At 3:45 p.m. today I picked up two exhausted, starving, grimy kids up from their last day of Outpost Summer Camp and took them to the closest Luna Grill restaurant (kids eat free on Tuesdays after 4!). While we were sitting at our table talking about how much they were going to miss camp, our server came over, saw them in their dirt-covered Outpost t-shirts and said, “Oh I LOVED Outpost! I went there every year for 6 years. It was the best!”
Mallory and Gage attended the first session of Outpost’s 2013 summer camp and, from start to finish, it was a great experience for them AND for me.
Every Tuesday and Thursday for 3 weeks I dropped them off at Canyonside Community Park in Rancho Penasquitos. I worried at first that my children, who did not know any other kids at this camp, would feel lost when separated into groups by age and gender. But this forced independence seemed to be part of the fun for them along with silly songs, funny games, daily swimming, fort building, hikes to and exploring of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
I read this on the Outpost website for the first time today, and it really helps explain what my kids seemed to gain from their camp experience; “Most often, parents describe seeing in their child an increase in willingness to try new things, a greater comfort level with social situations, more confidence in making and keeping friends, and a huge desire to return for more camp the next season!”
I am very selective about the programs I enroll my children in, especially if they are going to be fully in someone else’s care. But I felt very comfortable with Outpost thanks to their staff’s excellent communication and organization. The pre-camp open house where the kids were introduced to their counselors and a few camp games was very reassuring to them and to us.
Here are a few other things that I particularly liked:
- We live outside of the Outpost van-service area, but hundreds of other families enjoy door-to-door service with 15-seat passenger vans picking up and dropping off their children each camp day for no additional charge. Talk about convenience!
- During the open house our kids each received two Outpost t-shirts, which made them feel like they were part of a special club. Moms love those shirts when they see the condition they come home in!
- Outpost gives a few options…full week, Tuesday/Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedules. As first-time campers, I’m glad my kids went only two days a week. However, they’d prefer to go every day next year.
- The groups are small and there are a lot of staff around to help. The ratio is 1:6 staff to campers and groups are about 8-12 children.
- Excellent communication and a staff that is extremely accessible. I even spoke with the owner on site several times (and so did my kids!)
- Finally, I like the philosophy of Outpost: “What children want most is to belong; to be accepted by a group of peers and the adults that lead their group. At Outpost Summer Camp, this is a central theme of all of our programming. We call this “group-centered camping,” and the focus is on creating an environment in which each camper feels like he or she belongs to the group. This in turn fosters confidence, creativity, social skills, and a positive sense of self and of community.”
There are two more camp sessions this summer. For more information, visit www.outpostsummercamps.com.