Santa Barbara has been dubbed “the American Riviera,” and it certainly lives up to the moniker. A stunning, laid-back Golden State community replete with every activity you could dream of between the mountains and the sea, the city boasts sandy beaches, world-class wine, and thrilling nature just outside its proverbial front door. Founded in the late 1700’s, the Spanish influence can still be felt today - from the Old Mission Santa Barbara, and among the charming architecture of the the city’s historic structures. Less than 100 miles from Los Angeles, it’s the ideal destination for filling those dog days of summer or resetting the clock in the fall, especially amid all the uncertainty of recent times.
Our family planned a recent weekend staycation with the goal of getting outside, exploring the environs and experiencing a screen-free few days away. “Santa Barbara’s favorite beachside hotel” located in the city’s popular West Beach neighborhood, The Eagle Inn (www.theeagleinn.com) proved to be the perfect “home base.” The charming bed-and-breakfast style boutique property - characterized by its historic Santa Barbara Spanish-Colonial architecture - is literally steps away from the marina and beach and all its attraction and recreation and easy walking distance to the iconic Stearns Wharf, The Funk Zone and State Street, the area’s main shopping/dining destination (more on that in a minute).
All of the inn’s guest rooms are luxuriously appointed with modern amenities and some of its accommodations feature oversized whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and verandas or patios. Our family stayed in one of the freestanding casitas (little houses) - the Santa Cruz which showcases an en-suite kitchenette and sun-drenched sitting room (with queen-sized sofa bed) afforded our family of four plenty of space to stretch out. Perks of staying here include the complimentary use of bicycles, daily hot breakfast delivered to your room and freshly baked cookies each afternoon.But perhaps the biggest benefit is its ideal location central to absolutely everything our family wanted to do for the weekend.
A three-minute walk to the Santa Barbara Harbor and we were ready to embark on a sunset kayak tour with our guide at the Santa Barbara Adventure Company (sbadventureco.com). We spent 2+ hours on the water, coasting by a myriad of watercraft from luxury yachts to fishing boats and kelp harvester and paddling past a dredge populated with an array of waterfowl- blue herons, California brown pelicans and gulls. Two particular highlights - the repeated appearance of a curious sea lion pup popping up between our kayaks and the visual spectacle of hundreds of terns diving from the sky to skim the surface of the water in front of us. Our super knowledgable, animated and entertaining guide Mark made our tour memorable - and it’s obvious he loves his job. Seriously, what’s not to love - we all had so much fun, we could get used to spending every afternoon on the water.
Or at the ocean’s edge. The next day we borrowed bikes to pedal the Cabrillo Bike Path which connects Shoreline Park to Butterfly Beach - about a four mile, mostly flat trek that takes cyclists past the Santa Barbara Harbor and the iconic landmark Stearns Wharf (the oldest working wharf in the state, built in 1872 - with spectacular views of the Santa Barbara coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains), along a palm tree-lined path from East and West Beach and the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge before arriving at a scenic overlook surrounded by floral blossoms with the sparkling seas of Butterfly Beach below.
Self-guided walking (shopping and dining) tour
Santa Barbara’s hard-hit hospitality industry has been incredibly inventive and resourceful in adapting to COVID-19. One of its major developments is a temporary 9-block State Street Pedestrian Promenade, which opened in late May and will remain open at least until Dec. 8th. Restaurants have outdoor seating along the sidewalks and streets, and its a joy to stroll leisurely down the corridor.
We strolled to to breakfast at D’Angelo Bakery (dangelobakery.com) on Guiterrez Street. Offering freshly baked European style bread and pastries and delicious, made-to-order meals, D’Angelo has been a fixture in the community since 1991 - popular with both locals and tourists lucky enough to stumble upon this culinary gem.
