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Summer Camp

August 29, 2012 | By Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times
Cathy was getting mixed signals from her 14-year-old daughter on the way to YMCA Camp Whittle near Big Bear Lake. "Mom, I'm really excited but really terrified," Alison said from the back seat of the car. Seven days in a cabin with a group of strangers can be daunting for any adolescent, especially for someone as shy as Alison. But lately Alison's confidence has been growing: Cathy has spotted her singing along to YouTube videos, and she recently started voice lessons. Her new dream is to become a singer like Adele or Katy Perry.
August 26, 2012 | By Aida Ahmad, Los Angeles Times
It's a hot summer morning and the campers trundle through the gates of a Pasadena grade school, then fall in with their age groups: the Seeds, the Dates, the Coconuts and the Trees. A day of typical camp activities awaits: scavenger hunts, a "pirates and princesses" dress-up play and water-balloon tosses. But there is a difference here: Those activities are sandwiched between Koran recital, the Dzhur afternoon prayer and story time that includes tales about Mecca and Muhammad. Even as one of the counselors tries to bring order to the paper boat race, it's a moment peppered in faith.
August 11, 2012 | By Aida Ahmad, Los Angeles Times
Nine-year-old Alyssa Rosado has the sort of sweet face and pleasant personality that invite a warm hug. Her delicate and bashful mannerism draws people to her. Her favorite subject at San Pedro Elementary School in L.A. is math and she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. "I like to watch 'Grey's Anatomy' because they help sick people. I want to do that too," said Alyssa, playfully adjusting her colorful summer dress. But earlier this year she was falling behind in school.
August 4, 2012 | By Melissa Leu, Los Angeles Times
Miguelcloid Reniva is a boy of few words. He speaks only when spoken to, and answers in as few words as possible. But the 13-year-old who dreams of someday becoming a lawyer carries self-awareness beyond his years. "I'm very shy," said Miguelcloid, a skinny boy with glasses, when asked to describe himself. The Wednesday afternoon before Miguelcloid heads off to camp for the first time, he cleans without fuss the bedroom he shares with his cousins, 4 and 6, who mark a stark contrast as they yell in the background and make loud thumping noises.
August 3, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Casa Munras Hotel & Spa in Monterey is offering a late-summer family package that comes with camp for kids and spa and restaurant credits for Mom and Dad. Prices start at $249 a night for getaways through early September. The deal: The Camp Casa Kids Package comes with one four-hour Kids Camp Session in the morning or afternoon Fridays-Sundays. Activities for children are ocean-themed and include crafts, scavenger hunts and camp songs. Camp sessions are good for 5- to 12-year-olds; extra children may be added for $45 each.
July 27, 2012 | By Weston Phippen, Los Angeles Times
Many young boys want to be policemen, firefighters, maybe even astronauts when they grow up. But Salvador Brown-Garcia loves to build things with Lego toys. Sometimes he stacks them up into buildings, then he knocks them down like he's playing a real-life version of Angry Birds. When Salvador grows up, he wants to be an engineer. Salvador was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, and, although he's 14 years old, "mentally he's close to 8 or 10," said his mother, Christina Stainbrook.
July 13, 2012 | By Danielle Paquette, Los Angeles Times
Christian Jaimes has read precisely 363 books. He exclaims the figure with dead-serious fervor, rocking back and forth in a blue child-size library chair at the Toberman Neighborhood Center in San Pedro. At summer day camp, the 9-year-old can flip through "The Adventures of Captain Underpants," his favorite series, as much as he wants — as long as he finishes his math homework first. Today, it's a three-digit multiplication worksheet. "After I'm done with my work I always, always like to read," says Christian, chocolate brown eyes wide.
July 5, 2012 | By Danielle Paquette, Los Angeles Times
The call came in mid-December. "We're giving you a full ride," said a man, who introduced himself as the vice president of admissions at Syracuse University. "Room and board, books included. " Lizardo Reyes, 18, froze. He quietly uttered "thank you," pocketed his cellphone and stood dazed in the one-bedroom apartment he shares with his mother, father and brother near Koreatown. "I didn't believe it until the official letter came in the mail," he said. "And it didn't truly hit me until about two weeks ago. " Lizardo, who graduated from Palisades Charter High School in June, said intense studying and volunteer work kept him away from drug use and gang activity, which, he says, were rampant in his neighborhood.
June 20, 2012 | By Danielle H. Paquette, Los Angeles Times
Angela Marquez runs her fingers over the Braille atlas, reading aloud. "North America," the 10-year-old says, slowly. "South America. Pacific Ocean. " Joan Marason, director of wellness and enrichment programs at Junior Blind of America in Culver City, watches her student and grins broadly. "That's great, Angie!" Marason says. "You're doing such a good job!" Angela nods, shaking her dark braids. "I know," she says. "Can I go get the brailler?" She grabs her cane, feels around the room and lifts the silver machine that resembles a typewriter.
June 17, 2012 | By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times
For the first time in more than 30 years, NASA is allowing Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests inside the Launch Control Center. The tour shows where NASA directors and engineers supervised all 152 launches for the space shuttle and Apollo programs, including Firing Room 4, where all 21 space shuttle launches since 2006 were controlled. Info: . . . . The Yosemite Valley Visitor Center is featuring an exhibit of landscape paintings through the end of September.
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