CITYWIDE — The City of Santa Monica has opened registration for its 2014 summer camp season and organizers are actively soliciting for participants.

The city by the sea is offering 35 unique camps over the summer season between June 16 and August 8. Local youth of all ages can choose from options including sports, fitness, performing arts, culture, science and imagination.

Bob Gibson, Regional manager of Los Angeles Super Soccer Stars runs a soccer camp in Santa Monica and said the camp experience allows students to develop skills more quickly than they might in an extended program but that skill development is only part of what camps offer.

“If you do anything intensely, you’re going to improve, but also added to that is the social element. It isn’t just the aspect of what they’re going to get out of the camp,” he said.

Ebba Valenzuela, Program Supervisor for the City of Santa Monica, said social interaction is a significant benefit of a camp experience.

“A lot of kids are shy or they don’t have brothers/sisters/development in their lives or they haven’t been to camp and are scared to leave,” she said. “Then they meet friends and they enjoy it.”

Valenzuela that in addition to the added intensity of a camp, the week-long experience allows organizers to create theme weeks. She said students who choose to repeat a performing camp for several weeks may find themselves exposed to different cultures and styles of music. “I can see the success in the camp repeats,” she said. “You can tell they enjoyed the camp experience and they enjoyed the week of ‘my fairytale adventure,’ or ‘under the big to’ or ‘wild, wild west.’”

She said offering specific topics for a finite period allowed students to explore new subjects without feeling committed or overwhelmed.

Gibson said his camps also provide day specific lessons that give participants more context regarding the sport than they might get in a once-a-week environment. He said this year’s camp has an international theme related to the World Cup.

“We provide a little cultural background on what makes that country famous for soccer…” he said. “The camp breaks down with the first part focusing on countries that are participating in the world cup. Then as the week progresses, we cover 10 different countries so we give them that exposure as well.”

Valenzuela said the current camp programs augment the City’s ongoing recreation efforts and that they have been developed over time with feedback from past participants.

“We want them to give us feedback, to give us a call,” she said. “I want to hear how he enjoyed that week of camp and when I do visitations I see the child, talk to them and it gives me Goosebumps because we did something well for these kids”

Summer Camps Guide are available online at www.smgov.net/camps. Summer Classes Guide available online at www.smgov.net/classes. Online registration for all programs is available at www.smgov.net/reserve.  For more information, call (310) 458-2239.

matt@smdp.com

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