Hot Fun in the Summertime

Now that school is almost out, those summer camp plans you may have put off making loom large. If you haven’t done so, this is a good time to sit down with your child and make the rest of your summer plans. Although many activities have been booked weeks, even months, ago, it’s not too late; Montecito still offers a wealth of last-minute summer opportunities.

According to Dave Wolf, summer camp coordinator at Westmont College, summer is a good time to build the habit of physical activity into a child’s life. “We live in a society that is increasingly anti-activity,” he opines. “Technology and the internet and computers are so much a part of what we do, not only at home but also educationally… not that there’s anything wrong with that… but physical activity provides good balance.”

In addition to physical activity, there are other benefits to summer programs. Cary Young, Montecito Family YMCA senior director in charge of youth sports and aquatics, says summer programs benefit a child’s personal development as well. “Kids are dealing with peer pressure, societal pressures, pressures in general. Here at the Y we make it okay to do the right thing,” she says, noting that, “For a young child, we introduce the concepts of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. For an older child we try to reinforce those character pillars. Oftentimes the older kids can display these qualities and lead by example.”

Most of the summer camp programs around town involve some kind of sport. If your child enjoys athletics, the summer could be the perfect time to delve in without the distractions and restrictions of school. Does your child have a favorite sport? Montecito offers specialty programs in baseball, tennis, golf, swimming, in-line skating and other sports. This could be a good time to get some intensive training and develop more mastery. Alternatively, this could be a chance for your child to try a sport he or she has never pursued before.

If your child is feeling hesitant about signing up for one of these programs but you think it would be a good idea (maybe because you suspect that he or she needs some structured activity), you might consider buddying up. And it will make your life easier if the parents can carpool. Even if you don’t sign up with a friend, the Y’s Cary Young points out, “in such a small community there’s bound to be a familiar face if not from your class then from your school or your church.”

For a reluctant child, a half-day camp is probably a better choice than full-day. Dave Wolf suggests telling your child, “you can do this for the morning and you’ve still got half a day to do the things you want to do.” Wolf also suggests spreading out the camp experience. “A couple of weeks at different times during the summer can be a good idea, with breaks and down time in between.”

You may decide that a summer camp is not right for your family. But you can still embark on a summer project. One summer my son studied French using a computer program. In another family I know, the children didn’t want to participate in sports but agreed to read a novel a week. (Check out the library’s summer reading program, below.) In other families kids participate in household and garden chores in exchange for trips to amusement parks or ice cream cones on a warm evening.

If you do decide to sign up for a summer program, you may be surprised at all the options available in our community. Here are some programs to consider:

Montecito YMCA

The Y offers summer day camps as well as a host of summer programs, including basketball camp, beach camp, tennis and swim camp and in-line skate camp. The Y also offers swim team and swim lessons.

When: June 18-Aguust 23; all-day and part-day programs

Where: 591 Santa Rosa Lane

Contact: 969-3288 or

Westmont College

Westmont offers a variety of camps including baseball camp, Sports Skills weeks, Girls Volleyball, basketball camp, track and field, Tennis, Archery/Badminton, Archery/Fencing and Soccer.

When: June 18-August 10; half-day and part-day programs

Where: 955 La Paz Road

Contact: 565-6110 or

Surf Happens

This surfing program is not technically in Montecito but the camp meets just down the road at Santa Claus Lane. The company offers two programs: a day camp for beginning and intermediate surfers and a travel day camp for intermediate and advanced surfers. (The travel day camp takes campers to different locations where the surf is up.) Private lessons are available too.

When: June 11- August 31; 9 am – 3 pm

Where: Santa Claus Lane/Surf Happens Tent

Contact: 966-3613 or

Montecito Covenant Church

The church offers Noah’s Half Day Camp, a summer bible camp that offers skits, crafts, Bible stories and more.

When: June 25-29 (except the week of July 2); 8:45 am – noon

Where: 671 Cold Spring Road

Contact: 969-0373 or

Montecito Country Club

The country club offers a combined golf/swim/tennis camp for kids six to twelve years old.

When: June 18-August 28; 9 am – 3 pm

Where: 920 Summit Road

Contact: 969-3216 x 212

Cold Spring School

Cold Spring School is offering summer school to currently enrolled students only. There’s math and science for Kindergarteners and first graders, writing and art and Spanish Camp for grades 2-5.

When: June 25-July 13, 8:30 am – noon

Where: 2243 Sycamore Canyon Road

Contact: 969-2678

Montecito Branch Library

The library has several programs going on this summer. For pre-school age children (ages three to five), the regular story-time hour will continue on Thursday mornings.

Kindergarten through sixth grade children can participate in the library’s summer reading program. This year’s theme is “Get a Clue @ Your Library.” Older kids (those in junior high and high school) can participate in a reading program called “You Never Know @ Your Library.” There are also special events for kids throughout the summer.

Where: 1469 East Valley Road

When: Story-Time Thursday mornings at 10:30

Summer reading programs June 18 to August 13

Where: 1469 East Valley Road

Contact: 969-5063

In addition to these programs which are open to the general public, Birnam Wood Golf Club (969-0919) offers summer camps to members’ children and grandchildren. Knowlwood Tennis Club (969-0558) offers tennis clinics to members’ children and has limited space for non-members.