As expected, my kids went right for the sweetest options on the menu - our son selected the “uniquely ours” Banana Foster French toast which arrived with an abundance of sliced banana and brown sugar, flambeed with rum, while our daughter opted for a traditional French toast made from fresh baguette slices. For my part, I went straight for the Salmon Breakfast Croissant and discovered my new favorite morning meal - a supremely flavorful fresh baked croissant piled high with smoked salmon, arugula, tomato, red onion and capers. In the mood for more of a mid-day meal, my husband tried a decidedly untraditional, tasty tuna salad sandwich with fresh tomatoes and olive tapenade on toasted country wheat levain bread.
In addition to its flavorful food, it’s worth mentioning the stellar service here. We were warmly greeted by restaurant manager Alex and his staff - all extremely gracious and attentive. It’s no wonder that every table in the outdoor courtyard was occupied for sit-down dining while guests queued up to order takeaway.
The Funk Zone
Once a manufacturing hub in the 19th century, a 13-block mixed-use area near the waterfront, east of State Street, has been affectionately dubbed the “Funk Zone.” Old warehouses and manufacturing plants have given way to a flourishing subculture of artists’ studios and galleries, mural and street art, eclectic wine-tasting rooms, craft breweries/tap rooms, artisanal shops and eateries. Which leads us to Lucky Penny (luckypennysb.com). Located in the heart of the Funk Zone, this small, stand-alone eatery’s exterior is tiled with 164,456 real copper pennies and is home to innovative artisanal pizzas from a wood-burning oven, locally sourced garden fresh salads, griddled paninis, house-made lemonade and handmade sweet treats, including made-from-scratch popsicles. On a warm day, try the signature house-made Frosé, a delicious slushie for adults.
Lucky Penny’s wood-fired pizzas were a huge hit - for the kids - the East Coast Pepperoni topped with san Marzano marinara, fresh mozzarella and parmesan and for their mom - the San Daniele Prosciutto and Summer Melon with burrata, pickled fennel and toasted ciabatta. Other inventive options include the Roasted Maitake Mushroom pizza made with garlic cream, grilled sweet corn, mission figs, parmesan and arugula.
Take the scenic drive or hike to one of Santa Barbara’s four stunning waterfalls, tucked into the city’s front country. Ranging from easy to intermediate, each hike makes an easy round trip adventure for the whole family. Prefer the beach? Throw a blanket down at one of many sandy ocean stretches along the coast. From dog-friendly Arroyo Burro to world-famous East Beach, there’s something to keep everyone occupied.
Fine dining, boutique shopping, beachside biking, coastal kayaking or nature hiking in one of the Central Coast’s most sought after retreats. What better time to escape? What better place?
Visit Santa Barbara
By Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer, Capistrano Unified School District
In past years, the Capistrano Unified School District’s (CUSD) annual college fair has featured representatives from more than 200 universities and colleges, giving thousands of district students and families the opportunity to meet one-on-one with reps and collect information in one place.
That will still be the case for the district’s 2020 college fair, but with a couple of big changes.
This year, CUSD’s college fair has gone virtual and will take place over a four-day period instead of one day.
CUSD is hosting the fair from Oct. 12 to 15. Families can get all the information and register by going to the district’s college and career planning website, cusd-futureology.org, and then clicking on the CUSD Virtual College Fair link.
“We collaborated with our college rep partners from all over the county and all over the world and they have registered and provided their own personal university Zoom links, “ said Beatrice Nguyen, a CUSD College and Career Counselor, who helped plan the event. “We want the families to have that (same) sense of autonomy of walking from table to table and choosing who they want to speak to.”
The Zoom links will be posted live on the college fair website on the first day of the fair, and parents and students and can jump from rep to rep and learn about each school, Nguyen said.
More than 200 colleges and universities are expected to be represented during the fair program, Nguyen said.
“We are going to have a whole spectrum of representation from the Ivy League to the tiniest liberal arts schools and private schools out there,” Nguyen said. “There will be Cal States there. There will be UCs there. The purpose of this is to widen a student’s scope and just let them see how many options they have out there and how many schools might fit their personal needs because it really is an individual choice.”
