Summer's coming

Here's our annual guide to summer camps

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It's hard to believe on a dreary February day, but the end of the school year is just around the corner. But have no fear. WEDNESDAY JOURNAL has once again compiled a list of local activities to keep the kids happyâ€"and supervisedâ€"through the summer. The information listed below is not conclusive, as many camps are still finalizing details. Please call the locations with any questions or up-to-date information.


Some programs offer their own scholarship programs. Oak Park Township Youth Services has financial assistance available. Families in search of financial aid should contact the program first. Funds are based on need and residency. If the program doesn't have scholarships available, contact Roberta Whitehunter at Oak Park Township Youth Services, 445-2727. She may know of other resources.


The park districts of Oak Park and River Forest, as well as the River Forest Community Center and West Cook YMCA, have a broad array of programs available for children. The programs listed here were selected because they fit into the day camp category. For parents whose primary need is childcare over the summer months, these programs offer consistent, supervised, half-day or full-day activities for all or part of the week for the duration of the summer.

Park District of Oak Park

Oak Park residents can begin registering for camp as soon as they receive the new brochures, which are due to be mailed out Feb. 26. Registrations received between then and March 12 at noon will be put into a computer lottery for available spaces. Non-residents may begin registering March 14. See the chart below for detailed camp information. For additional information, call the park district at 383-0002.

• Day Camps

Oak Park has a variety of day camps available for children ages 4 to 12 (see chart). All of the day camps have games, sports, swimming, and arts and crafts. For most, campers are required to bring their own snack, lunch, swimsuit and towel. Swimming is included in the camp fee, but campers wishing to swim longer than the time allotted or take lessons will be required to pay an additional fee.

• Extended camp

Most of the camps end at 3 p.m. The park district offers an extended camp for parents who need their children to stay closer to 5 or 6 p.m. There is an additional fee per week of extended camp.

• Sports camps

The park district offers a variety of sports camps for children ages 4 to 14: Youth Sports Camp for Kids (ages 8-12); Jr. Sports Camp for Kids (ages 6-7); Start Smart Sports Development Program (ages 4-6); White Sox Training Center (ages 7-14); Volleyball Camp (grades 5-8); Fastpitch Softball (ages 7-14); Floor Hockey Camp (grades 3-8); Improved! Basketball Camp (grades 3-8). Most camps are at Ridgeland Common. The sport-specific camps locations vary. Please see the brochure for dates, prices and locations.

• Conservatory camps

The park district offers Youth Conservatory Camps for children interested in learning more about nature and the environment: Beginning Junior Naturalist (ages 5-7); Intermediate Junior Naturalist (ages 8-10); Eco-Observation Camp (ages 6-12); and Eco Art Camp (ages 7-11). Most camps are at the Oak Park Conservatory. Please see the brochure for dates, prices and exact locations.

River Forest Park District

River Forest residents may begin registering for the summer camps as soon as they receive their brochure. Brochures will be mailed out at the end of March. Residents may also call the park district to check availability at 366-6660.

The camps are described in the chart on page 39 and include sports, crafts, dance and water play. For all sessions, campers are required to bring their own snack each day. Most camps are divided by grade level for entering fall 2005.

River Forest Community Center

The River Forest Community Center at 8020 Madison St. offers a variety of camp options with extended care for full day camps. Priority registration, for those who are currently involved in community center activities or have participated in the past, begins March 7. Open registration begins March 14. For more information, call 771-6159.

Three full day camps are available for 3-year-olds through incoming seventh grade: Young Voyagers Camp (3-year-olds through incoming first grade), Adventure Camp (incoming second through fourth grade) and Urban Safari Camp (incoming fifth grade through seventh grade). All camps have a weekly field trip and include arts/crafts, swimming and games.

Costs for the full day camps vary by age. The youngest camp costs $315 per session and the two older camps are $295 per session. There are four sessions during the summer running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: June 13 to July 1, July 5 to July 22, July 25 to Aug. 12, Aug. 15 to Aug. 26. Extended care is available for full day camps from 7 to 10 a.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. and costs $70 per session, or $120 per session for both morning and afternoon.

