Your 2018 Guide to Summer Camps in Delaware

Choose the best for your child.



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No one gets bored at board camp, especially if it’s run by Jason Wilson and Corey Mahoney. The real-life Aquamen run Alley-Oop, a skim boarding summer camp held at Dewey Beach. In three-day sessions, kids ages 6-16 learn skim boarding skills, compete in contests and get hang time with several of the sport’s best athletes.

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“Dewey is the skim boarding capital of the East Coast,” Wilson says. “It’s not one of the most popular sports in the rest country, but it has deep roots here.”

Dewey actively supports the skim boarding community. It is home to several events, including the annual Zap Pro/Amateur World Championships. That love of skimming inspires a lot of kids to try the sport. Social media helps. “A lot of our counselors have active social media followings and post their skimming photos and videos,” Wilson says. “Kids want to try because, quite honestly, it looks cool.”

They may not get cool right away—wiping out is part of learning. “They will take a few falls and tumbles, then get right back up,” Wilson says. “Happens to the best of us.” And Wilson is one of the best. He and Mahoney were 18-year old seniors at Cape Henlopen High School when they turned their love of skim boarding into a summer camp.

“Corey attended a lacrosse camp and was basically, like, ‘We can do this with skim,’” Wilson says.

That was back in 2000. Through competitions, both guys were getting a lot of attention for their skim skills, so they also gained a platform for launching their camp. Wilson’s father, Harry, owned the shop, then called Dewey Surf and Sport. That first summer, Alley-Oop had a dozen campers. Wilson and Mahoney were thrilled. They ran the camp while they went to college, creating a business while earning their degrees in business.

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That youthful vibe remains a central part of Alley-Oop, though Wilson is now a 35-year-old father. “Some of our instructors are pretty close in age to their campers,” Wilson says. “It creates a great learning dynamic because they can relate to one another.”

Courtesy of Alley-Oop

Campers are broken into groups by their skill level. Some 12 year olds are just as good as 16 year olds, Wilson says. Board sports don’t have age boundaries. “Skimming is art and sport,” he says. “The individuality of it allows you to put your own personal flair to it, and the vibe at Dewey is part of that style.”

Campers spend their days in the sand and surf under watchful eyes. “It’s a big commitment to leave kids at the edge of the ocean,” says Wilson. “Our camps are held on guarded beaches, and we have extra help on the beach from babysitters.”

Water safety is one of the things campers learn, but skimming is about adventure and having a love of the ocean and the outdoors in general. “Skim camp builds kids’ confidence hugely,” Wilson says. “They learn to respect the ocean, but not to fear it.”

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That ethic is in full force across the peninsula at YMCA Camp Tockwogh. There campers are sitting by the dock of a bay—the Chesapeake Bay—Tockwogh’s centerpieces.

“It’s a wonderful canvas for kids to develop or advance their water sports skills,” says camp director Jillian Wilczewski. “Who doesn’t want to spend the summer sailing and skiing on the bay?”

Tockwogh offers participation in a variety of sports, and kids can do hour-long sailing and water-skiing sessions as part of their regular camp curriculum. Or they can enroll in Tockwogh, a specialty camp for kids entering grades 8 through 11. Tockwoghers share meals and activities at Tockwogh, but live in their own cabins, and their schedules rotate around water sports. “It’s five hours on the bay,” Wilczewski says. “Tockwogh is for kids who want to be on the water all day, every day.”

Sailing is done on Lasers, one or two-man boats, and instruction is given by veteran sailors. Kids don’t need a lot of sailing know-how. Lessons—both “chalk talks” and hands-on experience—culminate in a regatta between Tockwogh and nearby Echo Hill Camp. “It’s a friendly regatta,” Wilczewski says, “although everyone wants to win.”

