Throughout metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, camp purveyors are offering an increasing number of “enrichment” programs – with a hearty focus on academics, learning and continuation of school-year studies.
“Parents are interested in making sure their kids are well-rounded,” says Sue Griffin, former director of special and summer programs at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills. “They want their kids to have more going on than just soccer.”
If you’ve got a little “Tiger Mom” in you, check out this roundup of 10 high-achieving summer camps in southeast Michigan – from engineering and technology to language immersion.
Weeklong sessions, at $210-plus per week, aim to develop skills during the summer. Franklin Athletic Club’s LEGO Robotics Camp introduces kids to the basic methods used in building and coding robots. This camp encourages collaboration and problem-solving, culminating in a competition that places each team’s robots against one another.
“A lot of parents feel it’s a good use of their time for children not to get totally separate from the experience of learning – and, at the same time, acquire skills they don’t otherwise have,” says headmaster Jack Faxon.
Its Language Adventure Day Camp devotes mornings to intense foreign language study and afternoons for more camp-like, play-based activities. Foreign Language Immersion takes place in French, German, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Programs for young authors, a summer arts studio, robotics and theater school are all popular at Cranbrook’s expansive campus every summer. The theater school brings in theater professionals to give kids a “true sense of what theater professionals are all about,” says Sue Griffin, who retired in early 2016.
“We sell camp by the week, and we moved to that model in response to parents’ requests for more options,” she adds. “We have seen an increase in the popularity of these enrichment-based activities.”
The four Brookfield Academy campuses offer a Montessori-based day camp. The Montessori morning classroom will be a blend of individual, small and large group activities. Children can look forward to working with the Montessori classroom materials. The afternoon session promises to be filled with a blend of Montessori lessons and recreational and creative activities that encourage social and physical development.
The West Bloomfield and Livonia campuses offer a camp for ages 3-6. The Troy and Rochester campuses offer a camp for ages 3-12 years old.
This writing camp is an incubator where kids in middle and high school hone their chops in a variety of genres. Middle school camp will meet July 11-15, 2016 and high school camp will meet July 18-22, 2016. Students write, share and publish their stories. But this camp goes beyond polishing prose. Kids tap into their opinions and ideas, harnessing the power of words to express them. They draw inspiration from a real campus, too. Writers are grouped with peers and must apply.
This nine-week summer program for kids ages 18 months to sixth grade will run from June 20 through Aug. 19, 2016. The camp combines learning with fun, says Shelley Boatright, the parent and public communications coordinator. “The majority of the day is spent doing something academic,” says Boatright.
Parents increasingly want their children to be more academic in the summer months, she adds. “Parents want them to stay ahead. Our summer program is a natural continuation of the school year. Everything we do has a purpose.”
This ballet academy offers summer programs for ages 4 and up, so children can gain technical and professional instruction during the summer months and not lose their edge in the competitive field of ballet.
The Summer Intensive in August features classes taught by nationally renowned dancers. Campers must be age 8 and older, with previous dance training only.
Summer programs for 2016 at the Michigan Opera Theatre include the Eisenhower Dance Summer Intensive Aug. 1-6, Ballet Detroit Summer Intensive Aug. 8-19 and the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum Aug. 15-23 and Aug. 25-30.
Summer camps here let kids work on meaningful projects and form new friendships while learning about robotics and technology. The Robot Discovery camp is offered for grades 1-8 and focuses on robotics and programming using LEGO Mindstorms, WeDo, bricks and more. Locations in Birmingham, Rochester Hills and Grosse Pointe Park.
Five-day technology courses for kids are offered in coding, Minecraft, animation and more. Camps are open to ages 9-12 and no experience is needed. Program dates for 2016 to be announced soon.
“The kids always have a good time learning something that’s extremely valuable,” says James Graham, owner of IT Day Camp. “Kids are not just using the computer but really using the computer as a creative tool to be able to do something that they want to do, whether it’s playing a game or building the game. They’re having fun and they’re learning to build some pretty intricate framework.”
This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for 2016.