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Summer Camps

June 4, 2011 | By Diane Mastrull
Let's be honest about summer camp — it's no picnic. Well, maybe there's a picnic at some camps. The ones that are still in the woods, by a lake, where the focus is on swimming and communing with nature. But overall, summer camp has evolved into something decidedly less recreational. It's more like a classroom experience, where college and career preparation are the emphasis, not learning the breaststroke. Some camps have resorted to recruiting abroad to keep enrollment up, partly because of still-rough economic times.
March 29, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Summer camp can give kids a big dose of fun, independence and self-esteem. But parents should help first-time campers prepare for the experience, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. For camp to be a happy experience, parents should make sure kids want to go to camp, can handle normal homesickness and that the camp will provide activities that a child is interested in. That means involving the child in the choice, experts wrote. Parents should be positive about the child's trip to camp.
February 23, 2011 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Most summer camps are for children. But Camp H-D is a summer camp for big kids -- and big bikes. The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee is hosting five-day motorcycle camps in 2011 to give riders (and riders-to-be) a chance to immerse themselves in the culture of twin-cylinder two-wheelers and the Midwestern city that has been building them for more than a century. Costing $3,000 per person, each of the three camps includes a night out in Milwaukee and, of course, saddle time on a  hog. Each camp is limited to 20 participants.
September 1, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times
At Wyoming's Camp Paintrock, teens enter by crossing a bridge spanning a bubbling creek. Stepping over the bridge signifies so much more than arriving at camp with dry feet. For the young campers, the crossing symbolizes the first steps of a journey toward education and success. Beginning with Camp Paintrock, the young people will progress through the five-year experience that motivates students for high school and college success while providing an educational boost and needed financial resources.
August 25, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon
Attending camps E.L.K. and Coulter Pines in Wrightwood is a family affair for siblings Desirie Banuelos and Ricky Valadez. Run by the Covina-based San Gabriel Valley YMCA, the camps offer participants the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and escape from everyday routine. Now 17, Desirie has attended the sister camps for the last six years. When she was younger she attended Camp E.L.K., which serves children ages 7 to 13 (its initials honor the name of a YMCA executive). As a teenager, Desirie spent her summers at Camp Coulter Pines, eventually working her way up to a counselor position.
August 18, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times
"The kids are amazed by the squirrels and horses; it's like they've never seen a squirrel before," says Emily Cheng, the youth and teen director at the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA . "And they take pictures of just trees! Without a single person in the picture!" Cheng is talking about Camp Whittle, one of the 25 locations of the Metropolitan Los Angeles YMCA. This 125-acre site in the San Bernardino Forest is the perfect setting for youngsters to escape the city while taking part in outdoor activities that build relationships, confidence and self-esteem.
August 17, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Camp Laurel, which serves youths affected by HIV and AIDS, is much like any other wilderness camp. Children ages 6 to 19 enjoy canoeing, archery, hiking and arts and crafts, surrounded by nature in the San Bernardino Mountains. But it may be the only camp where participants search the wooded campsite for "Tootie Birds. " Campers are delighted to discover that these fabulously dressed, magical creatures are camp counselors in disguise. The "Tootie Bird" search is one of many ways that the counselors creatively enhance the experience for their campers each year.
August 16, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times
It's a hot day at Camp David in Mammoth, and teenagers are absorbed in an invigorating soccer game. As the sun beats down, the boys peel off their shirts and continue tearing around. All have the same energy and determination for their team to score a goal, but half are distinguished by the plastic catheters taped to their bellies. Diagnosed with severe kidney failure, they require daily treatments to stay alive and active. The National Kidney Foundation has sponsored them for a week at the YMCA-run camp.
August 15, 2010 | By Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times
For Tan Sheng and a group of Chinese teens, all it took was a raucous game of dodge ball at a San Bernardino YMCA to leave them dripping with sweat and falling for America — or at least for American-style summer camp. "This was pure fun. I have never played like this before," said Tan, 14, a student from Beijing. "In China our parents want us to study all the time. " Schoolmate Kang Lai agreed. "Even when we play basketball we have to use our brains. Here you just throw the ball and don't have to think," the 14-year-old said.
August 12, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times
"Imagine that it's raining lemonade!" Stephanie Snell hollers. Immediately, the 7- and 8-year-old girls clustered around their drama teacher take off in every direction to sip the make-believe sugary drops descending from the sky. One lifts her head and sticks out her tongue. Another giggles and jumps in the air. A third shrieks and squirms with disgust. Welcome to Camp Max Straus, where Snell's theater games are one of many ways that campers learn to express themselves and cooperate with others while also developing independence, confidence and self-esteem.
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