Also on the first day, which runs from 3 to 8 p.m., two college showcases will take place that run concurrently with the virtual college table displays.
The college showcases include 80 back-to-back, three-minute live highlights from schools, with presenters talking about what makes their programs unique.
“These quick highlight presentations are really great and the reps are really good at highlighting some of the most interesting or important things we need to know about that college,” Nguyen said. “Our hope for this is for families, in the course of two hours, to get the same amount of exposure to a lot of schools without having to do anything but sit down and watch. That was the point behind the showcases.”
The next three days of the fair run from 4 to 7:45 p.m. and will feature a series of 45-minute breakout sessions on a variety of topics.
Those topics include “College Options for Students with Learning Differences,” “Exploring Engineering Programs,” “How to Research Careers and Majors in Your College Search,” and “Pulling Back the Curtain: Applying to Visual & Performing Arts Schools.”
Students and parents will also have access to a “webinar locker” throughout the fair. The webinar locker contains recorded presentations and sessions that the CUSD has hosted in the past. Session recordings will be available the week of Oct. 26. Registration is required for the college showcases and breakout sessions.
“Our district really is offering one of the more comprehensive virtual college fairs,” Nguyen said. “At least in the county. So we’re really proud of that.”
To register and for more information, visit www.cusd-futureology.org/college-fair
We Are Hiring!
Para-Educators needed for all CUSD elementary schools. Please see page 59 for more information.
Your Local Resource from Concept to Completion
Pssst. Hey, you, yes you – it is me the Cat. I knew being on the cover in my Sunday best would get your attention - and now that I have it - I’d like to tell you a little about my good friend John Schrab and his tile store - Morena Tile & Stone. John’s family has been setting tile for four generations. His Great Grandpa Tat, – installed the Mosaic State Seal in the Arizona State Capitol building in 1921. His Grandpa – Earnest, was a tile and stone Craftsmen with over a hundred men working for him. His Dad John was a rodeo cowboy, tile and stone contractor and setter who passed his knowledge down to him. As one can imagine, setting tile takes its toll on the body and after 35 years on his paws and knees, John decided it was time to pursue his dream of owning a tile store.
John took over the Morena Tile San Juan Capistrano in 2014 and over the last six years he has put together a real sweetheart of a showroom … 5000 square feet of fun, imaginative and up-to-date tile and stone including porcelain, granite, marble, travertine, limestone and quartz from over seventy – five vendors. Add a few fun-loving customer service-oriented teammates, and a cat as a mascot, and poof you have got yourself one hell a dream come true.
Homeowners, designers, and contractors alike love the selection and the convenience of shopping locally in a store where everybody knows your name. Stop in and have a bite of lunch, a cup of coffee (or have a nip of something a little stronger if you get my drift…) while you look around and talk to one of the designers who are at the ready to give you ideas to get your project started, help with design and tile selection in order to bring your project to life. They know the importance of treating customers like family and handling your dream project as if it were their own.
So, what are you waiting for?! Head on over and have a look-see for yourself – huge selection of tile from mild to wild you can find it at Morena Tile and Stone. Or call first and reserve some time with a designer (no charge for you, tell them “The Cat sent you.”)
Cat Tip: If you need a fabricator for your countertops, or someone to install your tile, they have a fabrication shop on site with crews of experienced master craftsmen who have been with John’s family for decades. You will love how they combine their cutting-edge machine technology with old-world craftsmanship - which allows John the motto, “ we make things pretty everyday.”
The Morena Tile team’s penchant for imagination and fun extends to its marketing - variations of this playful feline has become synonymous with the company’s moniker in South OC.
32951 Calle Perfecto
San Juan Capistrano
At press time, there are over 35 counties in the state of California on Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 watch list. The phrase “watch list” doesn’t necessarily conjure visions of an idyllic vacation destination. Instead, it brings to mind images of a black and white FBI most wanted poster, plastered on community message boards and local law enforcement Twitter feeds. There is a raging debate about reopening schools in the fall, whether masks and social distancing will be enough to protect the kiddos walking out of their private quarantines and into a shared space with 30 other children. We’re headed for a fall full of masks and hand sanitizer, instead of pumpkin patches and spiced lattes in our carpool cupholders.
