One fact became clear after talking to Georgetown kids and parents in cafes and parks during the heating-up last days of May. The long, lazy three months of summer vacation are no more.
Children from 3 to 18 years old, it seems, are expected to use summers for learning experiences. “From early on, our school counselors tell us not to waste our summers,” said Katherine Schwartz, who has lived all her life in Georgetown and graduated from high school on May 31.
Many parents apparently agree. The options for stimulating, organized, personalized, safe and educational children’s summer camps in Georgetown alone are almost overwhelming.
There are camps for almost every sport imaginable at D.C.’s increasing number of upgraded public parks, pools and sports facilities. Basketball and soccer at the Jelleff Recreation Center are famous. Almost all the public facilities are free of charge.
There are art camps of all kinds in Georgetown. “Baby Picassos” go to Anna Banana and serious theater and music students get tutored by top professional artists in an Arena Stage program at Visitation Preparatory School.
There are math and science, computer and language camps in the area as well. Beauvoir Summer Camp at the National Cathedral School offers programs for kids 3 to 18, with new specialty options including fencing, hip hop, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), coding, creative writing, Lego robotics, musical theater, “Tiny Chefs” and sports, with a daily swimming option if desired. Teenagers can learn to be a counselor in a Beauvoir training program.
Summers at traditional boarding camps like Allegheny or Greenbriar are still popular for some under-15-year-olds, but high schoolers now look for serious sports camps leading to college scholarships or substantive summer academic or internship programs to boost their college applications. “They tell us we have to be very conscious of the way we use our summers. Colleges look for it,” said Schwartz.
“Increasingly, some students choose to actually get a summer job to show they know how,” added Schwartz, who was a waitress in Rehoboth for two summers. “Europe travel is fun, but doing volunteer work in Africa or the like is better on the resume.”
Keeping young children creative and active — and away from iPhone and iPad screens all day long — is a top parental concern. Camp Berry at Dumbarton United Church was endorsed by Chrystal, Soren, Isabel, and Marie Celeste as they ate pizza during Rose Park’s Wednesday market with their parents and friends. They said they loved being able to work on one big art project of their own all week without having to clean it up at the end of the day.
The girls also said they liked playing tennis, running track and doing ballet and gymnastics during the summer. They took piano, guitar and viola lessons every week and assured The Georgetowner that they practiced every day (raising a few parental eyebrows).
And they said they loved to read books. It’s the boys who play iPad games like Fortnite, the girls asserted.