2014 Summer Camp Guide

From art to science and from nature to sports, Delaware summer camps offer something for just about everyone.

Happy campers at Alley-Oop Skim. Photo by Sheckells

Kerry and Brandon Case are busiest at work each summer, and with school out, the owners of the Antique Prints gallery in Ocean View find it a challenge keeping their children, Sadie, 9, and Max, 7, not only cared for but also happily occupied. 

“We’ve tried the babysitter route, but after the fourth day in one week at the pool, the kids are bored,” Kerry Case says.

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Scheduling a variety of summer camps has turned out to be a much better solution for the family. So each spring, Case gathers camp materials and guides such as this one and starts scheduling the family’s summer.

Last year it was five or six weeks of art, sports and themed camps for the kids, including a Star Wars camp at Kids Cottage in Rehoboth Beach for Max. 

Ryan White of Wilmington found out last summer that you have to plan early to get into some camps. Ryan and her husband, Bruce White, are Realtors, so their schedules are somewhat flexible. Still, they both work full time, so summer camps are an essential part of the child-care solution for daughters Grace, 4, and Honey, 2, who attend preschool at Christ Church in Greenville.

“If we didn’t have summer camp, I’d probably have to turn to day care. I’d rather do camps because the kids are doing different things throughout the summer,” Ryan White says. “They’re playing a lot and being entertained with different themes and activities.”

White has already started her research this year. It will be Honey’s first year at summer camp, and her mother wants to coordinate the two girls’ schedules to make drop off and pick up easier. She also tries to coordinate summer camps with friends of her daughters, so they’ll have at least one buddy there with them if it’s a new environment. 

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“It’s a little challenging to schedule and coordinate all the different camps,” she says, but worth it for the whole family.

Below is a list of some of the state’s summer camp offerings, including both day and residential camps for children of all ages.


Alapocas Run State Park

The only Delaware state park with a rock-climbing area offers kids ages 8-17 the chance to learn about the sport in a beautiful, forested environment in Wilmington. Four sessions are offered for different age groups: Rock Climbing Nature Quest Camp (ages 8-10) is offered twice, June 16-20 and July 7-11. Rock Climbing Adventure Camp (ages 11-13) runs June 23-27. Rock and Rappel Climbing Camp (ages 13-17) takes place July 14-18. Fee: $275 Quest Camp and Adventure Camp; $325 for Rock and Rappel. destateparks.com, 577-7020


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Alley-Oop Skim

The place for skim boarders at the Delaware beach is also the place for kids to learn more about this popular sport. Camps are suitable for all skill levels, ages 6-16. Weeklong, full-day sessions are held at Delaware Seashore State Park; three-day mini-sessions are held at Dewey Beach. Sessions run June 23-Aug. 8. Fee: $170 mini-sessions; $340 full day. alleyoopskim.com, 227-7087 



Bellevue State Park

This North Wilmington park offers a variety of half- and full-day camps for kids ages 4-15. The littlest campers, for example, attend half-day camps with topics such as A Walk in the Woods and Nature’s Rainbows. Older campers spend full days learning to fish, investigating insects or trying kayaking, paintball, rock climbing and zip lining. Fee: $100-$340. destateparks.com, 761-6963 



Biggs Museum of American Art

This Dover museum lets kids ages 5-10 release their inner artist in one-week, half-day ArtVentures camps with themes like Cartoon Creation (July 7-11), Color Explosion (July 14-18), Swashbuckling Pirates (July 21-25) and Puppet Pizzazz (July 28-Aug. 1). Fee: $125 members; $150 non-members. biggsmuseum.org,
674-2111 ext. 101



Blue Rocks Baseball Camps

Kids ages 5 to 12 can participate in two-day sessions with Blue Rocks players serving as counselors and camp staff. First, campers will learn drills and techniques from the minor league players; later, they’ll use those skills in scrimmages on the Blue Rocks field. The half-day camp sessions are offered June 25-26, July 12 and 14, and Aug. 13-14 at Frawley Stadium. Fee: $99. bluerocks.com, 888-2015



Brandywine Creek State Park

With 933 acres of woods and fields and Brandywine Creek running through it, Brandywine Creek State Park has space and a variety of terrains for hosting summer campers ages 4-14. The younger set attends for half days and the older kids for the full day. Topics include Nature Explorers, Outdoor Adventure, Wildlife Investigators, Water Adventures and Wilderness Survival. Fee: $95-$225. destateparks.com, 655-5740



