I was thrilled when we were offered the chance to experience a week at Camp Galileo Berkeley (at Cragmont Elementary). I have heard so many good things about Camp Galileo and knew that the combination of art and science would be perfect for my four year old daughter.
In short, I was not disappointed. Our experience from beginning to end was fabulous.
Before camp began, we had to fill out a registration form which included health information. My daughter is allergic to peanuts, so I noted that and also that she would be bringing an Epi-Pen with her. Included in the information online was a statement that all camp staff is trained in how to administer an Epi-Pen. Big plus for Camp Galileo right off the bat.
Four days before camp started, the camp director Adriana Boylan called me to touch base about how excited she was to meet my daughter, ask if I had any questions, and also ask me some specific questions related to the Epi-Pen. I so appreciated this personal touch before camp started, especially as this would be my daughter's first summer camp experience away from her familiar preschool.
Camp registration on Monday was from 8:30 -9:00. We got there right at 8:30 and the process was so smooth and streamlined; I was really impressed, especially as it was their first week of camp, so it was their first time doing this. The lines were organized by last name, and then each child was given a name tag that also had their team color and team leader's name on it which was all important for the week. The backpack went into the correctly colored bin for her name and off she went with a staff member through the crepe-paper “fun machine” which was a fun way to start the day for those shy kids who weren't totally sure about leaving mom or dad.
Registration the rest of the week was from 8:50-9:00 and ran just as smoothly. Staff members were waiting at the curb and offering to walk kids up to camp for parents, but most kids (including mine) wanted their parent to go with them.
Check-out every day was just as organized; the first two days it was raining, so the planned location outside for check-out had to be adjusted on the fly, and staff did such a great job posting a sign telling us where we could find each team in various classrooms inside. Parents have to show photo ID every day, even if the team leader knows you by name by the end of the week (and they do). This is a great security measure; check-out was slowed down a bit by the team leader telling each parent a little story about their child's day as he checked their ID. No one else seemed to mind waiting, as we all enjoyed hearing the stories from the day.
As an added bonus, if your child goes to Camp Galileo for more than one week in the summer, I was told they will be on the same team with the same team leader — and they also have the same lead art instructor and lead science instructor all summer. I am a fan of the continuity and familiarity this lends to the whole experience.
My daughter came home every day so excited about everything she had done and made; her favorite thing every day was “Art!”The theme was Space Odyssey, and on Friday there was a camp closing ceremony where the kids got to show the parents some chants and songs they had learned, and then we got to go into the art and science rooms to gather all her projects from the week.
Wow! We were impressed with what they made. She had made a space helmet, straw rocket, moon scene, jet pack, a magnetic rock grabber, and a sleeve with mirror attached to see aliens approaching from behind.
I feel like Camp Galileo really gets kids AND parents; everything was so well-organized and followed a set schedule every day which reassured my daughter about how things would go after the first day. The staff were full of enthusiasm, even first thing in the morning. And they kept the check-in and check-out procedures running smoothly for the parents. And they just know how to have fun!
Bottom line: We absolutely loved Camp Galileo and look forward to attending again and again and again.
Disclosure: I received this one-week to Camp Galileo in exchange for my posts on 510families. All opinions are my own. And all photographs.