Many parents experience soaring blood pressure as the school year comes to an end. This may be odd: after all, summer is approaching, the days are longer, traffic lessens, and everything should be happy and fun filled overall. But three months of summer holidays can lead to complete chaos without some form of structure or routine for the children.
This is where summer camps come in. Camps of every variety have mushroomed in the Bay Area: day camps; residential camps; camps specializing in technology, science, sports, language, and immersion; and the list goes on. The infinite options, however, lead to a different challenge—selection. Many variables influence camp selection, such as cost, duration (all day versus partial day), location, camp specialty relative to the child’s interests, and gender/age specificity to name a few. Below are a list of camps that cater to South Asian interests.
According to Ruchita Parat and Aarti Johri, the organizers of Discover India Camp, their vision is to “to provide a bird’s eye view of India and emphasize unity in diversity.” “It is a secular camp that gets into the history of various religions, provides a broader view of India, and complements the information provided in a school curriculum.” Procceds benefit Chinmaya Mission, San Jose. June 15-19, San Jose; June 22-26 Fremont; Aug. 10-14 Palo Alto; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Grades K-10. (650) 941-8685, (650) 858-1209. www.chinmaya-sanjose.org.
For children interested in languages, Ruchita Parat has also organized Hindi Conversation camps through the nonprofit organization U.S. Hindi Association. Children engage in dramatic play, arts and crafts, and indoor and outdoor games. Hindi immersion camps are also offered by ICC and the organization Madhu Bhasha Kendra. June 15-19 Palo Alto; June 22-26 San Mateo; July 6-10 Fremont; July 6-10 San Jose. Grades K-8. (650) 493-1566.[email protected]. www.eduhindi.org.
Chhandam offers kathak courses, allowing children to be immersed in the world-renown teachings of Pandit Chitresh Das. Children will not only study dance technique, but also theory, music, taal, history, etiquette, and the overarching culture from which this rich art form comes. July 20-24, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Ages 6-13. Fremont. (415) 333-9013.[email protected].
The India Community Center (ICC) offers some excellent one-camp-fits-all options. The camps range from Bollywood dance, cultural immersion, and history and crafts of India to science, chess, robotics/animation, and ping pong. According to Tanuja Bahal, the ICC camp director, “ICC’s signature camp is the cultural immersion camp. This camp is ideally suited for 5-10 year olds and integrates
yoga, music, dance, cricket, kabaddi, and arts and crafts.” Another unique feature, according to Bahal, is the Camp Counselor training program for high school children. The program teaches leadership, team, and community service skills for the high schooler and the younger camp attendees look up to the counselors as role models. June 15-Aug. 28. Milpitas. (408) 934-1130. [email protected].www.IndiaCC.org.
Samskritam Youth Camp
Held near the scenic Point Bonita Lighthouse, the camp boasts hiking, games, yoga, and sports, while learning Sanskrit. June 17-21. Ages 11-18. Point Bonita. (650) 391-5553, (408) 431-0507. www.samskritabharati.org.
All World Gayatri Pariwar
This camp focuses on the teaching children compassion and awakening the spiritual through meditation, reflection, and lowering stress. Youth will learn rhymes and memory games, vedic math, and engage in lego challenges, puppetry, and other lessons. July 29-Aug. 2. Stockton. (408) 660-3946, (510) 992-6314. www.camps.awgp.us.