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Golden Teddy 2015: Camps + Classes

Nancy Chaney

Published on: June 15, 2015

Camps + Classes

We in the northwest love to keep our kids’ calendars full with camps, classes and lessons. And why wouldn’t we when we have so many amazing choices? Free time is important, yes. And we want to make sure our children have the chance to explore and discover their passion. Will it be music, sports, science, dance, drama, the outdoors or something else? Think of all the fun and learning to be had as they find out.

2015 Camps + Classes — Winners + Finalists:

STEM Camps

Theater Camps + Programs

Athletics Camps + Programs

Dance Camps + Classes

Music Programs

Nature + Environmental Camps

Swimming Lessons + Programs

Camps for Kids with Special Needs

Infant + Toddler Classes

Art Camps, Classes + Programs

Overnight Camps

Camps + Classes for Tweens + Teens

After-school + Enrichment Programs

Unique Camps

Family Camps

Girls Rock Math campers
Girls Rock Math camp


Girls Rock Math

STEM (Science, Tecnology, Engineering + Math) Camps

WINNER: Girls Rock Math

Your votes crowned Girls Rock Math the queen among our region's many STEM camp opportunities. Parents appreciate that Girls Rock Math's unique camps and workshops make math real—and really fun—for girls. Campers in grades 1–6 build confidence and friendships while using math together with the arts to dig in to crafts, painting, gardening, fashion and more. Fun-sounding camp themes include Crafty Math, Math-Magical Garden and Bead-Dazzling Math. Girls Rock Math offers its week-long day camps in eight Seattle-area and Eastside locations.


The venerable Pacific Science Center earned scores of your votes for its STEM camps on marine science, cooking, medicine, robotics and much more. Campers study the Center’s resident critters, connect chemistry and cooking, or learn the science behind solving crimes. A wide array of camps welcomes kids from Pre-K through high school and meets in six Seattle and Eastside locations.

It’s little wonder our resident research university would garner your votes for its STEM programs for kids in grades 1–12. University of Washington’s Summer Youth Programs offer popular two-week camps and short courses on topics to suit the interests of just about every kid – from robotics, game design and programming, to puppet-making, architecture and green energy.

You enthusiastically support Girl Scouts of Western Washington's opportunities to get girls outside in nature at its three area camps. Camps Robbinswold, St. Albans and River Ranch welcome girls for exploration in marine environments, including canoeing, sailing and low-tide study, and animal science, with horse and llama pack trips, among other camps. No prior Girl Scouts experience required.

Fascination with flying never gets old and the Museum of Flight's camps make the most of it, covering rockets, engineering, space flight and nanotechnology, among other themes, for legions of young space and aviation fans.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum gets youngsters digging into STEM at its half-day camps like Science Explorers and Engineering Explorers. Older campers, ages 6–8 tackle topics such as Extreme Structures and CSI Science.

Camps + Classes | Theater Camps + Programs ⇒


Seattle Children's Theatre
Seattle Children's Theatre

Theater Camps + Programs

WINNER: Seattle Children’s Theatre

A recent ParentMap review described Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Robin Hood as possibly “the best play you’ll see this year – with or without your kids.” It makes sense that one of our area’s premier theater companies also offers high quality theater education for kids, as you well know. One voter raved about the faculty and called the theater “our city treasure.” SCT’s summer and school break camps, classes and workshops serve kids in Pre-K up to grade 12. Some camps follow themes such as Drama Quest – COD3 BR3AK3RS, Treasure Trunk Theatre and Acting for the Camera; other camps rehearse a specific show. Programs are offered at SCT’s Seattle Center location and other locations in the greater Seattle area. 


Tacoma Musical Playhouse aims to offer kids an enriching experience in musical theater arts through its Education Programs and your votes confirm it’s doing a great job. You appreciate TMP’s emphasis on teamwork as summer and school-break campers rehearse and perform a full show. This summer’s camps include 101 Dalmatians for younger campers and Rent for high-school ages. Workshops and after-school programs teach acting, singing and dance and serve kids ages 4–18.

You love Wedgwood Drama Studio’s Theater in the Park Summer camps, which combine fun theater exploration with playing outside. Outdoor camps in northeast Seattle serve kids in preschool to grade 5, and Wedgwood also runs after-school programs at local elementary schools, community classes and a Summer Lab for grades 6–12.  One voter commended the studio’s focus on “play, movement, creativity and authentic expression.”