Brandywine Zoo

Kids will go wild for a day camp at the zoo. Mini-day camps (ages 4 to 5) are available in morning or afternoon sessions. Kids can learn about baby animals, take an imaginary safari or use their senses to explore. Full-day camps are available for ages 4 to 13. Budding artists (ages 6 to 9) can create nature-inspired masterpieces, while budding zookeepers (ages 10-13) can learn to care for animals as the zoo staff does. Fee: $125 half-day; $200-$300 full-day. Member discount. brandywinezoo.org/camp.html, 571-7788



Cab Calloway Summer School of the Arts

Red Clay School District’s charter school for the arts celebrates its 5th year of summer camp by adding camps for children entering kindergarten to second grade. More than 60 different topics are offered in one- or two-week sessions running from June 16 to Aug. 1, including kid-pleasing subjects such as broadcasting, theater, remote-controlled airplanes and video-game programming. Due to ongoing construction at Cab, camp will be held at McKean High School. Fee: $250-$285 per week. cabsummer.org, 766-3411



Camp Arrowhead

A big draw to this camp owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware is its location on 165 acres of woods, wetlands and beach on Rehoboth Bay, but parents also appreciate the daily chapel and nondenominational religious education classes. Younger children (entering grades two and three) can try out camp with three- to four-night stays, while children entering grades three to 11 stay for sessions of one or two weeks. Fee: Varies by session length.
camparrowhead.net, 645-5348



Cape Henlopen State Park

A variety of animal- and nature-themed camps at this seaside park gets kids ages 5-12 away from the TV and into the great outdoors. A few examples: The youngest kids can learn about animal families in Fishy, Furry, Feathered Families; kids ages 7 to 8 learn how to help nature in Stand Up for Nature, while 9- to 11-year-olds use teamwork to complete the Cape Challenge. Fee: $80-$225. destateparks.com, 645-8983



Camp JCC

Camp JCC offers a variety of camps, from a half-day camp for 2-year-olds to a “teen adrenaline camp” (campers go to a different water park each day). Kids in traditional camp make use of a low ropes course, an indoor rock wall, an on-site outdoor pool with water slide and Jcade, the interactive fitness arcade. Specialty camps include a Psalm writer camp and a filmmaking camp. Sports camps are also available. Main programming runs June 23-Aug. 15. Fee: $98-$365. siegeljcc.org, 478-5660



Camp Manito (Wilmington) and Camp Lenape (Felton)

Two, six-week day camps (June 30-Aug. 8) operated by United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware serve both children and young adults with all types of disabilities (ages 3-21) and those without disabilities (ages 6-13). Activities at both locations include swimming, arts and crafts, sports and computer enrichment as well as special guests such as musicians and demonstrators from the mounted police and K-9 unit. Fee: Camp Manito: $175/week, $160/week with early registration; Camp Lenape: $145/week, $130/week with early registration. Both camps accept Delaware Purchase of Care subsidies. ucpde.org, 764-2400, 335-5626



Camp New Hope 

Delaware Hospice’s camp for children who have lost a close loved one meets two times this summer: June 17-20 at Lums Pond (Newark) and Aug. 4-7 at Redden State Forest (Georgetown). The camp connects children in similar age groups to help them deal with their grief and discover that they are not alone in their situation. The fun, supportive environment includes art, discussions, playtime and sports. Sign up at least one month in advance of session. Free. delawarehospice.org, (800) 838-9800



Camp Tockwogh

The YMCA residential camp near Chestertown, Md., offers the traditional camp activities and then some. Located on the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, Tockwogh affords campers the opportunity to sail, water ski, windsurf, canoe or kayak. There’s no extra cost for any of these activities. Open to rising first- to 12th-graders, the camp offers one- and two-week sessions. Although run by the YMCA, the camp is open to members and nonmembers. Members receive a $100 discount. Fee: $836 one week; $1,635 two weeks. tockwogh.org, (410) 348-6000



Clear Space Theatre Company Camp

Held in the downtown Rehoboth theater, this camp has two different types of sessions. Three musical theater sessions are offered: July 7-11, “The Jungle Book” (grades 1-3); July 14-18, “Willy Wonka” (grades 4-6); July 28-Aug. 1, “Mamma Mia” (by recommendation only). The acting intensive, held July 21-25, includes a production of “James and the Giant Peach.” Fee: $300. clearspacetheatre.org, 227-2270



