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VALLEY WEEKEND | BARGAINS

City Offers Affordable Summer Camps

May 16, 1996|GERI COOK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The experience of sleepover summer camp is one every child seems to love, but in most cases the prices eliminate all but the well-heeled. Current rates for two weeks at four camps for boys and girls ages 6 to 16 around the Los Angeles area run from $1,000 to $1,625--a touch high for the average family to handle.

So the bargain value of city-operated camps--Camp Hollywoodland for girls and the Griffith Park Camp for Boys--is readily apparent. Operated by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, the weekly rates at the girls' camp (ages 6 to 14) runs from $135 to $170 depending on which session you select.

For instance, Session 1 (June 24-29), which is called "Back To Basics" is just that--basic camping: campfires, hiking, arts and crafts and an overnight in the Angeles National Forest at Camp Valcrest.

At the high end is Session 6, titled "Friendship Week," with the usual hiking, swimming, archery, campfires and a trip to Disneyland. The price for each week varies with the field trips; along with the Disneyland week, there are also sessions that include either Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios or Magic Mountain as the field trip.

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At Griffith Park Boys' Camp, prices start at $165 per week. That price covers the costs for the first session, called "Griffo Days"--a celebration of the Olympic traditions of competition and sportsmanship--which includes a field trip to the Camelot Fun Park. Or, there is a midseason session featuring water sports (including surfing) and a trip to Cabrillo Beach, also for $165.

For a Disneyland field trip and a week devoted to studying the Indians who once lived in Griffith Park, the cost is $185. That same price also gets "Raiders of the Lost Camp" week, involving some kind of search for a sacred totem and a trip to Universal Studios.

The facilities at both camps are terrific; both my son and daughter attended these camps and loved them. The food is nutritious, and seems to be just what the kids want, and the counselors are well trained.

The season opens at Hollywoodland Camp on June 24 and concludes Aug. 31; at Griffith Park Boys Camp, the first session is July 8 and the season ends Sept. 7.

Here's how it works: You deliver your children to camp between 8 and 10 a.m. Monday morning and pick them up at 10 a.m. the following Saturday. One beautiful week for the camper and a glorious week for Mom and Dad.

Enrollment at both camps is limited, so don't think on it too long. There will be a camp open house to give campers and parents a chance to meet the staff and tour the grounds from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday and June 2. Camp Hollywoodland is at 3200 Canyon Drive, Hollywood (213) 467-7193, and the Griffith Park Camp for Boys is at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles (213) 664-0571.

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