Village Theatre’s Kidstage earned your votes for its diverse array of education programs taking place in Issaquah and Everett. Summer camps tap into the popularity of movie and book characters, with camp themes around Frozen, Curious George, Star Wars and Junie B. Jones. Kidstage also offers ongoing full production opportunities for youth actors and a theatre apprentice program.

You like the range of offerings at Studio East: Training for the Performing Arts in Kirkland, from workshops, after-school and home school classes to school-break and summer camps and production opportunities.

Seattle’s Littlest Performers’ name says it all, tapping into kids’ natural inclination toward performance through its summer and school-break camps, after-school programs at local elementary schools and performing arts preschool.


STEM Camps | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Athletics Camps + Programs ⇒



Child playing at Pro Sports Club

Pro Sports Club

Athletics Camps + Programs

WINNER: Pro Sports Club

Bellevue’s Pro Sports Club garnered heaps of votes for its first-rate youth sports programs. The club’s amenities extend beyond those of a typical gym and you appreciate this convenience. Many Pro Club youth sports instructors are coaches or former elite athletes and you’re thrilled with the skills they’re teaching your kids. The Club’s programs offer instruction in popular team sports like soccer and basketball, as well as aquatics, squash, tennis and racquetball. Summer camps expand kids’ specific skills in ball-handling and shooting in basketball, and offer exposure to variety of other active pursuits including kickball, dodgeball, floor hockey, laser tag, inflatables and iDance.


Kids have been playing sports at their local YMCA for generations, and, according to your votes, the tradition continues today. With YMCA branches all over King, Pierce and Kitsap and Snohomish counties, voters like the Y’s close-to-home and affordable programs. “Super-nice teachers” offer instruction and practice in swimming, martial arts, flag football, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball and more.

Among team sports for Northwest kids, soccer is king. You are loving Arena Sports’ Lil’ Kickers soccer program that orients children as young as 18 months to the world’s most popular game. Arena Sports also offers active “School’s Out” camps, youth (and adult) soccer instruction and leagues, and recently added swimming to its offerings. Arena Sports has locations in Seattle, Redmond and Issaquah.

The Little Gym knows kids rarely stop moving their bodies. You are enthusiastic about The Little Gym’s ability to focus this energy into developing sports skills, coordination and having fun, as demonstrated by your votes. The Little Gym’s dozen Puget Sound-area locations make it super convenient and fun for your kiddos to explore gymnastics, sports skills, karate and dance.

Your kids are having a ball at Seattle Gymnastics Academy’s programs, and your votes confirm you know they’re also practicing balance, strength and motor skills at the same time. At its four gyms in Seattle, SGA teaches toddlers up to competitive gymnasts.

Seattle Sounders FC’s soccer camps carry the allure and popularity of our region’s professional team. You appreciate this reputation as well as that camps run all summer long in dozens of convenient locations.


Theater Camps + Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes  | Dance Camps + Classes ⇒


Creative Dance Center participants
Creative Dance Center/photo by Bronwen Houck

Dance Camps + Classes

WINNER: Creative Dance Center

You voted in droves for north Seattle’s Creative Dance Center, continuing the studio’s multi-year reign on top in this category. CDC’s classes connect dance, movement and creativity with brain development, and this approach, including the CDC’s signature Brain Dance, have made an impact on you. Parents like the inclusive environment and specifically praise the studio’s instructors, calling them “fabulous” and “amazing.” One voter raved that CDC is a “truly phenomenal program for all children that focuses on brain development and the whole child.” Creative Dance Center offers classes and camps in movement, ballet, modern, yoga and more, for parents and tots, young children, teens and adults.


Our area’s many outlets of The Little Gym offer dance classes for ages 3–12 and you are loving what they do for your kids. The Little Gym’s classes aim to harness and refine kids’ natural inclination toward movement, teaching them coordination, self-confidence and flexibility in very fun classes such as Jazzy Bugs, Giggle Toes and Hip Hoppers.