Water skiing follows the same pattern, minus the regatta. Kids learn techniques, then practice them—for hours. Wilczewski says that, at Tockwogh, water skiing is more strenuous than sailing. “Those kids are tired at the end of the day. It’s fantastic.” She echoes Wilson’s thoughts about the life lessons that kids learn when they are on the water. “It’s about being safe while having fun, respecting the water and confidently enjoying the outdoors.”

Confidence building is also on the menu of Tockwogh’s equestrian program. “Campers interact with our horses and learn to be comfortable around them,” Wilczewski says. “Knowing how to handle a horse gives them confidence in handling animals and a lot of other life situations.”

As with sailing and skiing, the equestrian activities can be done as an hour-long add-on to the regular camp schedule, or kids can participate in one of Tockwogh’s specialty camps. The program is open to kids who have completed grades 2 through 9. No prior experience is needed.

The program is, in fact, great for horsing newbies, Wilczewski says. On the first day, campers learn about in-depth horse care, including the correct terms for anatomy, riding gear and grooming. Over the next few sessions, campers learn basic veterinary care, tacking (putting the harness and saddle on and making it fit) and grooming (brushes and mucking). “It’s not just about riding,” Wilczewski says. “Horses poop, and they poop a lot. Kids have to be able to handle that.”

Then comes riding. Campers work with Tockwogh’s horse pros to evaluate their skill and create individualized goals. Some kids start with walking and trotting. Others are ready for galloping—and some can do jumps. Some campers don’t want to ride, but enjoy caring for the horses. Then there are kids who think they want to learn—but get freaked out by horses.

“With all of our activities, we talk a lot about kids being in a safe space, which means they are comfortable, a growth space, where they are a little afraid but can do it, or a panic space in which they shut down completely,” Wilczewski says. “If kids are in that panic space, we talk with their parents. Maybe tie-dyeing is better for them.”

If kids get freaked out at Blue Rocks baseball camp, it’s because they are awestruck by future major league players. Held at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, the camps run for three hours each on two consecutive days. On the field, kids participate in batting, pitching and catching stations run by Blue Rocks team members and staff. Kevin Linton, Blue Rocks’ director of community affairs, says team members volunteer to work at the camp.

“It’s fun for them to work with kids and give them a behind-the-scenes look at the sport they love,” Linton says. “It’s a basic learning camp to get kids introduced to baseball and see some of the nuances of the game. They come to learn but also to have a good time.”

The camp is open to kids ages 5-13. Sixty to 75 kids from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland attend each session. Though campers are mostly boys, some girls do attend. After camp ends, kids return to the stadium for a Blue Rocks game and create a high-five tunnel for players to go through as they enter the field. “It’s about making memories and instilling in them a love of baseball,” Linton says.

Though Blue Rocks, Alley-Oop and Tockwogh have specialty programs, many summer camps fill kids’ days with a variety of sports. “Our goal is active fun,” says Marie Cantrell, coordinator of Hockessin Athletic Club’s summer camp. HAC welcomes kids as young as 3, but the organized sports are for kids ages 6 to 12. “Many of our campers don’t have gym at school, so we introduce them to the rules and basic skills of different sports.”

For example, kids playing basketball start with dribbling, then learn games like Horse or 21. They even learn old-school games like kickball, dodge ball and whiffle ball. Volleyball, tag football, soccer—HAC does it all. Yoga is also a big hit. Not only do kids participate in yoga, but they understand the importance of breathing and its relation to stress reduction. HAC offers a two-week yoga program as one of its specialty camps. Open to kids ages 8 to 12, the camps include circuit training, themed obstacle courses, laser tag, and other activities that increase flexibility, strength and endurance.

Those basics are also embedded in kids who attend the general camp. HAC’s counselors teach campers the importance of pre-game stretching, cool downs and proper hydration. “It’s about loving sports and being active, and that’s our focus,” Cantrell says. “It’s not even about winning. When one game ends, we say, ‘We’ll get ’em next time’ and start another game.”

