City of Oakland Parks & Recreation

Oakland, CA
Arts & Crafts, Nature & Outdoors, Sports
Operated By: 
Preschoolers, Kinder, School-Aged
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Questions

Summer Drop in/Hourly Camps?(3 responses)
Looking for AFFORDABLE summer camps(14 responses)
City of Oakland rec center day camps(1 response)

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 


General Questions about Camps

March 2008

I'd like to hear from anyone with recent experience with the Oakland Parks and Rec day camps at Dimond Park, Montclair Park, Redwood Heights or Joaquin Miller. My son will be going into 1st grade and likes to be active and creative, but isn't into sports. Thanks Mom

Sheffield Village Rec Center has a great camp for young kids -- very ''camplike'' ie they learn camp songs with their youth counsellors and have lots of time to just run around the play area, some art, snacks, etc. MWF, 9-3.

My son also enjoys Cubs Camp at Montclair Rec Center and the Montclair Summer Arts Workshop is great. Performing and visual arts as well as some free time to run and be a kid.

I live near Dimond and, from what I've seen, their camp looks a lot like After Care at school. (Maybe because they host that during the school year & the structure seems similar?)

Don't know about Redwood (but their field trips seems like they're geared to older kids) nor Joaquin Miller. Anon, please.

Oakland Fine Arts Summer School

Feb 2007

Re: Afternoon-only summer camps?
My children enjoyed (for several years now) the afternoon session of the Oakland Fine Arts Summer School (OFASS) offered as a collaboration b/w OUSD and Oakland Parks and Rec. MOCHA teachers teach the afternoon sessions, each afternoon consisting of 4 classes for each child (many classes overall but each child gets enrolled in 4), such as sculpture, pantomime, theater, drawing, instrumental music, movie production, dance, . . Some kids enroll for morning and afternoon session, making it a long day with about 7 classes, but many kids come for just afternoon. You can register for this camp on-line at (Parks and Rec), starting March 1. Maria

Oakland Tot Soccer

May 2008

I am thinking of signing my 2.5 year old up for the Tot Soccer offered thru the Oakland parks & recs. We didn't have much luck at the little kickers program in Alameda. My son is really focused on the ball and wasn't too interested in the other games they play (not many games with the balls). What was your experience with the class? I'm not sure if he's too young, he doesn't follow directions well yet. Soccer Mom

My kids had the best time doing tot soccer and tumbling at Dimond. Birrel Nicholson is a wonderful teacher. His focus is on having fun and following directions. The kids get lots of fun outdoor time, incidentally learn some skills and make a lifelong friend in Birrel. Jan L


Science Camps: Touch the Earth and Young Naturalist

April 2002

Greetings. Just wondering if anyone has had any direct experience with either Touch the Earth Camp or Young Naturalist Camp, both run by the City of Oakland. Interestingly, there is nothing on the archives or on Tom Lent's Day Camp Guide. Two particular questions: Is Touch the Earth camp appropriate for an older six-year-old boy, and what are the specific differences between the two camps, other than location? Thanks very much, Deborah

My 10 year old son went to both of these camps last summer and loved them. His friend went with him and loved touch the earth but did not like young naturalist camp. I called these camps Roll in the Dirt camp and Pigeon Catching Camp. Both camps seemed quite loosely run--my 10-year-old had no problems with this, but I think I would have worried about him when he was six at Touch the Earth camp, just because it is a less enclosed setting. (On the other hand, they did have a lot of teen-aged help, and I don't think they lost anyone!) The Young Naturalist camp had a more organized schedule, and I wouldn't worry about losing a six-year-old there, but I would think twice if my child needed very clear rules and structure to do well in a program. My son and his friends came back from Touch the Earth so covered with dirt that we needed towels to protect the seats of the car. He LOVED this, especially the after-care part of camp, when they spent their time in the woods building forts. The main part of camp had much more structured activities like arts and crafts, which at 10, my son could take or leave. He took the Birds segment of Young Naturalist, and the highlight of the day was when they got to feed the pigeons, and for some reason, I can't imagine why, were allowed to actually catch them. He and his friend gave all the pigeons names and reported home in the evening about whom they had caught. There were science activities as well, and they planted seeds, fished for shrimp in Lake Merritt. I worried about all the diseases he might catch from pigeons and the lake water, but he survived the week with his health intact. He also met a group of children very different from his normal crowd at his own small public school. This fall, the tension of an intense soccer play-off dropped off when he found himself facing a fellow pigeon-catcher on the other team. Cynthia

Sheffield Village Recreation Center

April 2007

Re: Only need camp for 2 days of the week
Sunbirds camp at Sheffield Village Rec Center is partial - M,W,F 10-2. And, it's only $55 a week. Check it out on the Oakland Parks and Recs website. My son goes every summer for a couple of weeks and has fun. ~Alison

Special Needs Day Camp

May 2006

Oakland Parks and Rec has a ''Director of Inclusion'', Scott Means, whose job it is to make all OPR programs fully inclusive to children with special needs.

I was looking for camp options earlier this month for my high-functioning but multiply disabled kindergartener, dialed his number (it's listed on the Arroyo Viejo page in the OPR spring booklet) and was so impressed with the service.

He said - pick a rec center, pick a camp program, and we'll work with you and the director to accommodate your child. We talked about when and where my son might need an aide (he doesn't need one all the time, only for physically challenging things like a long hike, the swimming pool, etc.), and what my son's issues are. Scott recommended particular centers in my neighborhood whose directors have worked well with special needs before. I called Dimond on his recommendation, talked to Michelle, the director , and had a great conversation. I'll be enrolling my child in the regular camp there.

The OPR brochure doesn't make it clear that they'll accommodate all special needs. Be sure and call Scott Means at Arroyo Viejo center. Leila