Your votes indicate you think very highly of the Russian-influenced dance instruction at Emerald Ballet Academy in Bellevue. The school connected with Emerald Ballet Theatre focuses on classical ballet, but also teaches other genres of dance, including character, modern, hip hop and more. The school welcomes boys and students with special needs, and offers levels ranging from pre-ballet for preschoolers up to rigorous instruction for aspiring professional dancers.

Greenwood’s American Dance Institute earned a slew of your votes, and voters praised the teachers as “enthusiastic”,” incredible” and “fantastic!” These fine instructors give classes to children and adults in a variety of dance genres, including ballet, tap, contemporary, hip-hop, hula and more. Voters also appreciate the studio’s environment, describing it as warm and welcoming.

A Honu World of Hula brings the beauty and movement of Hawaii’s traditional dance to classes for children, as well as caregivers and babies, to Mukilteo and Issaquah, and you and your keiki are loving them.

You vote in support of All That Dance’s personalized placement for all levels and ages of dancers into its variety of dance classes, encompassing ballet and more. One voter praised the studio as “super-organized and well-run.”


Athletics Camps + Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Music Programs ⇒


Infant + Toddler Classes
Sunshine Music Together LLC

Music Programs

WINNER: Sunshine Music Together

A multi-year Golden Teddy winner, Sunshine Music Together is still your favorite among local music classes. Mixed-age parent and tot classes develop natural music appreciation in kids and you like that program integrates singing, instruments, movement and fun. Lots of you like the catchy songs, and you appreciate the engaged, dedicated instructors. “Teachers are lively, inspired and want to give the gift of music,” said one pleased voter, and another liked that the classes helped music become a part of their family’s daily routine.” Sunshine Music Together offers regular classes in multiple locations, including Seattle, Lynnwood and Redmond.


The international Kindermusik curriculum promotes children’s brain development through music instruction, and your votes indicate your endorsement of this approach. Kindermusik’s method encourages literacy, social development, motor skills and more. One voter likes that classes “really engage little ones and are fun for parents, too.” Licensed instructors in the greater Seattle area offer classes for parents and babies, tots, family classes and more.

Music Center of the Northwest wants everyone to engage in music and you are loving the way its array of programs and performance opportunities are helping your kids do this. Music Center offers everything from instrument petting zoos that let young kids experiment with instruments to instructional programs like Suzuki, Music Together and The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, plus individual lessons, workshops and ensembles.

Seattle’s Baby Jam class not only welcomes little ones to play on drums and learn songs in Spanish and Hebrew, but its drop-in format works for families who need flexibility, or just a reason to get out of the house. Baby Jam earned your praise as a “great, diverse learning experience” for tots and caregivers. Class meets for four different sessions per week in Seattle.

Seattle’s Illumination Learning Studio earned your votes for its variety of arts-focused classes, including music and piano instruction. One parent commended the “great teacher passionate about teaching.”

You like to take classes with your kiddos and Music Together’s mixed-age family classes work well for you. The popular international Music Together curriculum is offer by a number of certified providers in the Puget Sound area.


Dance Camps + Classes | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Nature + Environmental Camps ⇒


Wilderness Awareness School
Wilderness Awareness School

Nature + Environmental Camps

WINNER: Wilderness Awareness School

You must have wrestled the gadgets away long enough for your kids to attend Wilderness Awareness School, and your votes indicate they are eating it up. The organization’s programs serve as a powerful antidote to the lack of nature in many kids’ daily routines. Duvall-based Wilderness Awareness School teaches kids to appreciate—and survive in—the wild. Day camps and programs for young kids begin with basic skills while overnight camps and expeditions for teens impart serious survival techniques. One voter lauded Wilderness Awareness programs like this: “cool camps in the woods led by real naturalists!” 


Camp Sealth has produced almost 100 years of happy campers and it’s still going strong. Located on Vashon Island, Camp Sealth offers day and overnight camps with all the classic camp activities kids love – arts and crafts, horseback riding, swimming, camp fires and sports – plus the opportunity to build new friendships, a strong character and life skills. You appreciate that Camp Sealth meets kids where they are, offering an inclusive environment for all campers ages 6–17.

Oxbow Organic Farm and Education Center in Carnation isn’t a camp with a little vegetable garden, it’s a real, working farm supplying CSA customers and restaurants with locally-grown produce. You love that your kids come for camps and field trips to get a close-up view of where food comes from, to participate in what it takes to get food from the dirt to our tables, and to munch on the farm’s delicious bounty, of course.