Achievement is recognized via two summer camp classics: color wars and Olympics. Color wars are team games. Olympics are individual sports. The Olympics at HAC are about more than just winning. “It’s a big day for us because we have friends from Special Olympics who join us for activities like water sports and boat races,” Cantrell says. “We have a big outdoor party and raise money for Special Olympics and the Delaware Foundation for Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities.”

It’s one of Cantrell’s favorite parts of every summer, and campers love it, too, she says. Sports are sometimes about teams, but it’s also great when everyone is on the same team.

Delaware Summer Camp Guide 2018

*denotes 2017 dates and rates

4-H Camps*

Newark, Middletown, Georgetown, Harrington, Selbyville and Rehoboth
Activities: nature education, animals, photography, cooking, camping
Ages: 5-12
Duration: three to four days a week, with overnight options, June-August
Price: $110-$310

Alapocas Run State Park*

Wilmington • 577-7020
Activities: rock climbing, nature
Ages: 8-16
Duration: one week, June-July
Price: $275-$325

Alley-Oop Skim

Dewey Beach • 227-7087
Activity: skim boarding
Duration: three to five days, June-August
Price: $225-$1,000

Art First Inc.

Hockessin  239-3544
Activities: arts and crafts
Ages: 4-14
Duration: one week half days, one week full days, June 11-Aug 17
Price: $130-$260

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics

Wilmington  594-0754
Activities: world languages and cultures, reading, math, photography, art, music, and summer school.
Duration: fives days to five weeks
Price: $299

Bellevue State Park*

Wilmington • 761-6963
Activities: hiking, fishing, nature education, extreme sports, photography, volunteerism
Ages: 4-15
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $100-$330

Biggs Museum of American Art*

Dover • 674-2111, ext. 101
Activities: painting, sculpture, drawing
Ages: 6-9
Duration: one week, July
Price: $125-$150

Kids are coached by players and staff at Blue Rocks baseball camp.//Courtesy of The Blue Rocks

Blue Rocks Baseball Camps

Wilmington • 888-2015
Activities: baseball
Ages: 5-13
Duration: two days, June-August
Price: $99

Brandywine Creek State Park*

Wilmington • 655-5740
Activities: nature education, science, outdoor adventures, sports
Ages: 5-14
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $125-$250

Brandywine Zoo*

Wilmington • 571-7850 ext. 209
Activities: animals, nature education, art
Ages: 4-17
Duration: full day, half day, one week, June-August
Price: $45-$55 per day, $130-$335 per week

Cab Calloway Summer School of the Arts

Wilmington • 766-3411
Activities: theater, fashion, music, dance, writing, science
Ages: K-12
Duration: one week, June 18-Aug. 3
Price: N/A

Camp Arrowhead

Lewes • 945-0610
Activities: arts, sailing, nature, Christian emphasis
Ages: grades 2-11
Duration: one week and biweekly, day and overnight, June-August
Price: $365-$1,120

Camp JCC

Wilmington • 478-5660 ext. 441
Activities: crafts, robotics, nature, sports, drama, Israeli culture, music, dance
Ages: pre-K-grade 9
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: N/A

Camp Madrid

Saint Ann School, Wilmington •
Activities: Spanish immersion
Ages: 4-12
Duration: half-day weeks, full-day weeks; July 9-13, July 16-20, July 23-27
Price: $175-$300

Camp Manito

Wilmington* • 764-2400
​Camp Lenape in Felton*  335-5626

Activities: United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware offers swimming, arts and crafts, sports, technology and music for people with disabilities
Ages: 3-21
Duration: July 2-Aug. 10
Price: $130-$175

Camp New Hope*

Newark and Georgetown • (800) 838-9800
Activities: Delaware Hospice’s camp for children who have lost a close loved one
Duration: N/A
Price: free

Candlelight Theatre Summer Camp*

Wilmington • 475-2313
Activities: musical theater
Ages: 12 and older
Duration: one week, July-August
Price: $525

