From space camp, to Swiss camp, to Jewish (culturally-only Jewish, of course) camps, LA is about to send off the kids for the summer months and some of the destos are just as pricey and fierce as where they will be summering themselves.
Gone are days of knot tying, archery and s’mores – those aren’t even on the agenda. Those low-key (and low cost) traditions enjoyed by past generations have been replaced by a list of first-class activities. But, to partake in these camps, you need to be able to afford the price tag. Some start at $3,500 per week and skyrocket to $15,000 …
So what makes camps so desirable for L.A.’s elite? It’s the location, services and experience, say many L.A. private school parents. Of course, the chance to make lifelong contacts for use in future career endeavors is a perk that comes with the territory.
Here are just a few of the camps and summer programs popular with the LA prep school set, past and present.
NEW ENGLAND CAMPS
- Camp Laurel & Camp Laurel South, Readfield, Maine / Portland, Maine. Known for its sports amenities, Camp Laurel costs $10,300 (“plus $150 laundry service”), and offers two baseball fields, two soccer fields, a lacrosse field, a hockey field, five basketball courts, a roller hockey arena (outfitted with NHL-quality dasher boards brought in from Minnesota), a beach volleyball court, a gymnastics center, and 15 all-weather tennis courts. An equestrian center features two 12-stall barns, two outdoor instructional rings, and a 3-acre riding pasture for the camp’s 22 horses. It’s related Laurel South costs $6,100 for four weeks and plunked down $1 million to renovate its kitchen and dining hall in 2009.
- Wohelo Camp, Sebago Lake in Maine. Offers everything from sailing and windsurfing to silversmith classes. $8,400.
- Camp Wicosuta, New Hampshire. A traditional all-girls camp focused on self-esteem and friendship, offering more than 30 activities. $6,395 for one month.
- Camp Winaukee, New Hampshire. Founded in 1920, this is a premier boys sports camp on Lake Winaukee in New Hampshire. Camp Winaukee offers individual and team sports, water sports and outdoor adventure. $10,550 for 3 months.
- Takajo Camp (boys) & Tripp Lake Camp (girls), Naples, Maine. Same operators run both camps for students ages 8 to 16 that are located 15 minutes apart. Offerings include golf, tennis, archery, videography, woodworking, pioneering and rock climbing. Takajo and Tripp tuition are both $10,400.
- The International Riding Camp, 90 miles Northwest of New York City. For girls 7-17, horse lovers can experience various riding disciplines: hunt seat equitation, cross-country jumping and polo. We offer a well rounded equestrian camp program along with water skiing, tennis, swimming and arts and crafts.
- Le Rosey, Switzerland. Located at one of the world’s most exclusive boarding schools, summer camp at this elite enclave offers French lessons, outings on the Le Rosey yacht, the sister campus in Gstaad, SAT courses and an extensive list of excursions. Cost: $12,000 for 4 weeks.
- Institut Villa Pierrefeu. Located in Switzerland’s Montreaux, this is the last existing ‘finishing school’ left in the wake or women’s lib closures and general disinterest in the art of receiving dignitaries, floral arrangement, water-skiing in teak boats, speaking 6 languages, keeping a home — or a training others how to do so. Even though you have to be over 18 to attend, they make exceptions for international royalty all the time – even LA Royalty. Summer Intensive International Etiquette & Protocol Courses — 3 to 6 weeks, starting: June 16th and again on July 7th, 2013.
- Boca Raton Resort & Club’s Summer Junior Tennis Program, Florida. For children ages 3-17, this chic resort in Boca will house your child for a summer of tennis tourneys. Under the supervision of Director of Junior Tennis, Todd Roth students will experience a wide variety of fun and exciting tennis activities throughout the morning. They will even make your kids custom rackets in the pro shop and outfit them! You can go as a day student or check-in!
- Oxford Summer Program, England. Once you hit the age of 16, most private LA high schools start to offer summer programs at Oxford (and Cambridge, though not as much). Most LA kids will either go, or have a best friend, who goes to one of the two at some point before college is out.
- Four Winds Westward Ho, Orcas Island in Puget Sounds. The boys-only and girls-only camps are located on the same campus. The camps are famous for uniforms, a two-story treehouse built in a maple tree, learning to sail on the “Westward Ho” boat, and rides in the ‘gypsy wagon’ where you get out to do paintings and photography on stops along the way. You can learn to build houses for those with penchant to architecture. Set in the pristine, untouched, natural beauty of the San Juan Islands where country inns are more expensive than most 5-star hotels, the area is reserved for the elite. Too haute for Hollywood, the frequent fliers are wealthy entrepreneurs and people in the banking industry from Seattle and San Francisco, as well as famous politicians banker diplomats from all over the world. Everything is au natural but you will still find starched white tables clothes and the best of everything — its the best of best. Four-week sessions is $4375.
- John Thomas Dye. For those remaining at home this summer, most private schools open their doors to non-school-year students during the summer months to make extra money and keep the faculty employed. For those parents who wanted to send their children to the coveted hilltop house in Bel Air but didn’t get in, here is a chance to still take advantage of the lovely grounds and elevated fresh air. June 24 – July 19.
- Riverway Ranch Camp. Located in California’s central valley, this camp offers 75 activities, including its signature Lake Program for boating and water fun. My daughter will be spending a week there this summer. $3000 per week.
- Saken Hawaiian Adventure Camp, Honolulu. Run by the Curtis School in Bel Air sports coach, Rio Saken, campers fly from L.A. to Honolulu to experience a week of Hawaiian fun worthy of most families’ annual vacation: Rock Jumping, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Volcano Exploring Incredible Beaches and dining on Hawaiian BBQ. $2,295 for one week.
- ActionQuest, Yacht in Europe. A marine-focused transatlantic voyage on a 112-foot yacht manned by 24 high school kids. The ship leaves from Bermuda, stops for a few days each at the volcanic archipelago of The Azores, in Gibraltar, and Corsica, before finally coming to port in Rome. $6,570 for 39 days.
This post was co-authored by Christina Simon – co-author of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. She is the mom of a 4th grade son and a 6th grade daughter who attend school in Los Angeles. Christina’s work has been published on The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Mamapedia, BlogHer, The Mother Company, Scary Mommy and of course here on The Daily Truffle. She blogs at Beyond the Brochure, or you can find her on Facebook http://www.facebook.
Other sources include Business Insider, Forbes, Town & Country.