Kids for the Bay
Outdoor science summer day camp!
We did the Girls Science Explorers camp and I can't say enough good things about it. I was worried because my daughter has usually been lukewarm when it comes to summer camps and this is the first one she was going to where she knew no one. But she came home each day full of excitement about what she'd learned and chatting about what was going to happen the following day. The curriculum is well thought out with the perfect balance of running around free play with learning. The learning is presented in such an engaging way that it doesn't seem like learning at all. One day when picking up my daughter, she was in a group crowded around some sort of box with two women. I'd never seen her so engrossed. It turns out the women were scientists and were discussing the different varieties and features of bees. All the girls were just enthralled. My daughter told me all about the women scientists and the bees the whole way home.
I loved the message, too, that this camp taught. There was a real sense of empowerment. My daughter started proclaiming all over the place that she could do anything she set her mind to. She just blossomed at this camp and they really cultivated her love of learning and her sense of self.
The counselors were the perfect picture of what you'd want in a camp counselor. They were energetic, fun, caring, and took opportunities to incorporate learning in a fun way. They were also incredibly organized. I felt totally secure entrusting my daughter to their care for the day even taking trips on BART (to the exploratorium) and the beach (Muir Beach).
I love that each day had its own activity, too, so things never got boring. One day they kayaked on the bay, another they went to the Lawrence Hall of Science, then a hike at Muir Beach and a trip to the Exploratorium. The last day a nice, relaxing fun time at Lake Anza.
Whoever created this camp really put a lot of thought into it. They found the perfect way to keep kids engaged, entertained while incorporating new learning experiences and environments. We will definitely be back next year. In fact, my daughter is clamoring to do another session this summer.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
If anyone's child(ren) has participated KIDS for the BAY's Berkeley-based summer day camp program (www.kidsforthebay.org/camp) in the past, I'd love to hear about your experience. Thanks in advance for your input! Berkeley Mom
I almost didn't answer, because I want to make sure my younger child will be able to get in easily. But, the folks at Kids for the Bay deserve recognition for their really sweet, cool camp.
Kids for the Bay is intended as a one week camp, so your kid has to be good with new situations. Every day they travel to a different body of water. They do age-appropriate science (dissecting a squid and then using it as bait for crabbing -- subsequently thrown back). Used to be the older kids went out on a boat, but no more (at least as of a couple of years ago). The counselors teach similar science during the year at schools, so they're quite good at it. There are non-competitive games, environmental education, and a very nice atmosphere.
Downsides: you have to drop off and pick up the kids every day at another inconvenient location. Lots of driving. Also, after a few consecutive years, my kids said that the curriculum was repetitive. Basically several ages are lumped together, so you may want to wait until the next age group before sending them again (if your kids doesn't like repetition). Kids for the Bay rocks
My son has done the ''Kids for the Bay'' summer camp for the past 3 years, and it is usually one of the highlights of his summer. The camp is really interesting, well-run, and staffed by thoughtful, intelligent, and fun people. My son has always enjoyed the variety of places they go and activities they do, and requests to return each year. I've recommended it highly to friends and do so here as well! Christine
My daughter attended a week of their animal(?) camp last summer. It was a bit difficult for her because as an incoming 5-th grader, she was two years older than the next oldest kids and a lot of the kids were incoming kinders. I thought it was well run and the counselors were solid. Because of the structure, the camp size was relatively small and the activities were low key. They had all projects planned in advance, but if time got too tight, they'd move a scheduled activity to another day. For this summer they're breaking the camps into two age groups and raising the age limit for the older group.
