Cazadero Music Camp

Outside the Bay Area, CA
All Ages
Editors' Notes: 

Located in Guerneville, CA

Parent Q&A

  • Recent reviews of Cazadero Music Camp?

    (2 replies)

    We're considering sending our rising 8th grader to Cazadero's Junior High 2 week camp this summer.  He's very musical and wants to go, but I cannot find any recent reviews on the camp.  I went as a child and didn't like it, but that was a long time ago, and I wasn't a very strong musician.  Any recent families whose child has attended willing to weigh in on what it's like?  How strong are the counselors?  If he doesn't attend with friends, will he still enjoy it?  Any help or advice is very welcome!  Thanks.

    Our daughter attended Caz for multiple years, and enjoyed it tremendously. The counselors were wonderful; in addition to being awesome humans, they are also really good musicians. My daughter attended without friends from home in all of the years she went, and made close friends there; this was a highlight. Will your child do the same? No way for me to say! But I do recommend the camp very highly.

    My daughter (8th Grader) went to Cazadero  Music Camp the past two summers, and will attend the Junior High Session in July.  She loves Caz, made great friends, and really stretched herself musically.  The counselors and staff are all wonderful, kind and caring - most of them attended Caz as campers, and come back every summer.  The concerts at the end of the session are incredible - listening to beautiful music under the redwoods.  We look forward to another summer at Caz.

Parent Reviews

Parents, Sign in to post a review on this page.

Have you heard of Cazadero Performing Arts Camp?  There are 2 sessions every August of one week each of Family Camp.  Here, campers (including little ones) are exposed to and participate in music and art activities along with great meals.  It's a wonderful experience that I got to have with my kids for over a decade while they were growing up.  It's also a very warm and loving community of folks.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2013

My daughter is applying to the JumpStart program that BUSD 5th graders are participating in. The liability waiver is something else: Cazadero takes absolutely no responsibility for anything; wants to be held harmless; and wants both parents and child to sign it. I'm sure it isn't water-tight against a good lawyer and it does contain the clause ''to the extent permitted by law,'' but I'm wondering what other parents have thought about it; if it's common for camps to have such an all-encompassing waiver. Finally, does anyone have an opinion about how safety conscious the camp is, particularly for the JumpStart program? No stranger to waivers

I'm an overnight camp director and that's fairly standard for many camps. It's pretty much what the lawyers say should be included. That said: I don't know of any camp that seriously believes it excuses ANY kind of lax safety standards, or indeed believes it would protect them in the case of actual mis-treatment or negligence. It's more of a first-pass defense against frivolous lawsuits (and believe me, that threat comes up, rarely but not never, for truly bizarre, non-serious things!). Anon Camp Director

Cazadero performing arts camp (jump start and summer camp) is an extremely safe camp. They have well thought out good systems in place for safety. Campers are well briefed on rules and the rules make sense. For jump start weekends, school staff and mentors and chaperones are also thoroughly briefed. I think the thoroughness of the waiver reflects the thoroughness of the Cazadero administration. The whole program is VERY well run. And by the way, jump start for my 2 kids was an excellent experience for them. It was also a highlight of my elementary school parent chaperone gigs. Having chaperoned for several over night elementary school events i feel that cazadero is up there on the awards-for-excellence board with the Balclutha and Marin Headlands. And in addition, it gets your student psyched to get up early in 6th grade and go to music (if you are in berkeley schools). Caz Parent

August 2008

Re: Family camp next year for 6 and 7 year olds?
We've had two amazing summers now at Camp Cazadero, near the Russian River past Guerneville. Cazadero is a children-only music camp for much of the summer, but for two weeks in August it transforms into a full-service family camp for all ages, humming with fun and creativity. It has an arts focus, but many non-artists and non-performers attend and enjoy it. You sleep in tent or tent cabins in a magnificent redwood grove. Campers can take up to four informal classes a day in music (jazz, taiko, piano, chamber music, harmony singing, guitar grooves, etc) or dance (salsa, African dance, yoga, tap, square dance, etc) or visual art (digital photography, stone sculpture, international fabrics, clay, etc) or other (clowning, circus, creekwalking, kids' swimming, environmental art, etc). But, you can spend all day doing free time if you want! Various families attend it as a reunion for far-flung siblings. There's an old-fashioned wacky talent show, campfire storytelling sessions, night-time dances and jam sessions. Kids have the run of the place and can explore endlessly, make art all day, play sports or ping pong... they love it. If you like a low-key vacation where you can explore and expand your horizons, this is the place. Session A seems to have a teen focus, while Session B seems more geared to younger kids. Happy Camper

August 2008

Re: Family camp next year for 6 and 7 year olds?
My family has been attending Cazadero Performing Arts Family camp for many years. It's great for families who are interested in music, art, clowning, and drama. The food is pretty good and the classes are wonderful. If your family is not particularly interested in sports, this is a great camp. My sons, ages 23 and 20, still want to come to camp with us! Susan B.

