daughter will be there for the whole time except week 1. She’s 11 so is older and probably wouldn’t be in the same age track with a rising 2nd grader. But, the full day kids have lunch together in a charming and quiet interior courtyard. So there would be one constant friend throughout the summer. RAC is open on Saturdays, if you’re interested my daughter and I would be happy to meet you down there and check out the galleries so your daughter could get a sense of whether this might be a good fit. Also, I don’t know whether they do summer, but Hello Stitch in Berkeley has camps. My daughter is there this week for spring break and it’s very small, meets her need for things to be quieter and she’s learning to sew! A good camp fit makes such a difference!

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Yesssss... both my kids tend toward this. Roughing It was a great experience for my rising first grader, a lot of structure and small groups. Brushstrokes has also been good; again, a small group. The bigger city recreation programs have been the hardest experiences for both my kids. You could also try hiring a babysitter instead of camps. I will say that my older child, now in 4th grade, has become less sensitive about needing to warm up over the years, and acclimates more quickly to more overwhelming environments, relative to where he was a few years ago. So don't despair - this year and next year might be challenging, but your child might change and mature.

RE: Summer Camp for Introverts? ()

Also would recommend Pear Tree. The location is calming, the staff is calming, and it has a small camp environment. My kid is going again this year, although not a calm, introverted kid!  I look at the camp as a respite from the more kinetic OUSD environment.