Delaware Aerospace Academy

The academy has been letting kids soar for 25 years. Children entering grades one to three can explore our oceans or learn about dinosaurs in half-day camps June 23-27 at the academy’s location in Big Oak Park, Smyrna. Older kids can blast off into space at flight- and space-oriented full-day and overnight camps. Day camps for middle school students are offered June 16-20 at UD. Older kids (grades seven to nine) can spend the week of July 6-11 living at UD and exploring space topics. Fee: $125 half day; $275 full day; $600 overnight. dasef.org, 834-1978



Delaware Art Museum

Kids ages 6-12 explore the art museum’s galleries and sculpture garden and release their inner artists by dabbling in a variety of artistic genres, including ceramics, painting, drawing, 3-D projects and more. The two-week sessions are themed and the children are divided into age groups of 6-9 and 10-12. Themes: The Great Outdoors (July 16-27), Faces and Places (June 30-July 11), The Artist’s Toolbox (July 14-25), and Animal Tales (July 28-Aug. 8). Fee: $500 members; $560 nonmembers. delart.org, 351-8551



Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts

DCCA on Wilmington’s waterfront holds six camp sessions taught by teaching artists, with half-day sessions for the youngest and oldest campers and longer days for other kids. Topics include Wondrous Wearables (ages 4-6); Ordinary Object, Extraordinary Art (ages 7-9) and ’Zine Teens: Art Magazines for the New Age (ages 13-15). Fee: half day $130 members, $160 nonmembers; full day $225 members, $265 nonmembers. thedcca.org, 656-6466 x.7101



The Delaware Center for Horticulture

HELP (Horticulture and Environmental Leadership Program) is a camp designed to expose students to gardening, environmental issues and environmental careers through classroom instruction and hands-on projects. Most of the sessions will be held at Point Lookout Farm in Montchanin. Open to rising eighth-graders from low-income families. Free, plus students receive a stipend. thedch.org, 658-6262, ext. 107



Delaware Dance Company

Young campers have four opportunities to dance with DDC this summer: three, week-long programs revolving around a theme like Sleeping Beauty, and one two-week musical theater camp, “Schoolhouse Rock.” Older dancers (ages 10 and above) can study with the resident faculty and guest artists during the week-long intensive programs. All programs culminate in a performance at Mitchell Hall at UD. Fee: Varies by camp. delawaredancecompany.org, 738-2023



Delaware Nature Society

Campers participate in a range of activities including animal tracking, water play, hikes, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking and target sports. Age-appropriate activities are planned for every group, from 3- to 4-year-olds who will thrive in half-day camps with sensory-based nature adventures and live animal presentations, to explorers ages 11 to 15, who participate in outdoor and travel adventures. There’s even a Harry Potter camp for bookworms ages 9 to 12. Fee: $65-$610. delnature.org/programs, 239-2334



Delaware State University

DSU offers unique themes like Culinary Arts in the Hospitality Industry and MindStorm Robotics. Chemistry for Kids campers spend their days in the lab and learn about kitchen chemistry and chemistry related to crime scene investigation; rising third through sixth graders can cultivate their appreciation for the arts in Arts and Etiquette. K through third-graders can choose a Lego camp. Fee: $125. desu.edu, 857-6824



Delaware Technical Community College

Day camp is offered at all four of the college’s campuses—Wilmington, Stanton, Dover and Georgetown. Many of the classes emphasize STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) with fun topics CSI, mythbusters, video games and engineers r us. There are also a variety of other themes (photography, Spanish, comic book illustration) as well as sports camps. Fee: Varies. dtcc.edu/continuing-education/youth-programs, 857-1000 Dover; 259-6366 Georgetown; 454-3956 Stanton; 830-5200 Wilmington



Delaware Theatre Company

Summer on Stage is a favorite of budding actors ages 8 to 15, who create an original play to perform at the culmination of each three-week session (offered June 16-Aug. 15). Classes in acting, improvisation, movement and voice, and stagecraft are part of the program. In Summer on Stage Studio, older actors (ages 16-18) take specialized classes in acting techniques and then rehearse a published play to perform on the DTC stage (weekdays July 7-18) Fee: $725-$750 Summer on Stage; $525 Summer on Stage Studio. delawaretheatre.org, 594-1100



Easter Seals Camp Fairlee

For 60 years, Easter Seals has been providing a traditional, residential summer camp experience for children (ages 6 and up) and adults (21-plus) with all types of disabilities. Located near the village of Fairlee on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the camp has modern and fully accessible facilities. Activities can include wall-climbing, high ropes, canoeing, horseback riding and swimming. Staff-to-camper ratio is at least 1:3 and a nurse is on duty 24/7. Fee: $975-$1775. de.easterseals.com/fairlee, (410) 778-0566