Five half day summer camps are also available for children ages 15 months through incoming eighth grade. Summer Scene runs after River Forest summer school and is for kids in incoming kindergarten through eighth grade. The camp costs $280 and includes arts/crafts, sports, swimming and a weekly field trip. Monday and Wednesday through Friday the camp runs from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday is trip day, running from noon to 6 p.m.

Breakfast Club is a parent and tot camp for ages 15 months through 2 years. Sessions meet on Monday and Wednesday, June 13 through July 22, from 9 to 10 a.m. Cost is $70.

There are two preschool camps. Three For All is for children entering preschool in the fall. Children must be 3 years old by September. The maximum class size is 13 kids for two teachers. Three classes meet during the summer from June 13 through July 16. Class one meets on Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., class two meets Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and class three meets on Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. The camp costs $120.

Pre-K Kamp is for children entering pre-kindergarten in the fall. Children must be 4 years old by September. The two camp options run from June 13 to July 22. Monday, Wednesday and Friday sessions cost $150 and meet from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday sessions cost $115 and also meet from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Kindergarten Klub is for children entering kindergarten in the fall. Children must be 5 years old by September. It runs from June 13 to July 22, Monday through Friday, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is $250.

Oak Park YMCA

The Oak Park YMCA has a variety of camp offerings for children from age 5 to age 17, including day camps, sports camps, dance camps, art camps, theater camps and Bible camps. All campers are required to bring a lunch, drink, snack, water bottle, swimsuit and towel to camp each day. There is no camp on July 4, and each camp in session during that week has a discounted rate. Pick-up and drop-off locations for most camps are at the West Cook YMCA. See the chart on page 41 for more information or call the YMCA at 383-5200 for a brochure.

West Suburban Temple

West Suburban Temple Har Zion, 1040 N Harlem Ave., River Forest, will again offer Camp Zion, a morning preschool program from 9:30 a.m. to noon, for children ages 2 to 5. Programs for children ages 2 to 3 meet twice a week and cost $75 per session for members and $90 per session for non-members. Each session has a supply fee of $10 or a discounted $25 for all three sessions. Children ages 3 to 5 meet five days a week, costing $175 per session for members and $190 per session for non-members. The supply fee is $20 per session or $50 for all three. The three two-week sessions meet throughout the summer: session I is June 20 to July 1, session II is July 5 to July 15 and session III is July 18 to 29. For information, call 366-9000.

Oak Park Temple

The Oak Park Temple B'Nai Abraham Zion, 1235 N. Harlem Ave., offers Camp Bet Yeladim for preschool children ages 3 to 5. Two sessions run during the summer from 9 a.m. to noon (session one: June 6 to July 1; session two: July 5 to July 29). Parents can enroll 3-year-olds two or three days a week. The twice-a-week session costs $110 per session, the three days per week camp costs $165 per session. Children ages 4 and 5 meet five days per week. The camp costs $275 per session. There is an additional $30 non-member fee for all camps.

Camp Shalom is an all-day camp for children entering first through seventh grades. The two sessions (June 15 to July 8 and July 11 to Aug. 5) meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first session costs $598 for members and $655 for non-members. The second, longer session costs $704 for members and $770 for non-members. For information, call 386-3937.


Oak Park Elementary School Dist. 97

District 97 offers the School Daze summer school program, Academic Camp and Band Camp for children now in kindergarten through seventh grade. Classes have been developed as an extension of the regular school year to stimulate thinking and reinforce skills learned. Parents should assume their children will receive their first or second choice of class. For more information, call Linda Mosely at 524-3000.

School Daze will be held at Lincoln School, 1111 S. Grove Ave., and Whittier School, 715 N. Harvey Ave. The two-week program begins June 13 and ends June 30. Times vary for the one-and-a-half- or three-hour classes. The first class begins at 8:30 a.m. and the last class ends at 11:30 a.m.

Academic Camp will be held at Lincoln School in the afternoons from noon to 3 p.m.

School Daze is a tuition-based program. The cost per student is $85 for a one-and-a-half hour class and $170 for a three-hour class. Partial scholarships may be available through Oak Park Township or District 97. Scholarships are available for Oak Park residents and District 97 students only.