And yet the gorgeous summer weather is here. The beaches beckon. I know, because I’m feeling it personally. As happy as our home is, it’s always nice to have a change of scenery, perhaps even more so today than ever. A familiar refrain of family and friends these last few months is to keep in perspective the silver lining in this unprecedented time of staying close to home. However redundant it might sound, having more time as a family means we can spend more time as a family. And San Diego’s perfect climate, inviting beaches, abundant outdoor activities, and unbelievable accommodations make for an easily accessible, atmospheric time away - even if only for a few days.
When researching options, we were hoping it wasn’t too tall an order to arrange an accommodation that was on the water, amenity-rich with family-friendly recreational opportunities (boat, jet ski or kayak rental - and a preferable heated - swimming pool were on our wish list). Hitting the mark on all counts, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa stood out as our family’s first choice for a proverbial “end of summer/ease into fall” family-friendly staycation.
Dedicated to providing the most tropical and luxurious resort stay that safety and proper sanitation practices can deliver right now, the Polynesian-themed resort is a tropical hideaway that offers up an ambiance and experience that feels as though you’re on a Hawaiian island vacation sans the five-hour flight.
Cool ocean breezes, warm, friendly hospitality, sunny days, starlit nights, verdant greenery, tiki torches, waterfalls and ponds full of colorful koi, majestic palms swaying in the afternoon breeze and beautiful exotic birds that strike up conversation with passerby - these are among the things guests can expect here. That’s before mentioning the sparkling Pacific and long stretches of white sand beaches literally steps away. The Catamaran’s tropical vibe artfully blends the Aloha spirit where each of the property’s 310 luxurious suites, studios and hotel rooms feature a private balcony or patio with breathtaking views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Beach neighborhood and coastline, or the property’s lush tropical gardens.
The resort’s signature restaurant, Oceana Coastal Kitchen features chef-driven, California cuisine and a modern, ocean-inspired design and ambiance defined by sweeping panoramic waterfront views (its adjacent Moray’s lounge is characterized by flickering flames from tiki torches and lava rock fire pits). Ranging from casual and family-friendly to upscale, the space includes several distinct ocean-inspired dining areas (the quartz-topped cold bar is embedded with mother of pearl and sea glass; the focal point of the main dining room is an impressive 800-gallon aquarium. In today’s cautionary environment, Oceana is serving Executive Chef Steven Riemer’s playful interpretation of classic dishes outdoors with patio dine-in service (seating is limited, so reservations are recommended).
Our family is represented on all culinary fronts. I am a seafood aficionado. My husband, Tim, is a meat-and-potatoes man. Our 12-year-old daughter has a pretty adventurous palate, but her 13-year-old brother always opts for traditional kid-friendly fare. There was something for everyone on Oceana Coastal Kitchen’s menu - abundant seafood selections, beef and chicken entrees and a variety of delicious flatbreads, including a sweet fennel sausage and classic pepperoni.
For my part, I went with seafood from start to finish - the hamachi crudo with white miso, micro cilantro and jalapeño from the cold bar was a wonderfully flavorful appetizer, followed by seared scallops paired with toasted couscous, preserved lemon and mint. Tim’s grilled-to-perfection Harris Ranch ribeye arrived with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and broccolini, preserved lemon and chili with bordelaise sauce.
We spent the entire day outdoors - starting with a spin around the bay aboard a 19’ Rinker rented through Action Sport Rentals (www.actionsportrentals.com), San Diego’s premier land and water sports rental company with multiple locations, including at the pier at the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa. The powerboat we chose is a fast, fun craft that’s also a super comfortable ride for up to seven passengers - while boaters stay within the bay, our experience alternated between a leisurely cruise in the channels an an exhilarating ride at speeds topping 40 mph.