First State Ballet Theatre

Who wouldn’t love to dance at The Grand Opera House’s professional studios? Dancers must have a minimum of three years of ballet training to participate. A four-week intensive program is open to dancers ages 12 to 22, and a three-week version is open to ages 9 to 22. International faculty teach classes on ballet, pointe, variations, modern and character dance. A children’s workshop is available to ages 4-9 (no prior ballet experience necessary). Fee: Varies. firststateballet.com, 658-7897, ext. 3851



HAC Summer Camps

At the Hockessin Athletic Club, kids get plenty of exercise along with camp activities like arts and crafts, because half of every day in HAC PAC II (ages 3-5) and III (6-12) is devoted to swim time and recreation time. HAC PAC III kids also go on field trips. Specialty camps are available in sports, martial arts, tumbling and yoga as well as Cheer Jazz Spirit Camp, HAC Olympics and Acro Dance Camp. Fee: $55-$339. hachealthclub.com, 239-6688



Kay’s Kamp

Children with cancer (or who are in remission) have a chance to reclaim their childhoods at the weeklong Kay’s Kamp, held annually on the St. Andrew’s School campus in Middletown. “Kampers” ages 5-17 participate in arts and crafts, sports, games, fishing and more from July 12 to 19. A medical team is on site, and chemotherapy is available on site. Free. kayskamp.org, (888) 539-3413



Killens Pond State Park

With a water park, pond, woods and fields, Killens Pond State Park will entice even the most indoor-oriented kids to spend the day outdoors. All levels of swimmers (ages 6-9) are welcome at Splish Splash for paddle boating, fishing and swimming (with lessons from Killens Pond lifeguards). Older kids (8-12) can kayak, canoe and paddleboat. Adventurers ages 9 to 13 can go rock climbing at Alapocas Run and visit Fort Miles and the Cape Henlopen State Park in the Extreme Outdoors camp. Fee: $35-$200. destateparks.com, 284-4299



Lums Pond State Park

Outdoor adventures await at Lums Pond. Half-day discovery camps for kids ages 4-6 meet at the Nature Center and include themes such as Treasure Quests and Pondside Adventures. Full-day discovery and adventure camps include Pirates of the Pond for kids 6-8 who itch to hunt for treasure, and Outdoor Survival for ages 11-14 to learn orienteering, archery, first aid and rock climbing. Fee: $175-$300 for full day. CIT registration, $25. destateparks.com, 368-6989



Sanford School

At Sanford Camps, all of the counselors are teachers. Traditional day camp on the sprawling suburban campus runs for 10 weeks beginning June 16. There are also sports and specialty camps ranging from baseball and basketball to cheerleading and dance. Although Sanford is in Wilmington, it offers a before- and after-care option at the Mary Magdalen Church in north Wilmington (with campers bused to and from campus) in addition to extended day at Sanford School. Fee: $295 and up. sanfordcamps.com, 475-8013



Shoestring Productions

Campers 9-16 can audition for the Shoestring Summer Showcase, which creates and then tours an original musical theater production. Also look for the musical theater audition skills class. Kids who prefer to focus on drama can enroll (no audition necessary) in The Play’s the Thing, which creates a mini-production in a week. Younger kids (ages 6-8) can participate in Sneakers, an introduction to musical theater. Fee: $115-$370. 762-0505



The Tatnall School Summer Camp

Hunger Games, Building/Engineering and Around the World are just a few of the 10 themed weeks for campers age 3 to grade eight offered at one of the largest summer programs in the areas. Specialty camps let kids explore science, technology and video-game design, sports, music and the arts. A swim team and swim lessons are also available at the on-campus pool. New offerings for 2014 are the Philadelphia 76ers basketball and dance camps. Fee: $170 half day; $265 full day. tatnall.org, 892-4347



Tower Hill

Kids enrolled in Summer at Tower Hill in Wilmington enjoy state-of-the-art facilities with air conditioning and turf fields. Half- and full-day camps for first-sixth grade are available, as well as half- and full-day Mini-Hiller camps for age 3 to kindergarten. Choose from more than 30 sports camps, academic sessions and enrichment sessions taught by counselors and coaches. Camps run from June 9-Aug. 8. Fee: $160-$275. towerhill.org/summer, 472-7370



The Music School of Delaware

Both the Wilmington and Milford branches offer programs for all ages throughout the summer in private instruction, early childhood classes, string, orchestra and chamber music camps, a piano institute and competition, instrument samplers and young composer opportunities. Program lengths range from weekly and week-long camps to all-day programs and one-day workshops. New this year: a summer enrichment program for preschoolers. Fee: Call for fees. musicschoolofdelaware.org, 762-1132