Additionally, District 97 will offer a two-week band camp for students currently in fourth through seventh grades. Held at Julian Middle School, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave., from Aug. 9 to Aug. 20, band camp provides each student with the opportunity to participate in a band or an orchestra. Band I and Orchestra I meet from 8:30 to 10:20 a.m.; Band II and Orchestra II meet from 10:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. The fee for band camp is $110. For band camp information, see the School Daze and Academic Camp brochure.

River Forest Elementary School Dist. 90

The River Forest public schools are again offering summer school classes for students entering kindergarten through eighth grade. The classes meet on weekdays, with three 50-minute classes per day. The tentative dates are June 15 through July 15. Final fees have not been determined. Please call Karen Mrozek at Lincoln School, 366-7340, for final information.

This year, classes for entering kindergarten through fourth grade will be held at Lincoln School, 511 Park Ave. Children entering fifth through eighth grades will take class at Roosevelt Middle School, 7560 Oak St. Registration will begin at the end of March.

Alcuin Montessori School

Alcuin Montessori School is still finalizing details for its summer 2005 programs. For information, call the school at 366-1882.

Oak Park and River Forest High School

OPRF offers academic summer school classes to students with high school standing (incoming freshman included). OPRF also offers a variety of sports camps for children beginning as young as 4 years of age. There are no swimming lessons this summer because the pools are being repaired. Summer school starts June 15 and runs through July 22. Brochures will be mailed out the third week in March. For more information, call Summer School Director Michael Averbach at 434-3379 or e-mail him at:


Summer Cultural Arts Workshop (SCAW)

These Park District of Oak Park workshops are open to children ages 6 to 13 years. Fees vary according to choice of class. SCAW meets Monday through Thursday beginning June 13 and ending July 21. There are no workshops on July 4. Workshop prices vary by subject matter, ranging from $125 residents/$180 non-residents to $150 residents/$235 non-residents. Children ages 6 to 8 will meet at Holmes School, 508 N. Kenilworth Ave. Nine- to 13-year-olds will meet at Brooks Middle School, 916 Washington Blvd., from 8:45 to 11:35 a.m. Friday and afternoon care is available at each location for an additional fee: (6 to 8 years: $430 resident/$645 non-resident; 9 to 13 years: $330 resident/$495 non-resident). For class times, details and fees, please see the Park District of Oak Park brochure or call the park district at 383-0002.

Village Players Theatre

Village Players, 1006 Madison St., offers two sessions of summer theater camp for children ages 9 to 17. Each session costs $595 and culminates with three live performances over the final weekend of camp. During the first session the children will learn 42nd Street. It runs Monday through Friday June 13 to July 16.

Children attending the second session will perform The Hobbit. Session two runs Monday through Friday, July 25 to Aug. 20.

Children at least 14 years old will again receive the opportunity to be teaching assistants for each session. Assistants receive a small stipend for the session and learn the various administrative and theatrical skills necessary for musical theater. For more information, call Lee Peters at 524-1892.


District 97's CAST (Communication Arts, Speech and Theatre Education) program is offering CASTSUMMER 2005, two programs for incoming third through eighth graders. The programs will be held at Julian Middle School, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave. Both programs will end with a performance during the final weekend of camp.

The third and fourth graders, known as the CAST Summer Youth Arts Institute, will perform "CAST's Greatest Hits" in celebration of the organization's 20th anniversary. Campers meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 13 through July 8. The cost is $450 for the four-week session.

Fifth through eighth graders will follow the theme "Once on This Island." The musical production is finalized, but the additional productions are not. Students should expect to do scenes from three plays and a dance performance. Camp meets Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and runs June 13 through July 15.

Application and registration materials have been mailed out to all students on the District 97 mailing list. Non-District 97 students can call the CAST office for applications. The registration deadline is March 18. For more information, call CAST at 524-7848.

B.R.A.V.O.! Summer Arts

B.R.A.V.O.! will present the musical review Starstruck this summer, sampling Hairspray, West Side Story, Mary Poppins, Oklahoma! and Annie. Additionally, the camp offers five theater classes: Acting for the Stage, Commercial Techniques and Getting into the Business, Dance and Choreography, Vocal Stylings, and Theatrical Make-up. The camp is open to students entering fourth through eighth grades. It runs for five weeks, beginning June 13 and ending July 18. A performance will take place the final weekend at Brooks Middle School, 325 S. Kenilworth Ave.

