City of Oakland Shake, Rattle & Roll Camp
This week-long, four-level camp teaches outdoor living skills of: fire making, cordage, shelter building, dealing with water, plants as food and medicine, tracking and tool making in Joaquin Miller Park. To be taken in order: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced & Bow Making.
'Shake Rattle and Roll' is for 11+ year olds and up in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. Both my 15 year old and 12 year old sons started as soon as they were allowed -- at age 11. They cook their lunch on campfires they make themselves (learning how to start a fire and build a safe one are part of what they learn), learn to carve wood with knives, make bows and arrows from natural materials, learn about local botany and what is edible, learn some archery. They absolutely love this day camp and insist on participating at least a few weeks every summer still. I can say it has even changed their lives in terms of them wanting to learn how to make things themselves and to have responsibility and passion for the outdoors. Although a few more boys than girls sign up, there are plenty of girls, too. This camp has an amazing history in Oakland Parks and Rec and is an absolute hidden gem of summer camps. It is also just ~$275 per week, 9 am - 3 pm, so half or almost half the price of many other day camps and yet I feel it is as good or better than almost all the other camps I've sent my kids to (Chabot, Galileo, SummerQuest, Cal camps). And, with so many other camps opening up in the past 5-10 years, it is also quite easy to get a space even at the last minute (or at least this has been the case the past 3 years, except for the advanced bowmaking week, which often fills up early)... I would think one could get there by AC Transit; the kids go throughout Joaquin Miller, Roberts and Redwood Parks but they meet at the Ranger Station on Sanborn Dr for drop-off and pick-up. Reasonable after-care is also available (but the pick-up for that is up top closer to the Roberts pool). http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/opr/Connect/activities/index.htm. Sometimes OPR is a little late getting information on the web and it may not show up until March. If you want, you can call the Rotary Nature Center at (510) 238-3739 (who run it for OPR) to get information before it may appear online.
If the outdoors isn't your daughter's thing, another option our younger son did for several summers was Doug's Drama Camp (http://www.dougsdrama.com/) in which campers perform in original plays. Sessions are 2 weeks. Doug is great in directing the children and providing a fun and joyful experience for all. And the price is very reasonable -- again, about half the price of many other camps my kids have attended.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
This is an excellent day camp that few know about; my kids have done the camp for younger kids (Touch the Earth) and loved it, and this camp is for kids 11-15 and is even better! Through Oakland Parks and Rec, it is an outdoor skills camp that rivals ''Trackers'' but at half the price. My daughter comes home each day with her homemade cordage, arrows and bow, happy and full of Native American lore. It is a fantastic camp! 1 to 4 weeks, 9-3pm in Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland. www.oaklandnet.com/RotaryNatureCenter (510) 238-3739 happy parent
Re: Outdoorsy camp for athletic 13-year-old
If he's looking for local day camp activities and is really into archery, I recommend the Shake, Rattle & Roll camp (I have no idea why it has that name) offered by Oakland Parks & Rec. It's for ages 12-15. The kids make their own bows and arrows, and learn a lot about outdoor survival skills. Mom of Boys
Re: Summer camp for awkward 11 year old boy
You son sounds a lot like mine, though mine is now older. One camp that my non- sports, non-arts & crafts kid loved is called Shake, Rattle & Roll, located in the Oakland hills at Redwood Regional Park, run by Oakland Parks & Rec. The camp has an odd name, but it focuses on nature, outdoor survival skills, archery and other fun stuff. He always came home filthy dirty but very happy. I would also recommend some of the Cal Adventures programs, like kayaking, rock climbing, etc. While my son doesn't like team sports, he really enjoys individual sports and outdoor experiences.