A Family’s First Summer Camp Story

This is a letter sent to us by a local family, who chose Encompass Summer Camps as their toddler’s first enrichment program. Both our 2-year old camps and our toddler playgroups are wonderful first experiences for 2-year olds where they are guided through developmentally-appropriate play and are able to have fun with other toddlers. Parents benefit from access to our expert staff and connections with other parents of toddlers.


Enrolling my 2 year old son in Encompass summer camps was the best thing I could have done for his growth and development.  Registration opened late March and I nervously signed him up for 3 camp sessions.  As a first time mom I was going through some uneasy and challenging times with my toddler.  He was very content being with me and only me.  If I put him in a situation where he was with other children, he would cling to my leg.  I took it in stride but wondered if he would ever get over his separation anxiety.

In April, my son turned 2, and was showing signs of improvement.  His language and social skills were developing into that of a typical 2-year old.  He would parallel play with other children but would keep his focus on me.  Every time he was left with a sitter there would be tears.  If I walked out of sight he would start to panic.  He preferred me over anyone else.  I was starting to think my parenting skills weren’t up to par and then the first day of summer camp came!

I vividly remember dropping Reid off for the Planes, Trains and Automobile camp in June.  We met our friends outside and all walked in together.  When it came time for me to say goodbye and leave I was shocked to see that he was okay.  I expected him to look for me and cry.  Instead he walked in to the classroom and started playing with the trucks.  I was relieved and excited to see that there were no tears but then thought to myself, what if he was just distracted?  Second day of summer camp came and I walked him to the class room again…and still no tears!  I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  We both needed this positive experience.  Since he loved being at camp so much I decided to sign him up for a 4th week.

As a mom, one of the best things about summer camp was bringing home all of the adorable and creative artwork he created.  Together we went through his masterpieces and framed a few for his room.  Needless to say my kitchen walls and fridge are plastered with art!

Miss Nikki and all of the summer camp counselors were great and always greeted us warmly when we walked in.  Eventually it got to the point where my son would run in to the class room and start playing without giving me a goodbye hug and kiss.  Summer camp at Encompass truly cured his ongoing separation anxiety and for that I am grateful.  Thank you so much!

~Jenna, North Bend

hansen

 

Advertisements

6 Ways to Ensure Your Summer Camper is a Happy Camper

1summer campby Julie Forslin, Early Learning Manager, Encompass

Summer has become a time to engage in learning opportunities—choosing the right summer camp from all the great options in the area can feel “in tents”! There are camps for children of all ages, abilities, personalities, schedules and interests—and I am going to share my 9 years of experience managing Encompass’ summer camps to guide you through the camp selection process.

For 15 years, Encompass has been the enrichment summer camp of choice for Snoqualmie Valley families. We offer more than 40 unique themes including: “Terrific Trains,” “Cooking up Science,” “LEGO Mayhem,” “Mud, Muck and Goo,” “Gymnastics” and “I Love a Parade.” Don’t miss out on your child’s favorite camp—register now—there are only 12 spots in each camp!

Let’s get started!

  1. Discover what is available in the area. Macaroni Kid has already created its 5th Annual Summer Camp Guide broken out into categories including art instruction, dance, music, theatre, gymnastics, learning & fun, nature experiences and sports instruction. There is a calendar view so you can match up your child’s interests and schedule to what is available.
  2. Create a short list. Gather recommendations from friends, neighbors and your child’s peers to understand the values, operating procedures and scheduling of each camp. Most camps are not a daycare solution.
  3. Identify the camp’s program emphasis. Enrichment-focused camps combine the fun of camp with academic and social skill building. These types of camps are designed to mitigate summer learning loss, review academic skills and accelerate learning. Other camps offer freedom to pick and choose activities. At Encompass, we want to make camp a fun and memorable learning experience for your child, while remembering that it is summer and they need time to play and have fun with their friends.
  4. Know the staff-to-child ratio. Your child should be well supervised and get lots of attention at camp. For day camps, these are the average staff-to-child ratios: 1:8 for campers 6 to 8 years old, 1:10 for those 9-14 and 1:12 for campers in the 15-18 age range. Special needs camps would have a much lower staff-to-child ratio. One of the reasons Encompass has been voted Most Loved Summer Camp is our very low staff-to-child ratio of 6:1 in 4-10 year olds olds and 4:1 in two year olds.
  5. Inquire about the camp staff. Who works with your child is critical to your child’s camp experience. In addition to facilitating camp activities, counselors serve as role models and should be dependable, trustworthy and show enthusiasm for their role. Encompass’ own preschool teachers lead all camps except golf, gymnastics and drama—whose teachers are contracted professionals from these fields in the community. All lead teachers are first aid/CPR certified. We hire college and high school students to act as camp assistants and role models for the campers. One of our current preschool teachers started as a summer camper herself, was hired as a camp assistant as a teen and went on to teach preschool and summer camps.
  6. Can the camp accommodate special needs? If your child has special needs, either physical or behavioral, be sure to ask if the camp is equipped to handle these special requirements for your child. Encompass offers camps to children with all abilities and can make accommodations if necessary for all children to participate.

I hope this has helped you begin your adventure in choosing the right summer camp for your family! We are very excited about starting our 15th year of offering amazing fun-filled camps at Encompass and we have some great new options this year as well as some old favorites.

Summer at Encompass
A variety of theme-based, enrichment-focused summer camps are offered at Encompass for children from 2- to 10-years old. Our drop-off camps are a week long (or 3 days for 2-year olds) for a half day—or you can blend a morning and afternoon camp for a full-day experience!

Special Needs & Camp Assistant Programs
Champ Camp is an Encompass program designed to meet the needs of children who can benefit from structured teaching to help strengthen their social language and behavioral skills*. For older campers, we offer our 11-13 year old teacher assistant program—this is a great opportunity to gain leadership experience by working with younger students and there is the possibility that these students can become paid assistants in the future.

40+ Unique Camp Themes!
New camps this year include “Penguins to Polar Bears”, “Monsters Inc.” and “Mini Olympics”   . We added a second “LEGO” camp as well as a “Superheroes” and “Mythbuster” camp. And the always-popular “I Love a Parade”, “Spy Kids” and “Amazing Artists” camps are back! Each camp includes teacher-planned, age-appropriate, theme-based craft and activities. Encompass prepares healthy snacks daily for all campers and activities take place in both our beautiful outdoor and indoor learning environments.

Download the full schedule, camp descriptions and fees.

I am looking forward to seeing returning campers as well as meeting new campers and their families to welcome them to the fun that is Encompass summer camps.


Julie Forslin is the Director of Early Learning at Encompass. This is her 9th year as manager of Encompass summer camps, 3rd year as Early Learning Manager and she taught camp for 4 years. She also has 14 years’ experience as a preschool teacher. Contact Julie at 425.888.2777 with your questions about Encompass summer camp. Register at encompassnw.org.

*application required

1summercampfacts