Sunbathing and paddleboarding, relaxing by the pool, or simply cruising down the boardwalk definitely make my top-ten-distractions-from-home-schooling list. Choose a garden suite or tower escape at Catamaran Resort Hotel, grab a coffee or cocktail, and treat the entire family to some of the finest cuisine in America’s Finest City. We can all agree that times are challenging, and certainly, they may not clear up shortly as we’d all prefer. But who’s to say we can’t add a little joy to our definition of “new normal”?
Catamaran Resort Hotel
3999 Mission Boulevard
By Jeanne Huybrechts, Chief Academic Officer & Allison Wilson, Senior Director of Curriculum and Innovation Preschool-Grade 2, Stratford School
We are excited to welcome students back for the upcoming school year with safety in mind and plans for a flexible learning environment.
To date, we have established priorities aligned with our school’s mission and goals for students, created a return-to-school plan, and are building out support systems for several potential contingency plans. Here’s a preview of our plans:
Our commitment to the health and safety of our school community is paramount. We will abide by all state and local statues, heed the advice of health organizations, notably the CDC, and maintain a clean and healthy environment within our schools. Additionally, we will implement several strategies to encourage behaviors known to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Quality Academic Programs
Depending on the final state and local statues for this school year wherein shelter-in-place or reduced-occupancy mandates are imposed, we will be ready to transition to one of several teaching and learning models, among them (1) a period of distance learning or (2) a hybrid of distance and on-campus learning (necessary, for example, if classroom capacity limits are imposed). Again, an uninterrupted traditional school year is our fervent hope however, every imaginable alternative scenario is being explored.
Commitment to Improvement
The school has committed to investing in computer hardware and software upgrades to aid in any hybrid accommodation we may face, and also at the request of our teachers, who, during the distance-learning period, learned and developed creative uses for instructional technology and learning programs, which they hope to continue using.
School year 2020-21 teacher training will focus almost entirely on blended learning techniques – how to develop curriculum and programing with clear through-lines that seamlessly integrate traditional and modern teaching pedagogies, synchronous and asynchronous learning, in-person and digital experiences.
A Caring Atmosphere
In all of our distance-learning interactions with students, we tried to bridge the digital gap with some playfulness, some fun, and other manifestations of care and connection. In advisory meetings and in academic classes, we incorporated elements that supported social-emotional health. During our months apart, social-emotional learning was more relevant than ever.
Onward with Optimism!
As communities begin to open back up, it is important to be mindful of potential messages around COVID-19 that may be confusing to children. Introducing proactive, age-appropriate discussions about how school might look different when they start the new school year are important topics in which to engage and develop as information evolves. This continued focus around what we do know about the virus and sharing the things that are within our control can help build confidence, and a level of comfort, in our children.
And, as we begin to plan for this upcoming school year, we are still driven by the mission and vision that attracted us to teaching in the first place, and we are reinvigorated by the creativity and inventiveness unleashed in response to extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We will begin the school year grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn as we move onward to an excellent future!
To learn more about Stratford School or to schedule a personalized virtual tour go to stratfordschools.com!
The landscape of education evolved once again on July 17, when the governor issued a directive concerning when Orange County schools would be able to reopen with students on campus. While many schools struggle to keep up with the rapid changes brought about by COVID-19, leaders of Fairmont Schools feel their five campuses -- including the new preschool through grade 12 location in San Juan Capistrano -- are uniquely positioned to pivot and thrive in this challenging time.
Experience Plus Innovation
Voted Orange County’s Best Private School for five consecutive years, Fairmont has been a leader in private school education since its founding in 1953. Nearly 70 years’ experience equates to many lessons learned. So when the winds of education shift, as they are right now, no school is better-equipped to respond than Fairmont. As Orange County’s largest and oldest private school group, Fairmont is poised to provide its innovative individualized learning experience to students, regardless of the method of delivery.
