In addition to the summer camps I've already blogged about, we tried out a few other camps this summer.
One in particular was a huge miss, and we won't ever go back there again: the Austin Film Academy. We were signed up for the Lego Stop-Gap Animation Class. The boys did one through Bits and Bytes last year, and they LOVED it. This was one cheaper, and it went full-day, as opposed to half days, so I was excited about trying out something new. WELL. The boys weren't given their partners of choice. They did nothing for two full days, except build a lego set for an hour or two, and clean up after the other camps going on. And on the third day, when I questioned the staff about why they weren't filming and doing anything, they got all defensive, and said they had other activities for them to do (which were coloring pages, per the boys). to make matters worse, when Carl picked them up, we were told a sixth-grader had punched my seven year old Ryan in the stomach earlier in the day. We were never called, and they had no real plan on how to solve the problems (had we been called, we would have picked up the boys immediately). Needless to say, we didn't go back the rest of the week. And I'll do everything I can to discourage others from every going to that camp, since the people running it seem to have no clue. In addition to the violence perpetrated on my child, sixth graders shouldn't be with younger kids. Parents should be called. And if I'm paying for a stop-gap animation camp, then I don't expect my kids to be coloring printouts for two days.
Most other camps went quite well. It was a hard summer to plan, since Alex was off doing a lot of older-boy camps with his friends. Ryan won't go to camp without a friend (or his brother) and it makes it near impossible. We had a lot of driving and carpooling, but all in all, the summer was a hit. We especially liked Soccer Zone in Lakeline - its indoors, and a lot of fun. We also tried out math camp for the first time. The boys go after school to Mathnasium, but this was our first summer camp. They really liked it, and the camp was filled with friends from school, so we'll do it again next summer.
Finally, the boys spent a week learning how to sail down on Town Lake with Austin Sailboat Rentals. After a rough first day learning the ropes and the dangers of the water (like black water moccassins and snapping turtles), they spent the rest of the week out on the water, having a blast.
Austin Sailboat Rentals partnered with the Holiday Inn (they are located on their property), so they ate lunch every day at the Holiday Inn buffet. Needless to say, the boys LOVED their lunches. They also swam in their rooftop pool, and when rain was in the forecast, they would watch movies inside the hotel's theater and eat popcorn.
But most of their time was spent out on the water, sailing, kayaking, and using the stand-up paddle boards. After only one week, they felt completely comfortable taking their own sailboats out on the lake, and Alex is already making plans to return in a few years as a junior counselor. This was the most expensive camp we've ever done, but I felt it was worth it. Especially when you consider the buffet lunch, the orange juice and bagels every morning, and the watermelon in the afternoons.
The only negative to their week of sailing camp is that some poor soul chose this week to jump off the I-35 bridge into the lake, and while the boys never knew someone had killed himself, they were all talk of the police boats, ambulances and fire trucks that "came to visit us" during the afternoon. Yikes.
Next summer, my mom will be living in Austin, so we're likely going to shake things up a bit, and try out more of those half-day camps that drive me crazy. Looking forward to the Austin edition of Camp Granny!