Berkeley YMCA Summer Day Camp

Kinder, School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
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Archived Q&A and Reviews

July 2014

Re: Camp for my 10 y.o. son?
I have a similar kind of son (8 years old) who can tend to annoy others, especially with his need to ALWAYS have someone to play with. I haven't found the perfect camp that combines everything he needs, but I do have a mix of camps that ends up working out pretty well. One week for the smart kid in him, alternating with a week for the super-active sporty kid he also is. He loves the downtown Berkeley Y summer camp. It is all about exercise all day long. Rock climbing, dodgeball, swimming. My son always returns happily exhausted. Also - the location is on Virginia (off MLK) NOT at the impossible to park at actual Y.

August 2009

I enrolled my children for the first time with the Downtown Berkeley YMCA and was thrilled to death with what this camp has to offer. They take them on many different field trips and provide Friday lunches. Not many camps do that during this tough economical time, it saved me making three lunches. I am impressed at how well the counselors are engaged with the children the minute they walk through the doors to the time that they leave. I have enrolled them for two more weeks in the latter part of the summer and am looking forward to the exciting things that they will do as well as the field trips they will go on! I will add this, the Kindergarten transition camp looks amazing and has really helped with the social development of my neighbors child. I only wish I had a kindergarten again so I can have my child experience all that they do! Kate

Berkeley YMCA Camp for rising kindergartener

March 2009

I'm looking for a fun & safe summer camp for my son who is going to be kindergardener in the Fall. The Berkeley YMCA has a kindergarden transition camp that I think is new, but i'm interested in hearing feedback about recent Berkeley YMCA summer camps experience for younger kids. Thanks! ruth

I don't know about the new Kindergarten transition camp, but we did have our soon-to-be Kindergartner attend one week of the Berkeley Y camp last summer (I think it was a combined K-1 program), and we did not have a great experience. Maybe part of the problem was that we were coming in mid-summer and by that point kids and counselors who had been there for weeks and weeks all knew one another, but it seemed a bit impersonal and chaotic. Whenever I went to drop him off, I never felt like I knew who was in charge, who was going to help my kid navigate through the day, know his name, etc. He didn't hate it, but it was clearly a bit scary (and there were a lot of big kids around the campus from the other programs, even if they weren't officially in his group), and it was not a good choice for us as his first experience after preschool. Contrast that with Monkey Business, where he went for 2 weeks after the week at YMCA. His first day, the head counselor got down right at his eye level and introduced herself and told my son that if he needed it, she would hold his hand the whole day while he learned about the routines and activities. Every day when I picked him up from Monkey Business, he was literally beaming. It was fantastic and felt very personal, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a rising Kindergartner -- we are going back for some weeks this summer. Love the YMCA, but not for summer camp

YMCA Day Camp for kids entering grades K-1

March 2006

I am looking for recent experience with the Berkeley YMCA summer camps, particularly the Voyager Day Camp for kids entering grades K-1. The last reviews from 2004 were decidedly mixed, leaning towards the negative side. My almost 5 year old daughter will be starting K in the fall -- and I am looking for fun summer camps for her to participate in. She loves to play and is moderately independent and outgoing. Thanks! Working mom.

Hello! I supervise the camp director for the Berkeley YMCA. I am glad you are asking for recent recommendations, because that is important. Please always feel welcome to schedule a visit to our programs or contact our camp director for information as well. Our camp this year will be located at Washington Elementary school where a brand new play structure has been installed. We place the entering kindergartners and first graders in a separate area in the morning so that they are not overwhelmed by the older children. Our ratio for Voyagers is 1 counselor for every 6 children. Staff for this age group receive specific training about what they can do to help ease the transition from pre-school to kindergarten. Kindergarten teachers over the years have helped us design the training and the curriculum for the campso that children are well-prepared. Of course, this is an age where they are definitely going through a big transition and often times leaving their life-long preschool friends. The camp itself is very active, mostly outdoors and with lots of field trips. A full brochure of activities is available at our website at Click on ''Downtown'' branch. Or call Qiqi, the camp director, at 665- 3264.

And just a note - Spring Break camp can be a GREAT opportunity to try Y camp before making your summer decisions. Spring Break camp is held at the Downtown Branch and enrollment is now open. Eden O'Brien-Brenner

2004 & Earlier

Summer camp for kindergartener - last 2 weeks of summer

March 2004

Hello, I couldn't find any recent comments about the summer camp at Berkeley vs. Albany YMCA. I'm looking for a summer camp for my 5 1/2-year-old Kindergarten daughter for the last 2 weeks of summer. If you and your child have recent experience at the Berkeley or Albany YMCA, would you please share it with me? How are the teachers -- nice, kind, loving, enthusiastic, understanding? How are the programs -- suitable for kids, organized, structured? Thank you very much.

My experience with Berkeley Y camps has been mixed. When my daughter was 5-7 she seemed to have a good experience. When she was 8 she had to deal with some pretty rough kids which freaked us out. The last time we did one I asked the morning instructor if there wasn't more than just basketball for them to do in the morning. She told me they used to have jump ropes but the kids kept hitting each other with them so no more. The non- basketballers were therefore left with nothing to do. sad but true

Our daughter (just turned 6) was signed up last year to the Berkeley YMCA summer camp (not the same as Albany YMCA). We thought it would be a special treat for her as they had swimming & skating field trip, etc. However, after a few days she absolutely refused to go - clung to me in tears and insisted that she stay home, then did the same thing with her dad the next day. So we pulled her out. My impression is that the program had some turnover last year and consequently, I don't think the program at that time was managed very well.

She would come in the morning and the staff in charge of her age group kept changing. With so many kids, so many older than her, it was bewildering & probably felt unsafe. If you do send your child I would ask them what they are doing to make sure the younger kids are taken under someone's wings from start to finish. We spoke with the folks in charge and they acknowledged that this was an issue so hopefully they have resolved it this year.

We ended up putting our daughter into the Berkeley Day Camp program which has a fair number of kids also and that was a wonderful experience for her.

My 2 cents and good luck with your decision. anonymous

Earlier Reviews


Re: last week of summer

The Berkeley YMCA has a summer day camp program that operates on a week-to-week basis (you sign up for the weeks you want during the summer). We have our five-year-old going there for the entire summer, and she seems to be enjoying it -- lots of outdoor activities. I don't know if they are already full for August. Berkeley YMCA: 510-848-9622.

YMCA has a really good day camp. 848-9622. If they're full, try the Jewish Community Center, 848-0237. My almost-6-yrold son is in his second year at Y Camp. He attends JCC after-school during the year and they're really solid, but we've never tried the summer camp. Someone I know whose son has done/is doing both said JCC summer camp is good but not as fun as YMCA camp.


July 1998

Re: last week of summer

Try the Berkeley YMCA. I just signed my son up for the last week of the summer and they had openings. Do it soon though because they cut back on staff depending on how many children are signed up that last week because Cal Students go back to classes. Veronica

The Berkeley/Albany YMCA runs a Fall Daze camp for four days out of that week (M - Th). Their phone number is 525-1130 to call for more information. The cost is moderate (around $100, I think--though if your son has not been enrolled in any of the other summer programs, you will also need to pay a registration fee and a kid's membership fee (good for one year)). Dawn

Day camps for the last week before school: The YMCA runs a Fall Daze program for that week, out of their Albany site on Kains. They usually don't have the information together until August, but you can sign up for just one day, two days, all five days, etc. Dianna