Ready for Remote
Building upon an already-strong remote program, the school invested heavily in technology and training to elevate the level of instruction it can provide to students who will be learning from home this fall. Small classes, differentiated learning, and rigorous curriculum are part of Fairmont’s “tried and true” formula for producing successful students of all ability levels. It’s a formula that has served students well for decades, and it’s one that has been integrated into the school’s remote learning program.
Another thing that sets Fairmont apart is the lengths its teachers and staff go to in caring for the overall well-being of students. “This has always been important, but perhaps never more so than it is right now,” said Chad Jackson, Fairmont’s president. “Supporting our students’ social and emotional needs is key to our remote instruction.”
Prepared to Reopen
When Orange County schools are cleared to have students return, Fairmont will open the doors of its new San Juan Capistrano campus with a plan that ensures safety is paramount and students come first. At that time, Fairmont will be offering in-person instruction -- five days a week and full days with experienced teachers, further differentiating itself from almost every other school in south Orange County.
Fairmont’s teachers and administrators have been hard at work researching best practices for reopening, from sanitation and logistics to teacher training and technology. The school’s Reopening Task Force continues to consult extensively with medical and education experts, while monitoring local, state and federal guidelines to ensure its campuses can open safely. That plan includes everything from “the basics” (such as the use of social distancing, face coverings, and rigorous sanitation) to incorporating physical enhancements (such as the installation of touchless restroom fixtures).
“We are living through very challenging times, but Fairmont’s focus hasn’t shifted,” said David Jackson, Fairmont’s chairman. “Our students come first, and our teachers and staff have been working tirelessly to ensure everyone’s return to school exceeds expectations -- regardless of whether a child learns from home or in the classroom.”
Fairmont is now enrolling P-12th grade students for the 2020-21 school year across its family of schools in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, North Tustin and San Juan Capistrano. To learn more visit fairmontschools.com or call 714-234-2771 to schedule a tour.
By Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer, Capistrano Unified School District
Capistrano Unified has spent the last three months building a reopening plan for the fall with the priority of providing an excellent education while ensuring the health and safety of our students and school employees.
On July 17, Governor Newsom announced that all schools within Orange County will be required to open the 2020-21 school year using online learning ONLY. Governor Newsom made this a requirement for all counties on the state’s coronavirus monitoring list. CUSD will reopen classrooms and campuses when the updated guidelines allow for school’s to safely do so.
The centerpiece of CUSD’s Trustee-approved reopening plan is a robust, consistent, and engaging curriculum that aligns with the District’s core values and can be successfully delivered both in a traditional school setting and online. In preparation for returning to school in August, our Board of Trustees approved a comprehensive online curriculum that has been vetted, used consistently with success, and delivers the District core values of rigor, engagement, consistency, and flexibility.
Our hybrid reopening plan includes:
K–5 Options when Orange County is removed from the monitoring list:
Students can spend 100 percent of their school time engaging in online learning or attending class on campus. Or they can split their time between home and school.
Secondary Options –– 6–12 when Orange County is removed from the monitoring list:
Students can choose 100 percent online learning or spend half their time on campus with a flipped classroom format utilizing independent study. CUSD will ensure juniors and seniors continue to have access to the resources they need to increase their options for post-secondary life after high school.
This plan provides an enriched learning curriculum compared to the distance learning initiative that was implemented quickly in response to the pandemic this past spring. CUSD continues its commitment to excellence in curriculum and instruction.
The 2020-21 CUSD school year will include an integration of mental health, emotional support, and social emotional learning. Administrator training was held in July and teacher trainings will be held in August. Monthly parent webinars will be held during the school year.
CUSD will also continue to foster cultural diversity in partnership with the district’s Cultural Proficiency Task Force, established last fall, and with our students, families, and staff. A workshop is planned in the fall to update the school board and the CUSD community on planned strategic actions and initiatives we are undertaking in this regard.
Although we are navigating unprecedented times, CUSD remains committed to academic rigor, consistency, and providing an engaging and flexible online and classroom educational experience for all students, while protecting the safety and security of families and employees.
