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April/May 2005

Education Guide
Planning for Summer Camps
by Linda Jones

Long before parents begin to daydream about summer evenings without homework, volcano projects or band concerts, plans for what the kids will do during those sunny days should already be made. If sending them to camp is the decision of choice, planning needs to begin now.

The first step in choosing a summer camp is to decide between day camp and overnight camp. While the simple difference is that children come home every day with the former and spend a week or more away with the latter, Ken O'Kelley, director of Atlanta YMCA's High Harbour Camps, says it is much more than that. "Day camp is a way to learn the dynamics of getting along in a group and have a safe and comfortable summer," he says. "At sleep-over camp, children lose the comfort of home and a new light is cast on their ability to rely on themselves."

In addition, O'Kelley says communication is much more individual at a camp away from home, and young people go home with a feeling of accomplishment, because they have learned more about themselves and have been accepted on their own. As a parent, it is up to you to decide which type of camp will be best for your child at this particular stage in his/her growth.

Twenty years ago, camp may have been about archery and braided lanyards, but today camp can be a fun way to help a child gain an educational edge. Now children in the Atlanta area can spend summer days learning crime scene investigation, building robots, or exploring marine biology. Students can get ahead (or catch up) in subjects like algebra or try their hands at architecture, stand-up comedy or cross-examination techniques.

Private schools offer a variety of camps, often open to students who aren't enrolled during the school year. Two examples are The Cottage School in Roswell, which offers core curriculum courses and Gables Academy in Stone Mountain, which has skills refresher and high school credit courses.

Some camps enable children to pursue specific hobbies or interests. For example, High Meadows is a private school in Roswell that has traditional camp activities plus woodworking, photography, and performing arts. "In addition," says Assistant Director Chris Brinker, "we try to teach a general respect for the environment, including recycling and reducing energy usage." Camp Invention, a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, will hold camps at schools in Gwinnett, Fayette, DeKalb, Fulton and Cherokee counties this summer. The activities incorporate science, math, history and the arts, as campers take apart old appliances to create their own inventions or design and build a movie set. At Emagination Computer Camps, children learn skills such as Web design and 3-D animation in addition to playing games and swimming. If your child is interested in the fine arts, there are camps that foster performance, dance, writing, painting, sculpture or music such as ART Station in Stone Mountain and Spruill Center Arts Camp in Dunwoody.

For the truly ambitious, Georgia State University's program for talented and gifted children offers a forensics camp in June for grades four through 8. The two-week Emory University Debate Institute includes public speaking, argumentation, issues analysis and critical listening. In addition, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College and Kennesaw State University each have summer programs that focus on academics.

While the children are finishing their homework this spring, it's time to get serious about your summer camp research, visit for ideas. With prior planning, both you and your children will reap the rewards this summer.

Summer Camp Offerings Around Atlanta

The Children's School
Atlanta, GA
The school's Camp Discovery is the place where the staff has as much fun as the campers, with days full of old-fashioned summertime fun!

High Meadows Summer Camp
Established in 1973 and located on 40 acres of farm and forest in Roswell, High Meadows offers campers a structured recreational program focusing on self-improvement, personal responsibility, and environmental respect. In a relaxed and caring atmosphere, each camper is encouraged to enjoy new experiences and social relationships while gaining confidence and striving for proficiency in a variety of traditional camp skills and activities. High Meadows' emphasis is on personal achievement, rather than on keeping score or being better than someone else.

Each day, 300 children, from age 4 to rising 8th graders, are welcomed to the campus. Bus transportation is available from various locations in the north Metro area. Camper groups are arranged by grade level, and generally comprise 12 to 15 children with two counselors. Activities, offered at age-appropriate levels, include animal care, arts & crafts, archery, swimming (instructional and recreational), sports, canoeing, Native American lore, photography, pony rides, ropes, dance, performing arts, nature, pioneering and woodworking.

Preschoolers participate in a shortened day program with constant, nurturing supervision and exploration of the property and activities. The oldest campers, rising 4th through 8th graders, exercise responsibility and decision making in choosing and following their own class schedule, and by participating in the Knighthood program, which encourages high-level achievement and recognition in each of the activities.

The dedicated staff includes high school seniors, college students, parents, teachers and other professionals. Many staff members have been with High Meadows for over 10 years, or have been attending the summer camp since preschool.

High Meadows offers a unique, traditional, outdoor program with well-established traditions and an exemplary staff. Here, summer fun goes hand-in-hand with learning, achievement and enrichment.

Contact Info:
1055 Willeo Road
Roswell, GA 30075
Dates: June 6 to June 17
June 21 to July 9 (No Camp on July 4th)
July 11 to July 29

North Cobb Christian School Summer Camp
North Cobb Christian School believes summer is a special time of year for young people, and is proud to offer a variety of quality camps designed to bring a season of fun and discovery. Whatever your interest, North Cobb Christian Summer Camps promise to be an exciting adventure.

All camps are held at the school's campus, conveniently located between Acworth and Kennesaw, close to I-75 and Highway 41. Day Camps for rising Kindergarten through 6th graders are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Before (7:30 a.m.) and after (6 p.m.) care is available at no extra charge.

Activities include professional shows, creative crafts, melody makers, fishing, canoeing, archery, field trips to places like Imagine It! Museum, Sun Valley Beach and US Bowling, and fun with Wacky Food Days and Blowout Party Day. Academic camps for Kindergarteners to adults run one week and include Civil War Tour, Mad Science, Fun With Reading and Writing, Web Design, Animation with Flash, Cake Decorating and Beautiful Girl: Growing in Beauty, Style and Grace. Sports Camps are 4 to 5 days and include basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer, varying by camp for 3rd through 12th grades.

Contact Info:
4500 Lakeview Drive
Kennesaw, GA 30144
770-975-0252, ext. 195
Dates: May 31 to July 22

The Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance
The Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance has been teaching dance to the North Fulton area for 26 years. Dance classes are offered to students ages two to adult in five state-of-the-art studios. Each studio has wall-to-wall mirrors and floating hardwood floors; four of which are covered with marly flooring. Each studio also features closed circuit television, with a TV monitor in the lobby.

Staffed with 17 highly-qualified dance instructors, the school offers classes in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, acrobatics, hip-hop and toddler dance. Excellent, professional dance training is provided, as well as the warmth and understanding of each child's needs.

The Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance is also home to the Roswell Dance Theatre, which is the in-house performing dance company. The dance company consists of a ballet, jazz, competition jazz and tap company, and holds the title of Honor Company in the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association. The dance company performs The Nutcracker annually, along with another full-length ballet in the spring. Many of Tolbert Yilmaz's students have received college dance scholarships, joined professional dance companies and some are enjoying careers as teachers and choreographers as well.

Contact Info:
10400 Alpharetta Street, Building D
Roswell, GA 30075
770-998-0259 or

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