We signed up for the camp because my daughter had two amazing school field trips with Kids for the Bay. Francesca
Hello BPNers, I'm looking for comments on KIDS for the BAY's Aquatic Science Adventure Camp. They have week-long sessions for 5-7 and 8-10 year olds. Is the camp organized and safe? How professional are the staff? Did your kids have fun? Thanks for your thoughts! looking for camp
My son, then 7, did Kids for the Bay aquatic camp last summer. He had a fantastic time, and I thought it was one of the best camps I've seen. The staff, all young adults, were knowledgeable and fun, and had great rapport with the kids. My son learned a lot and still retains most of what he learned, nearly a year later! It was definitely one of his favorite camps of the summer. As for safety, that was a non-issue. It was very safe. It was a little tough logistically to go to a different location each day, but it made for a much richer camp experience. I highly recommend it. Christine
I could not be more positive about Kids for the Bay. If your child is into Aquatic science, it would be hard for them to have a bad time. The groups are small, well run by experienced leaders. Most of their team leaders seem to work there all year round in education with kids, unlike so many other camps. It is high quality, high integrity. The leaders are kind, keep order, and establish bonds with the kids. My son learned a great deal and came back every year. He is really sad to be too old for the program now. Kids for the Bay is dedicated to conservation through education. The lessons my son learned are indelibly printed on his mind and I would say this experience has been character building - having a lifetime effect in terms of how he sees the environment. Susan-Jane
My stepdaughter attended kids for the bay last year when she was 8. She was the only girl in the older group and we were so worried...but relaxed immediately. She LOVED it. It was well organized, safe, very educational, had a set of diverse activities daily, and had a lot of outdoors time. We were never confused about where to drop her off every day. And I can't say enough about how grateful we are to the teachers for making it a great experience when it could have been terrible as the only girl. And the most telling situation is that when we were horribly late picking her up one evening because of bad traffic and didn't have a cell phone, both teachers stayed with her, never charged us and had her so entertained that she wasn't worried or even seemed to notice that the other kids had been picked up long ago. We will never forget that kindness and consideration they showed for her and for us.
I will admit that I was nervous about the camp because programs indoors appear more ''safe'' but I became a real convert after hearing about the program from my daughter and reading their materials. I am a science educator myself and was impressed with the content and knowledge/experience of the camp leaders. Fan of Kids for the Bay
My Daughter, then aged 6 1/2, went to Kids for the Bay last summer and loved it. She is a nature girl and loves nothing better than mucking around at water's edge. The program seemed well run, organized and safe (though of course I wasn't there, so who knows?). The counselors were nice and seemed in control and my daughter liked them. I picked up a happy, non-sun burned girl every afternoon. The main down side is all the driving around to different drop off locations, but oh well, it wasn't that bad. I recommend it for kids comfortable in the outdoors. Shannon
My daughter has gone to KIDS for the BAY's Aquatic Science Adventure Camp for many years, and has really enjoyed the program. The camp (for children ages five to ten) features hands-on ecological and science investigations in the outdoors, meets in a number of wonderful outdoor locations in the Berkeley area, and has great camp leaders. I highly recommend the camp for young scientists and nature enthusiasts. They are currently enrolling for the summer, and are even offering a $50 discount for the 6/14 to 6/18 5-7 year-old session and the 7/12 to 7/16 and 7/19 to 7/23 8-10 year old session. MB
Does anyone have any experience with KIDS for the BAY's Aquatic Science Adventure Camp? It sounds like a fun, hands-on camp, and I like that the campers are outside exploring nature all day. Any feedback would be appreciated! Searching for fun camp
My daughter *LOVED* this camp last summer and I must say, it was the most organized production I have EVER seen. A thorough packet with precise maps was provided (we had just moved here, and each day the campers went to a different site, so this was appreciated!). The counselors are so experienced and kid-centered I wished they were my children's full-time teachers during the year. The t-shirts are even very nice, 100% cotton...not that this is a big deal, but when you're sweaty, outside, hiking, you want comfort. Just an example of the good choices made by the directors of Kids for the Bay. Also, when they do dissections, they actually get their OWN squid and instruments, they don't all crowd around one person who cuts it open. Excellent program.
