11 sleep-away camps to send your kids this summer

Already dreading summer vacation? Here are some sleep-away camps around Reno/Tahoe where you can send your kids this summer.

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Perhaps nothing is as iconic during summer months as hiking Lake Tahoe, making s’mores and belting out stirring renditions of "Kumbaya" surrounding a roaring campfire. And for local kids, these tried-and-true routines often take place during sleep-away camp.

When Reno resident Lynnette Bellin was ready to send her daughter to Camp Galilee, her first sleep-away camp, she was surprised to find it wasn’t the same caliber of experience she remembered from her own childhood.

“The food was what knocked my socks off — all organic, locally sourced, and made on site,” she said. “My daughter didn’t know a soul when I dropped her off for camp, and she was 8 years old. She went in confident and excited, and was glowing when I picked her up. It was all I had hoped it would be for her.”

Now, Bellin and her husband are parent pros, having sent their kids to three different camps.

“I believe summer camp is a rite of childhood and is an excellent way to build confidence and independence in children,” she said. “Both of my children started going to sleep-away camp when they were 8, and I plan to send them every year until they have outgrown it. I’d love to see them become camp counselors one day.”

Interested in sending your child off to sleep-away camp? Here are a few local options.

Availability is limited, so make your plans soon.

4-H Youth Development Summer Camp Program

4-H Youth Development Summer Camp Program is operated by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning. The 4-H Camp's private, sandy beachfront, pier, and lawns offer activities like volleyball, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.

Camp Galilee

Camp Galilee offers religious-based summer programming for youth and families. Youth Camps are open to ages 7 to 17, with one-week sessions offered from late June through mid-August. Family Camps provide opportunities for relaxation, arts and crafts activities, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.

Camp Star Bound

Camp Star Bound is a performing arts and musical theater program that also offers hiking, fishing, water activities, karaoke, campfire and arts and crafts. Located at Galena Creek, Camp Star Bound participants learn from professional dance instructors, actors, choreographers, vocal coaches, and theater teachers. Family is encouraged to attend the end-of-week "Glee Style" Camp Showcase. Open to performers entering 5th through 12th grades, beginner to advanced. Dates: June 24-30.

Camp Wasiu II

At Camp Wasiu II, Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to: swim; canoe at Packer Lake; cruise the lake on a stand-up paddleboard (grades 4+); hike in the forests surrounding camp; work towards badges, patches, or Journey Awards; roast s'mores over a campfire; have a cookout; do arts and crafts; stargaze; hit a bulls eye at archery (grades 2+); sleep in a tent; learn and sing camp songs. The dates for 2018 were not available at press time.

Great Basin Naturalists

Great Basin Naturalists at Galena Summer Camps are held in the forest at Camp WeChMe Lodge, located within the Galena Creek Recreation Area. Science-themed residential camps include supervised overnight accommodations, healthy food, weekly trips to Lake Tahoe, and fun evening activities like night hikes, campfires, games, and talent shows. Ages 8-12. Dates: July 2- Aug. 3, various sessions.

Shaffer's High Sierra Summer Camp

In addition to the sleep-away summer camp classics everyone loves — like archery, arts and crafts, performing arts, swimming (pool and lake), and volleyball — Shaffer's High Sierra Summer Camp offers wilderness adventure activities including backpacking and hiking, challenge ropes course, disc golf, gold panning, horseback riding, lake kayaking, mountain biking, mountain boarding, paddle boarding, rock climbing, shelter building, and whitewater rafting. For boys and girls 8 to 17.

Sierra Nevada Journeys Summer Camp

Sierra Nevada Journeys Summer Camp attendees participate in archery, kayaking, swimming, tie-dye, arts and crafts, sleep-out, and a challenge course, which includes the Alpine Tower, zip line and Flying Squirrel. Dates: June 17-Aug. 3, various sessions.

Walton’s Grizzly Lodge

At Walton’s Grizzly Lodge, camp life centers around a private lake near Portola, California. Campers choose daily from more than 40 activities including water sports, horseback riding, craft activities, athletics, archery and ropes course activities, which include a 500-foot zip line across the lake. For ages 7-14.

Music camps

If your child is a musician, check out these residential band camps:

  • Donner Mine Music Camp: Held at the Zeibright Gold Mine in the Sierra Nevada foothills. For ages 10-18 (entering sixth grade through entering the first semester of college in the fall preceding camp). Dates: July 9-14 (high school); July 16-21 (middle school)
  • Lake Tahoe Music Camp: Held at Nevada State 4-H Camp for grades 8 through 12, running July 1-7
  • Silver Lake Band Camp: Held between the shores of South Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake; open to junior high and high school band students. Dates: July 22-28

 

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