Cape Henlopen State Park*

Lewes • 645-6852
Activities: animal and nature-themed camps
Ages: 5-11
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $70-$250

Caravel Day Camp*

Bear • 740-4333
Activities: art, swimming, computers, sports
Ages: grades 5-13
Duration: three days, one week, June-August
Price: $135-$195

Clear Space Theatre Company Camp*

Rehoboth Beach • 227-2270
Activities: theater
Ages: grades 1-12
Duration: one week, July-August
Price: $375

Delaware Aerospace Academy*

Smyrna and Newark • 834-1978
Activities: oceans, dinosaurs, space
Ages: grades 1-10
Duration: five days and one week, half days and full days, June-July
Price: $150-$650

Delaware Art Museum

Wilmington • 351-8551
Activities: ceramics, painting, sketching, cartooning, photography
Ages: 6-16
Duration: one week, two weeks, June 11-Aug. 17
Price: $225-$560

The Delaware Contemporary*

Wilmington • 656-6466, ext. 7101
Activities: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media
Ages: 7-18
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $225-$265

Delaware Dance Company*

Newark • 738-2023
Activities: dance, musical theater, crafts, games
Ages: 4-13
Duration: one week, two weeks, June-August
Price: $180-$515

Delaware Museum of Natural History

Wilmington  658-9111
Activities: nature, outer space, engineering, art, adventure
Ages: grades pre-K-8
Duration: one week, June 11-Aug. 17
Price: $150-$300

Delaware Nature Society*

Hockessin, Greenville, Wilmington • 239-2334
Activities: nature education, water sports, horseback riding, cooking, photography
Ages: 3-15
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $95-$570

Delaware Soccer Camp*

Newark • 533-5441
Activities: soccer
Ages: 3-18
Duration: one week, June-July
Price: $105-$168

Delaware State University*

Dover  857-6824
Activities: science, sports, business, robotics, food biotechnology
Ages: grades 1-12
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $20-$1,000

Delaware Technical Community College*

Wilmington • 830-5200
Stanton • 454-3956
Dover  857-1400
Georgetown • 259-6366

Activities: STEM, photography, cooking, illustration, sports
Ages: 4-17 (varies by location)
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: starting at $95

Delaware Theatre Company*

Wilmington • 594-1104 x 249
Activities: acting, improvisation, voice, stagecraft
Ages: 8-15
Duration: two weeks, June-August
Price: $775

Easter Seals Camp Fairlee*

Chestertown, Md. • (410) 778-0566
Activities: wall climbing, ropes, water sports, horseback riding for adults with disabilities
Ages: 6-adults
Duration: 5-, 6- or 12-day sessions, overnight, July-August

First State Ballet Theatre

Wilmington • 658-7897, ext. 3851
Activities: ballet, crafts
Ages: 4-22
Duration: one week to four weeks; June 25-Aug. 3
Price: $200-$1,300

Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay*

Various locations
Activities: Outdoor fun from archery to horseback riding and more teaches leadership and problem-solving skills
Ages: 6-18
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $200-$400

Hockessin Athletic Club Summer Camps

Hockessin • 766-7482 ext. 155
Activities: exploration, sports, martial arts, tumbling, yoga, dance
Ages: 3-12
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $62-$387

Hockessin Montessori School*

Hockessin • 234-1240
Activities: sports, arts and crafts, science, technology, dance, drama
Ages: 1-12
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $90-$275

i9 Sports*

Dover, Newark and Middletown • 894-3751
Activities: basketball, cheerleading, soccer, flag football, baseball
Ages: 7-16
Duration: one week, July-August
Price: N/A

Iron Hill Museum and Science Center

Newark  368-5703
Activities: nature education, hiking, arts and crafts, adventure, environment, hands-on activities and projects, rocks, dinosaurs, insects, and local history.
Ages: grades 1-6
Duration: June-August
Price: $175 – $260

