Though kids are just returning to school, it's already time to start planning summer camp

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Even as schools across Southern California prepare for a return to in-person classroom instruction, it's already time for many parents to look ahead to summer.

And that, of course, means summer camp.

Last year during the pandemic, many camps were operating well below their capacity. The Tom Sawyer Camp in La Cañada Flintridge, for example, went from averaging about 400 kids a day to about 175 per day last summer, said director Eric Ikari.

Now after a school year in which pandemic restrictions kept many kids stuck at home and glued to their Zoom screens, many parents are hoping to get them back outside again.

"Most parents are dying to get their kids out this summer," said Sarah Auerswald, cofounder of the site MomsLA.com.

There are more than 500 camps for kids in the Southern California region, she notes, and they offer a wide range of options from traditional outdoor activities - swimming, horseback riding, hiking - to academic enrichment.

The 10-week San Gabriel Christian School summer program is one of those helping kids try to get their studies back on track after a year of remote learning.

"A lot of kids are struggling because they have academic gaps," said school Principal Chesed Bialon. "We're going to have reading, writing, math. Really offer that catch-up time for those students."

Bialon adds the camp also offers fun activities as well, with plenty of downtime.

While most summer camps are more than three months away from opening, the slots are starting to fill up.

And of course, summer camp isn't just a break for children. With Zoom classes keeping the kids at home all year, "This is a great break for the parents!" Ikari notes.
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