March 2007

Re: 13-y-o is resisting music camp - do it anyway?
Cazadero Music Camp has been wonderful for our 15-year old daughter. She plays flute and has gone to Caz every summer for 5 years, beginning the summer after fifth grade. It was her first experience away from home and she loved it.

I would recommend playing a band instrument, such as trumpet, rather than piano for a first experience. It will give your son a more gregarious experience than piano, which is a solo and small-ensemble instrument. Also, piano students are taken by special audition only. Virtually everyone has a blast at Caz. The environment is great. The people are warm and supportive. The music is amazing: The kids always learn a whole new program under a new conductor each week. The camp setting, along the creek, is also beautiful. I'm guessing he won't miss his video games after the first day. There's so much to do and so much fun to be had at Caz. Wendy

My son went to the beginning Cazadero camp several years ago, and it was excellent. However, I can certainly understand that your son prefers to have people there he already knows, and also may not be ready for a sleep away camp at a place he's never visited. Here are two possibilities for you to consider: (1) check out the Laney College Summer Music Program for middle schoolers. My daughter attended last year when she was 12, and although it's not as deep a music experience as ''Caz,'' it's a nearby day camp that's very affordable, and overall was an excellent experience for her despite sometimes wishing it was a little better organized. (2) consider attending one of the two Caz family camp weeks in August. That would allow you and your son to get familiar with Caz, not to mention have fun doing everything from various kinds of music to circus to visual arts to Taiko drums. It's not cheap to attend, but good value if your family has the deeply memorable experiences that many have had. -Still wearing my Caz T shirt

I've heard wonderful things about Cazadero although I have no personal experience with it. I'm sure that part of their great reputation (besides the music) comes from the fact that they provide a positive camping experience for the kids that go there! Sally

March 2004

Has anyone been to the UCCR Camp Cazadero? This is not the Music/Performing Arts Camp owned by the City of Berkeley, but a separate location, beyond the town of Cazadero, on the back road to Ft. Ross. Our youth choir has the opportunity to use the facilities for our retreat or summer camp, but we wanted feedback on the location from those who know it. What did you think of the road there? How were the accommodations and the food? How was the surrounding natural environment? Any comments much appreciated! Natasha caz...cold showers...but, the most amazing week of my junior high life. The cold showers may have been updated since I was there more than twenty years ago. I would hope that the rest was left alone. It really was a great place to hike and play. jan

we went to camp caz 3 years ago for a retreat. getting there was the toughest part. it was a drive and doing it at night would probably be tough during the last part when you turn off the main road. but once we got there, we loved it. the food was very good and the facilities were simple but clean. big playing field for organized sport as well as lots of hiking and nature stuff... great campfire pit... we decided that the drive was a bit much for our group (lots of young kids and babies) so we've been going to westminster woods instead. suzie

I spent many weeks at Camp Caz in the 80's as a camper and a couselor, and I loved it there. When I went and visited 2 years ago, things looked pretty much the same. I'm also thinking of going back to volunteer for a week this summer with my baby!

To answer your questions: The road there, though a little rough at the end, is completely passable with any type of car. The accomodations are simple and rustic (bunk beds, wood floors, one shower, sink, and toilet per cabin) with the exception of two newer cabins. The food was always good! It is served outside, at picnic tables. There are hiking trails that connect to the camp that go into the woods or along the river. The stargazing at night is wonderful.

Other info: The main meeting room is large and comfy. The outdoor chapel area is set in the trees and is really lovely. There is a large outdoor ampitheater with a stage. It is perfect for campfires and nighttime entertainment. There is also a large cement slab atop a hill that is a fun place for dances. The swimming pool is great on hot days.

Camp Caz is not fancy, but it is a special place. Kids love it's relaxing and easy to be there. If you need more info, I suggest you contact the UCC office directly. Their camp directors have all been working at camp for years and would probably be happy to give you their assessment of the facilities. Happy Camper

Feb 2000

re: summer music camp for teens. cazadero music camp is a great place for a young musician. they have 2 week sessions, are set up for band, orchestra, jazz band, and piano. the kids play in the large groups, and also have opportunities for ensemble work, choir, and a variety of electives. my daughter has (13) has gone there the last 2 years and loved it. she learned a lot about music, and made friends that she stays in touch with throughout the year. this year we are sending our 11 year old as well. she is very excited to experience what she has head her older sister talking about. the camp is located in a redwood grove in cazadero, just outside of guerneville the camp office is in berkeley, and you can reach it at 527-7500
G. (2/00)