Trap Pond State Park

These full-day camps in Laurel help kids (ages 6-12) discover wildlife from every angle: fishing, learning about habitats and ecosystems, tracking animals, orienteering, and bird watching. Fee: $100. destateparks.com, 875-5163



White Clay Creek State Park

Half-day discovery camps for ages 4 to 6 explore a new theme each week and include creek time and puppet play. Full-day nature and adventure camps include Ultimate Games (four days of competitive outdoor games) and Stream Explorers: Mines & Minerals, which lets 7- to 9-year-olds complete experiments with minerals. Teens 14 years and older can apply to be a counselor-in-training. Fee: $100 discovery camps; $175-$225 full-day camps. CITs: $25 registration fee. destateparks.org, 368-6900



Wilmington Christian School

At Wilmington Christian’s Camp Win-Some kids entering K-9th grade spend the mornings moving from program to program (including dance, skits and crafts) and the afternoons on field trips that let them swim, ice skate and more. Wednesdays feature full-day field trips to Dutch Wonderland, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Amazing Maize Maze, among others. Sports camps also available. Programs run June 16-Aug. 8, with the option of three or five days a week. Fee: $165 for three days, $215 five days. wilmingtonchristian.org, 239-2121 ext. 3119



Wilmington Friends School

Families enrolling in summer camp at Friends can choose from among general and specialty camps (offered June 16-Aug. 22) for kids entering preschool to ninth grade. In addition to traditional camp activities, field trips are taken where kids can participate in bowling, ice skating or swimming. Specialty camps include British and Brazilian soccer, local adventure, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, reading, performing arts and fine arts. Fee: $150-$350. wilmingtonfriends.org/camp, 576-2998



Wilmington Montessori School

In traditional summer camp at Wilmington Montessori School, preschool-aged campers learn something new every day, and elementary school campers participate in frequent field trips. Kids 4-13 can enroll in specialty camps like Sound Engineering or Travel Through History with American Girl, or get active with archery, yoga or tee ball. Adults can join in on the scrapbooking camp. Fee: $115-$280 traditional; $215-$305 specialty. wmsde.org/camp, 475-0555



YMCA of Delaware

YMCAs from Talleyville to Rehoboth Beach have summer day camps that include a variety of activities, such as swimming, arts and crafts, songs, sports and games as well as field trips. You must be a YMCA member (youth or family membership) to participate. Fee: $160-$200. ymcade.org,



Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay

Camp Country Center

Camp Country Center (1051 Sharpless Road, Hockessin) is known for its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming. Girls will enjoy nature study, STEM and outdoor activities. Day camps include Iron Chef Girls (June 16-20), Applause: Music, Art, Drama, Dance (July 28-Aug. 1), Digital Media (July 28-Aug. 1), Science (Aug. 4-8) Fee: $210. gscb.org, 456-7150, (800) 341-4007

Camp Grove Point (Day Camp)

This camp in Earleville, Md., encompasses 265 acres on the Sassafras River and Chesapeake Bay. It offers eight themed weeks of day camp. Every girl will have the opportunity to do arts and crafts, play water sports, swim, learn about nature and use the challenge course. Popular themes include Camp Hogwarts and Iron Chef Girls. Lunches and all snacks are provided. Dates: June 16-20. Fee: $170. gscb.org, 456-7150, (800) 341-4007

Camp Grove Point (Resident Camp)

This camp in Earleville, Md., offers eight themed weeks of resident camp, including travel camps like X-Team Adventures in the Poconos, Camping the Peninsula, and Diving Into Guppy Gulch Quarry. Dates: June 15-20. Fee: $300 for resident camps, $390-$475 for travel camps. gscb.org, 456-7150, (800) 341-4007

Camp Todd

Camp Todd, located in Denton, Md., is known for its beauty and convenient location to the central part of the Delmarva Peninsula. Girls can swim and develop their knowledge and skill level in aquatics, try out the zip line, use the challenge course, and climb on the adventure wall. Themed weeks for all girls in grades 1-6 include outdoor skills, Camp Hogwarts, culinary adventures and dramatic arts. Dates: Mermastic, Splashtastic (June 16-June 20), Outdoor Survivor (June 23-27), Camp Hogwarts (June 30-July 4), Applause: Music, Art, Drama, Dance (July 7-11), Iron Chef Girls July 14-18. Fee: $135. gscb.org, (800) 341-4007

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