Marin Mommies is pleased to present a guest article by Ally Kushin, Camp Director for Coastal Camp at Headlands Institute. She discusses the increasing problem of nature deficit disorder and highlights local opportunities to connect children to the natural world. Ally has worked in the field of environmental education for the past 9 years as a naturalist, park ranger, and camp director.
In 2005 the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv popularized the term “nature deficit disorder.” In it, he refers to the trend of children spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral, social, and medical problems. Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the “lure of the screen,” referring to increasing electronic media consumption.
Children who spend more time in nature are known to develop increased concentration, memory, and self discipline. The latest research has established amazing connections between the amount of time spent in nature to everything from better grades to increased immunity to germs to stronger bones.
Gymnastics is not only great for coordination and balance, but it's a lot of fun, too, which may explain why it's a popular summer camp activity. Pyramid in Corte Madera, Marin's oldest gymnastics club,offers weekly morning and afternoon intensive summer camp sessions for boys and girls starting June 13. The Pyramid summer camps introduce kids to real gymnastics, where they'll receive instruction on the six Olympic events for men and the four Olympic events for women. Campers have plenty of opportunities to develop their coordination, strength, flexibility, and balance in a safe and fun environment.
Pyramid offers morning and afternoon sessions, depending on age. The morning summer camps offers five weekly sessions that run Monday–Thursday from 10 am–noon for children six year of age and older. The cost for the morning summer camps are $120 per session. The afternoon summer camps are for children in pre-k through sixth grade and are held Monday–Friday; pre-k and kindergarten camps are from 2:45–3:30 pm, kindergarten–second grade from 3:30–4:15 pm, first–fourth grade from 4:15–5:15 pm, and third–sixth grade from 5:15-6:15 pm. The cost is $65–$75 per session.
Are you still not quite sure which summer camps are right for your kids? Do you have lots of questions, but don’t have the time to contact each camp? Then don’t miss the free Marin Summer Camp Fair on Thursday, March 31, 2011 from 4:30–7:30 pm at Dominican University of California. Over 100 of the top local summer day camps for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students will be on hand to present their offerings and answer your questions.
Some of this year’s participating camps include Camp Doodles, Camp Galileo, Studio 4 Art, Marin Theatre Company, Marin Treks, Tutu, and TGA of the North Bay. There will also be several popular residential (sleep-away) camps represented, too. The Marin Camp Fair is a community event managed by the Dominican University Athletic Department as a service to Marin County families and camps.
Are you searching for that perfect summer camp for your children? Looking for swimming or soccer lessons? Check out the local Marin County parks and recreation departments and community centers for tons of great camps for this summer. There are many wonderful and unique camps to choose from including: Mountain Bike Camp at the Marinwood Community Center, Angel Island Camp through the Belvedere-Tiburon Recreation Department, Camp KidMarin through the San Anselmo Recreation Department, and Pre-school Science Camp at the Mill Valley Community Center. These are just a few of the variety of classes and camps to choose from. Just click on the links below to go directly to the parks and recreation department or community center in your town.