How to Pick the Best Summer Camp for Your Family

How to Pick the Best Summer Camp for Your Family


Attention Schoolyard Farms friends and families: what are you doing this summer? With spring break swiftly approaching and summer vacation just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for fun with a summer camp plan! Here are five tips from Schoolyard Farms to help your family find a fitting summer camp program you’ll want to grow up with and go back to year after year.

1. Location, location, location!
We’ve learned from our camp families to investigate the location of different summer camp programs around town, and find those that are easily accessible to you. Schoolyard Farms’ Summer Camp is located at our one-acre farm right at Candy Lane Elementary School in Jennings Lodge–near Gladstone, Oak Grove, and Milwaukie neighborhoods. We are easily reached by car and bus, and have even had campers (with parent permission) arrive by bike or on foot! Drop off and pick-up times matter during our busy summer schedules, and many of our families choose to go with our After-Care option and swing by camp to pick the kids up after work.

2. Consider camp costs
We know childcare costs quickly add up, and summer camp can be expensive. At Schoolyard Farms, we offer a variety of discounts and promotions to help our program fit into your budget. Look for our sibling discount, a discount for returning for multiple sessions, and a rainbow of coupon codes linked to email blasts, our facebook page, and our outreach and tabling events around town! This year, we are offering partial scholarships to those campers who apply, and you can also donate to our scholarship fund during registration.

3. Weighing in on camp size and scale
Each session, a new set of schoolyard farmers come together to explore our one-acre production farm site from the rhizosphere to the (rainwater catchment) roof. We’ve heard from our campers and camp families that our small size and scale set us apart: campers sign up with siblings and friends, reunite with old friends, and make new, lasting friendships at Schoolyard Farms because our program is built around a hands-on, small group model with a small staff to student ratio of 1:10. While we are always looking to grow our programming, we are committed to keeping this aspect of our camp experience special. How does a camp’s size and scale serve you?

4. Specifying Camper Needs
At Schoolyard Farms, we get the coolest campers. We’re sure of it! Our summer camp attracts all kinds of kids: kids who need outdoor play, kids who need to touch and taste and smell and see, kids who need to dig in the dirt and even kids who need to do camp dishes (it’s amazing: you’ll see!) In picking out a summer camp, reflect on what best serves your campers’ needs and what programming is available to accommodate them: are they more comfortable signing up with a friend? (Check!) Are they suited to small-group learning with other campers their own age? (Check!) Do they enjoy active play as well as calmer, hands-on crafts–outdoors all day? (Check, check, check!)

5. Celebrating Camper Interests
Last but not least, your campers’ interests will ultimately help your family find the best fit for you. Summer camp falls during that special time of year when kids can explore their interests, hone new skills, reconnect with nature and try new things in a fun and safe context. The options in the Greater Portland Area for summer camps are vast indeed. Is your camper interested in experiencing the flavors and textures of farm-fresh food? Would they like to try their hand at planting seeds, sketching in their farm journals, or counting the honey bees that visit a raised bed or row of flowers? How would they enjoy playing games like Snake in the Grass, Lemonade, or Eagle Eye? How would they enjoy meeting a local chef, beekeeper, or succulent enthusiast? You and your family can come by our Family Fun Day on the Farm on June 3rd, from 11am-2pm to see how Schoolyard Farms might strike your campers’ fancy.

Good luck out there! We look forward to seeing you on the Farm this summer. Register for Summer Camp at Schoolyard Farms today!