It's hard to create a truly comprehensive list of summer camps — there are so many genres: sleepaway, toddler, arts, theater, day camp, science and exploration. This week, we're focusing on one area: sports.
If your youngster loves being physically active, there are a number of sports-centric camps available for budding athletes. If we've missed your favorite here, please add it in the comments!
- Pirate Sports Camp at Seton Hall University makes use of Division I-level facitilies to host a multi-sports co-ed sports camp for children ages 7-12. The camp runs just two weeks: August 1-5 and August 8-12. You can sign up for one or both camps. But don't wait too long! This camp is popular. Kids enjoy basketball, swimming, soccer and more. Plus some arts & crafts and group competitions. A nice feature is that the camp is indoors — so kids don't get sunburned or overheated.
- Seton Hall also offers more specialized basketball and baseball camps for older children (11-17) featuring sessions with Division I coaches.
- Any local YMCA is a great place to check for summer sports camps. The South Mountain YMCA in Maplewood offers general day camps and many, many genre camps (including drama!), plus a number of sports camps. Skateboarding was a favorite for my son last year (nevermind the stitches!). The Launch & Grind camp is very affordable and you can sign you child up by the week (June 27, July 5 and/or July 11). Each week, campers make a day trip to a skate park including Hackettstown Skate Park and Garden Sk8 SkatePark. Open to Grades 1-8.
- South Mountain Y also hosts Sports Galore camp for ages 5-10. The camp runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and gives kids the opportunity to play a variety of sports from "around the world in a fun, safe environment." Campers will receive technical instruction in each sport and then experience the sport in a realistic game situation. After lunch campers participate in Olympic Games and World Cup competitions.
- Affordable tennis programs are available in most towns. Maplewood Tennis utilizes town courts. Class are open for peewees, groups and individuals. There are also spring programs, so sign up any time — online!
- If your budding Sampras or Sharapova is getting serious about tennis, check out Centercourt in Chatham where every level is taught from QuickStart, to Tournament Level to High Performance. It's pricier than local rec department options but invaluable for serious little tennis stars on the rise.
- Fairleigh Dickinson is known for its very serious, professionally run summer sports camps for girls and boys in sports such as tennis (girls and boys, ages 5-17), basketball (ages 7-17, girls and boys), soccer (girls and boys 10-13), field hockey (girls 12 and older), football (ages 14-18) and lacrosse. They offer separate lacrosse overnight camps for boys and girls ages 8-18.
- The David Brothers All Star Lacrosse Camp offers camps for all ages and genders and in different towns. I'd been warned that the camps are very "hardcore," but my 8-year-old sporty dude LOVED his week with Brothers and company at Floods Hill last summer. Here's the schedule for summer 2011:
(River Road Fields, Bedminster NJ. - Youth and H.S. Boys)
(Floods Hill, South Orange NJ. - Boys)
LBI Session III:
(Sunset Park, Harvey Cedars NJ - Youth Boys and H.S. Boys)
LBI Session IV:
(Sunset Park, Harvey Cedars NJ- Youth Boys and Youth Girls)
- The South Orange/Maplewood Adult School recently posted its summer children's camp catalogue online. Parents are able to plot their children's activities throughout the day with various classes from music to arts to science, but there are also sports options — including fencing and karate. Classes are open from grades 1- 12, and children from other communities are welcome.
- The New Jersey Fencing Alliance, located in Maplewood, offers classes at all ages — including for children. No summer camp program is posted on the site at present, but classes run year 'round. The Alliance is a statewide draw, and has some Olympians on staff.