For more information on CUSD’s reopening plans, visit capousd.org.
I wanted to share my latest family photo to remind us all of what is important, our family and health. I hope all of you are staying strong physically and mentally during this time.
The recent economic challenges and governmental changes remind me why I have a practice that is centered on taxation, investments and financial well-being.
Access to information is easily available…however, it takes a professional with experience to interpret, direct and provide perspective on these changes to provide clarity, calmness and a path to success.
Hopefully, you find my articles of benefit. Here are some current thoughts on a variety of topics.
CALL NOW OR GO ONLINE TO SCHEDULE YOUR TAX Preparation or Planning APPOINTMENT AT (949) 248-9815, Ext. 1.
Securities and advisory services offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. PTWM and IFG are unaffiliated entities. Peter D. Prescott CA Insurance License #0733213.
For general informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualize tax advice. Please note that individual situations can vary.
Summer is upon us! Like many parents, you may be wondering if this time off from school should be spent on family vacations, planned activities at home, or summer camp. While family time spent together is extremely valuable, summer camp also offers many benefits that kids don’t necessarily get at school. The summer camp experience gives kids the opportunity to improve their “soft skills” and hard skills, meet and befriend new peers, and develop new interests. If you’re on the fence about sending your child to summer camp, here are a few things you need to know.
Kids tend to get branded with labels in school: nerdy, athletic, popular, loud and funny, quiet and shy. By going to camp with different peers, your child has a chance to break out of their supposed categorization. They might feel less pressure to conform to their school label. And they’ll remember that who they are at school isn’t necessarily who they have to be all the time. It’s refreshing.
One of the best things about summer camps is that there are so many of them that offer unique activities. There are over 14,000 day and resident camps in the United States, and they continuously adapt to the evolving interests of campers. Most camps offer traditional outdoors activities like recreational swimming and camping skills. New programs that have been introduced recently include adventure camps or programs, college planning, health and wellness, and more. If your child is interested in STEM hobbies like coding or robotics, going to a camp that specializes in these activities allows them to pursue their interests in a new setting. They’ll also encounter new ones at camp that they may not have considered before, like horseback riding or rock climbing.
Summer learning loss, “summer brain drain,” or “the summer slide” is real: many students lose two to three months of reading and math skills during summer break. There are a few ways to prevent summer learning loss, and one of them is attending summer camp. Summer camp pulls double duty, not only keeping kids mentally stimulated, but physically active as well. There’s a myth that campers attending STEM camps or tech camps stay indoors and on a computer all day, but that’s an old stereotype. A good summer camp will provide kids with a well-balanced variety of activities, both mental and physical.
Kids encounter the ultimate test of independence when going to camp: being away from their parents. They make small decisions for themselves: what to eat, what activities to do in their free time, who to talk to if they have a question or problem, and so on. These new experiences can be hard, but they’re ultimately worth it because of the boost in self-esteem and confidence.
In addition, camp can teach kids many other essential life skills: teamwork from working on projects, respect, and openness when meeting new peers, and resilience from navigating something new on their own.
In a study by the American Camp Association, an overwhelming number of campers said positive things about their camp experiences with other kids. A whopping 96% of campers said camp helped them make new friends, and 93% said camp helped them get to know kids who were different from themselves. Kids can bond over living together at resident camps or participating in the same hobbies at day camps. Kids who go to the same school may become friends out of proximity, but kids who become friends at camp have deeper connections rooted in similar interests.
Sending your child to summer camp clearly benefits them, and it benefits parents, too. Giving kids time away from their home, family, and belongings can help them appreciate what they have when they return. In addition, spending time away from each other can be revitalizing for both kids and parents. If you are looking for a STEM/STEAM summer camp that offers an enriching experience, take a look at Summer@Stratford. Stratford School’s summer camps tailor activities to each age group, providing campers with hands-on learning projects and real-world problems to tackle in a fun way.