Not all students are required to participate in the production and rehearsals. They may opt for classes only. But all students wishing to be in Starstruck are required to take classes. Classes meet every morning (Monday through Friday) from 9 a.m. to noon. Rehearsals for Starstruck start after lunch and finish at 3 p.m. The cost for class only is $350. The cost for all day participation is $600. Space is limited to 80 participants. The registration deadline is April 8. For more information, call B.R.A.V.O at 524-5621.

Open Door Repertory Company

This year children participating in Open Door's summer theater will perform Becky Thatcher. Registration is now open. The camp runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 13 to July 10 and costs $600, with a $300 deposit due at registration. The program is located at Lincoln School, 1111 S. Grove Ave. For more information visit the website or call 802-1723.

Academy of Movement and Music

The Academy of Movement and Music, 605 Lake St., has two camp-type programs for children ages 2 to 7 from June 13 to July 30. Each program is $300, and meets either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. There is an option for children to attend four days a week (Monday through Thursday) for $450. Groups are split by age (2- to 4-year-olds and 4 1/2- to 7-year-olds).

Additionally, the Academy offers a dance camp for children 7 years and up. The camp runs two or three days per week depending on age and skill level. Prices also vary based on age and dance level, but range from $350 to $475. Please call the school for times and prices.

The Academy also offers a seven week, once a week dance class for ages 3 to 8. Call the Academy for a schedule of classes.

The "Dance Me a Story" program provides children with ballet technique based on classical ballet stories. There are three classes; 3- to 4-year-olds, 4- to 5 1/2-year-olds and 3- to 8-year-olds (one class, but broken down by age). Cost is $160 for seven weeks.

The Academy also offers a variety of classes and workshops throughout the summer. For more information, call 848-2329.

Language and Music School Spanish Immersion Camp

The Language and Music School, 150 N. Oak Park Ave., has morning or afternoon sessions for children ages 2 through 6 years and 7 through 9 years. Ongoing enrollment is now open for classes beginning in June and ending Aug. 13. The morning sessions meet from 9 a.m. to noon and the afternoon sessions meet from noon to 3 p.m. Students are divided by age. The hourly cost varies depending on how many days per week the child attends ($8.25 per hour for once a week through $5.40 per hour for five times a week). For more information call the school at 524-3340 or visit the website:

Terra Incognito

Terra Incognito, 246 Chicago Ave., is offering classes for children of all ages. The Multi-media Arts Camps are for children ages 5 to 12 years. Camps meet Monday through Thursday in the morning or afternoon from June 13 to Sept. 1. Morning sessions meet from 9 a.m. to noon and the afternoon sessions meet from 1 to 4 p.m. The weekly session cost is $95.

Additionally, Terra Incognito has wheel-throwing classes for pre-teens and teens. The five two-week sessions meet throughout the summer from June 13 through Sept. 1. The pre-teen classes cost $110 per session and meet from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for kids ages 9 to 12 years. The teen classes cost $200 per session and meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 12 to 18 years. For more information on all camps and classes visit Terra's website: or call 383-6228.

Concordia University

Details for the Young Actors Workshop at Concordia University, 7400 Augusta St., are still being determined. For more information, call Mark Seikmann at 209-4106.

Other offerings at Concordia are the Art of Music for High School Students and American Band Camp. The Art of Music for High School Students meets from June 19-24. Prices and materials are still being decided. For more information call Jean Harrison at 209-3100 extension 3067. American Band Camp, designed for students entering grades 7-10, runs from July 31 to Aug. 6. For more information, visit the website


Dominican University

Dominican University, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest, is offering a boys basketball camp for children ages 8-14 years. The camp is broken down into three five-day sessions from 9 to 11:30 a.m.: June 20 to 24, June 27 to July 1, and July 11 to 15. The cost is $95 per session. Enrollment is limited to 35 students per session. The camp will take place at Igini Sports Forum. For more information, call Mark White at 524-6518.

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