Kay’s Kamp*

Middletown  (888) 539-3413
Activities: arts and crafts, sports, games and fishing for children with cancer
Ages: 4-17
Duration: July 22-29
Price: free

Killens Pond State Park*

Felton  284-4299
Activities: nature education, water sports, rock climbing, hiking
Ages: 6-12
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $150-$175

Lums Pond State Park

Bear  368-6989
Activities: nature education, water sports, rock climbing, crafts
Ages: 4-14
Duration: half day, full day and five day, June-August
Price: $75-$330

Mid-Atlantic Ballet*

Newark • 266-6362
Activities: ballet
Ages: 4-adult
Duration: five days, June 19-Aug. 4
Price: $150-$900

The Music School of Delaware*

Wilmington, Hockessin, Milford • 762-1132
Activities: music instruction
Ages: pre-K-adult
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $56-$375

Newark Arts Alliance

Newark  266-7266
Activities: visual and performing arts
Ages: 7-12
Duration: one week, July-August
Price: Varies based on income

Newark Day Nursery & Children’s Center

Newark  731-4925
Activities: teamwork, art, nature studies, sportsmanship, science
Ages: 6-14
Duration: week
Price: $215

Newark Parks & Recreation*

Newark  366-7000
Activities: sports, arts, dance, theater, nature education
Ages: 5-15
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $79-$333

Painting with a Twist Camp*

Lewes  313-5769
Activities: painting, games and other fun activities explore the sea, zoo or garden
Ages: 7-12
Duration: day, one week, June-August
Price: $40/day, $200/week

Sanford School*

Hockessin  475-8013
Activities: sports, computers, dance, nature, fashion
Ages: 3 ½-14
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $249-$2,448

Shoestring Productions of Brandywine Valley*

Wilmington  762-0505
Activities: musical theater
Ages: 6-16
Duration: one week, June-July
Price: $165-$380

Taking an Interest in Delaware’s Estuary (TIDE) Camp

University of Delaware in Newark; Lewes • 831-4842
Activities: Delaware Bay sampling and exploration, atmospheric and marine science instruction, laboratory and research vessel visits
Ages: 14-17
Duration: 13 days, July 8-20
Price: $2,000

Tatnall School Summer Camp*

Wilmington  892-4347
Activities: science, technology, sports, sewing, chess, dance, arts
Ages: pre-K-grade 12
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $190-$795

Tower Hill School Summer Programs*

Wilmington  472-7370
Activities: sports, academics, technology, sewing, woodworking
Ages: pre-K-grade 8
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $135-$450

Trap Pond State Park*

Laurel  875-5163
Activities: nature education, fishing, hiking, science
Ages: 6-15
Duration: one week, July-August
Price: $150-$275

University of Delaware

Activities: sports, science, robotics, cooking, music, academics, nature education
Ages: grades 1-12
Duration: three days, one week
Price: varies

University of Delaware Community Music School Summer Camps

Newark  831-1548
Activities: band, choir, jazz, music theatre, orchestra
Ages: 6-18
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $250 – $700

White Clay Creek State Park*

Newark  368-6900
Activities: nature education, sports, adventure
Ages: 4-14
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: $125-$225

Wilmington Friends School*

Wilmington • 576-2998
Activities: sports, nature, performing arts, fine arts, technology
Ages: pre-K-grade 9
Duration: one week, June-August
Price: starts at $295

Wilmington Montessori School*

Wilmington  475-0555
Activities: nature, sports, cooking, theater, technology
Ages: 1-14
Duration: three to five days, June 18-Aug. 19
Price: $120-$355

​Along with water sports, Camp Tockwogh offers an equestrian program.//Courtesy of Camp Tockwogh

YMCA Camp Tockwogh

Chestertown, Md.
Activities: horseback riding, sailing, water sports, leadership
Ages: grades K-9
Duration: overnight, one week, June 24-Aug. 17
Price: $990-$1700

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