By Anthony Cupo
In recent years, there has been an increase in awareness on the need to expose children to camping activities. Exposing children to camps increases their sense of self-reliance, ambition, adventure, optimism, and self-esteem. Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children with varying abilities to distance themselves from daily stressors.
Such a favorable environment enables children to explore their individuality. Gaining in-depth insights about themselves increases their sense of autonomy and responsibility. Children often spend most of their formative years in the same neighborhoods, reducing the diversity of their daily interactions. Camps provide children with a suitable platform for forming bonds and interacting with new peers. Due to the intricate nature of children, parents should prepare for their camp in a systematic manner.
When preparing their children for camp, parents need to know about a number of preparations. These include the need to involve the children during formulation of decisions, safety measures, sharing rules, as well as talking about the formation of new friendships.
To enhance the efficacy of the camping experience, parents should involve their children in essential decisions. Parents should inform their children about camp. Parents should gather in-depth insights of various types of camps in order to determine their children’s eligibility. Parent have discussions about camp assessments with your children. Adoption of this strategy helps in calming fears about camp. Parents should seek their children’s opinion in relation to the camping activities. Establish an interactive environment that allows children to raise pertinent questions in relation to camp activities. Children may experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to camp. Addressing these fears and anxieties beforehand will enable children to assume active roles during camp. Parents should role play various camp activities with their children. Role-playing is essential because it familiarizes the child with the anticipated conditions and activities of camp. During discussions, parents should encourage their children to form goals that will boost the relevance of their stay at camp.
Before enrolling their children to camps, parents need to know about the available safety measures and dietary accommodations. Parents should gather in-depth insights on whether the camps have safety features and measures that align with their children’s unique needs. The camp should have a license of practice from the relevant authorities. Parents have a key role of ensuring that their children undergo through physical examinations to determine their ability to participate in diverse activities during camp. Parents should ensure that camps have appropriate safety measures that protect children from engaging in negative activities such as drug use, violence, and bullying. Parents should coordinate with the camp organizers to discuss they ways they protect the children. Parents should speak with their children on the importance of protecting themselves. Such healthy discussions between parents, children, and camp organizers increase the efficacy of the camping activities. In addition to gathering insights of the available safety measures at camps, parents should also consider the dietary accommodations. Some children may require well-prepared and nutritious diets in order to enhance their wellbeing. Parents should ensure that the diet at camp does not increase their children’s susceptibility to contracting lifestyle ailments such as diabetes and obesity.
Parents should enlighten their children on sharing best practices. With so many new people around many infectious ailments are likely to spread within camp due to sharing of personal items. Sharing personal items such as handkerchiefs, clothes, and towels is likely to enhance the spread of lice and skin diseases. Children should avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, combs, and earrings. Sharing of make-up brushes and wipes is likely to cause eye infections. It is important to enlighten children on the adverse effects of sharing manicure tools and nail polish. These tools are likely to spread germs that may cause toe and finger infections. Children should, however, be encouraged to share other items such as toys, books, and painting brushes.
Forming friendships is a vital part of children’s emotional and social development. Friends increase a child’s ability to develop high self-esteem, altruism, self-confidence, and social competence. Friendships among children helps develop their own identity as well as learn about themselves. Friends help to reduce camp stress and help navigate developmental experiences. Parents should also consider the camp’s ability to enable the children to form new friendships. It is important to consider the child’s social skills. Parent should inform the camp organizers of any existing challenges in their children’s communication abilities and social skills. In order to prepare children for the camping experience, parents should help them understand the importance of sharing, respecting the feelings of others, and autonomy. In addition, parents should increase their children’s awareness on how friendships work. During preparation for the camping exercise, parents should teach their children about conversation breakers and role play conversations they will engage in at camp. Boosting the children’s confidence will calm their fears and increase their ability to relate with others in a suitable manner.
Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children to form collaborative relationships with their peers from diverse backgrounds. Camps equip children with skills that enable them to cope with daily stressors. In order to enhance their children’s camping activities, parents should involve children in the derivation of essential decisions that relate to camping for the best outcome.
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.