Kids for the Bay is a really nice camp. The counselors are year-round staff working in schools through Kids for the Bay, so they're quite good. Obviously, the focus is aquatic biology and environmental education. Stuff like dissecting a squid, then using it as bait to catch (and release) crabs. They do sweet, non-competitive games with a science spin and just seem to do a great job dealing with many different kids. It's a small group and many kids sign up together. If you couldn't find a friend to go with (which is wise for carpooling anyway), I bet the counselors would assist with assuring a kid with no pre- existing relationships was not excluded, especially if you asked for them to watch for it on the first day.
The down-sides: drop off is all over the place because they're visiting a different body of water each day and sometimes it's quite a haul. Second, kids may not want to return each year, because the curriculum is the same within each age group (5-7, 8-10 or something like that). So, our kid didn't want to go for a 3rd consecutive year of the same experiments. When the age group changed the following year, he was happy to go back. He was disappointed that the boat trip that he'd heard the older kids went on was discontinued the year he moved up to that group, but otherwise had a great time. Anne
My son did the Kids by the Bay Summer Camp a few summers ago and I thought it was very well run. My son enjoyed it -- as much as he enjoys any summer camp. Which is to say, he strongly prefers something less structured and less like school. But if your kid likes that kind of program --structured, educational and fun with great adults working in the program, you'll do fine. One last thing -- I went with the kids on the Friday when parents are invited to join in on the boating on the Bay experience -- awful, foggy weather and most of us got rather sea sick. don't have sea legs
Kids for the Bay is a great summer camp! It is a biology- based camp that focuses on environmental education. The kids do all sorts of fun things, including testing water quality in local watersheds, catching crabs at the marina, and disecting squids. The groups are small (maximum 16 kids)and the counselors are very welcoming. It's always my kids' favorite camp. Check it out... http://www.kidsforthebay.org/site/programs/summer-camp.shtml Jeanette
Re: Summer Camp for 8 year old boy
My eight year old has two great recommendations. [Monkey Business...] His other favorite camp is Kids for the Bay, which has a focus on the East Bay watershed. He loved the hands on science activities and going to different locations, the Marina, sailing on the Bay, strawberry creek, etc. Donna
I highly recommend this summer camp to all parents. The motto of KftB is ''No child left inside!'' It's a great adventure. I have an 8 year old who wants to go back for the third year and a 6 year old going back for the 2nd year. As a teacher and a parent, I believe that this program offers children an experience that sparks their intellectual curiosity and helps them connect to nature. It's well run and consistently good. Karen C
Our daughter absolutely enjoyed her week of activities and her teachers at Kids for the Bay last summer (2007). Every person on the staff had a genuine passion for teaching the kids about our bay and how to keep it safe and beautiful. To this day, our daughter still picks up trash along the bay after her week at Kids for the Bay camp. We highly recommend this fun and enriching camp. Pearl
Now that it is March, many of us our making our summer plans. I just wanted to share with you all how much my son loves the environmental science camp led by Kids for the Bay. This will be my son's 4th year in the camp--and each year it is always his favorite. Last year, he came home each day, eager to describe what they did. He loved dissecting a squid and then using the ''leftovers'' to catch a crab. He loved looking for and identifying sea life under the Berkeley pier. And...he LOVED steering a 65 foot sail boat on the bay! Yep...I even got to go on that amazing trip. What a way to learn more about and appreciate our Bay! My son, now 8, says, ''When I grow up, I'm going to be a marine biologist and do things like this everyday!'' I know much of this enthusiasm and interest in science has been inspired by the knowledgeable, competent, and caring counselors at Kids for the Bay. Feel free to write to me if you would like to hear more. mf
Has anyone had any direct experience or knowledge about Kids for the Bay summer camp (run by earth island)? I checked the past listings but nothing there. thanks. Betty
My six-year-old son had a good time at Kids for the Bay Camp last summer. He seemed to learn some ecology, too. Jennifer