Girl Scouts Camp River Ranch near Carnation earned your votes as a positive place for girls. While the overnight camp is run by the Girl Scouts, no prior Girl Scout experience is needed to attend. Girls enjoy the typical camp activities – swimming, crafts, camp fires – all while building leadership skills and an affirming community. One pleased parent noted that Camp River Ranch “offers great opportunities for girls to explore and grow.”

Hidden right in the middle of Bellevue, Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center is no secret to you. Camps at Mercer Slough, run by the Pacific Science Center, take advantage of hands-on learning in the natural world.

Like Mercer Slough, Discover Park Nature Day Camp capitalizes on its vast parkland parked right in the middle of the city. You want your kids to spend the day playing and learning out in the wild and your votes indicate Discovery Park is a great place for it.


Music Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Swimming Lessons + Programs ⇒


stock swimming photo

Swimming Lessons + Programs

WINNER: Pro Sports Club

Bellevue’s Pro Sports Club meets a variety of your families’ needs, with a gym, a spa, sports instruction, multiple swimming pools and oodles of additional amenities. Its swim lessons for kids are convenient for Eastsiders, with a dedicated shallow teaching pool for kids, plus a swim team and other aquatics activities. You like the “great pool and teachers” and appreciate how quickly your kids learn to swim there.


Local YMCA branches in King, Pierce and Kitsap and Snohomish counties have taught legions of kids to swim, and you appreciate their convenient and accessible programs. One proud parent mentioned the “super nice teachers [who] really improved my son’s swimming.” YMCA locations around the Sound offer a variety of aquatics programs among many other recreational, fitness, child care and camp opportunities for all ages.

We’ve heard the word on the street, and your votes confirm it. The pool at the Mountlake Recreation Pavilion is well worth the trip, even if you don’t live anywhere near it. “Fun, fun, fun!” raved one voter. With lessons, family swims, warm water, the lazy river, party rentals, access for special needs and much more, it’s no wonder the MLT pool has many fans from near and far.

Tucked beneath a Chinese restaurant on Lake Union, Safe N Sound Swimming is a major player on the swimming scene. Safe N Sound’s specialty is one-on-one lessons which pack in a lot of progress. These plus its swim camps and other programs have lots of your kids swimming like fishes, as evidenced by your votes.

Waterbabies Aquatics Program’s particular approach—helping parents teach their young children skills and safety around water—earned your enthusiastic votes. At facilities in Bellevue, Sammamish and Everett, parents like the “small class sizes, warm water,” and “great teachers.”

Among many amenities earning your votes, Samena Swim & Recreation Club offers both an indoor and outdoor pool that are open year round. You like swimming lessons and other aquatics programs, all housed in this family gym.

The pool at the Rainier Beach Community Center is the sparkling new gem among Seattle Parks & Recreation facilities. You like the swim programs offered in the bright space, with warm water, lazy river and toddler area.


Nature + Environmental Camps | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Camps for Kids with Special Needs ⇒


Camp Sealth camper with horse
Camp Sealth

Camps for Kids with Special Needs

WINNER: Camp Sealth

Perennially popular Camp Sealth is doing a fantastic job meeting a variety of your needs, with a winner or finalist spot across multiple camps and classes categories. Kids with special needs get a warm welcome at different Camp Sealth sessions. Shooting Stars camps caters to kids with Autism in grades 6 to 9. At this and all Sealth sessions, staff work to tailor the quintessential summer camp experience to each child, whatever a camper’s abilities and desires might be. We’re pretty sure for most kids this means having fun with friends and trying new things; your votes confirm that Camp Sealth is successfully providing this for all kinds of campers.


For families of kids with serious medical conditions, Camp Korey offers carefree fun and games on a huge farm on the Eastside. Your votes show your appreciation for this special place. Medical personnel are on staff to support campers as they focus on activities like boating, horseback riding, arts and crafts and stage night.

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Redmond works its magic with the help of four-legged equine friends. The Center’s therapeutic riding program strives to lift the bodies and minds of kids with and without disabilities, and you are loving what the gentle, patient horses do for your kids.

Our area’s regional YMCAs organizations and their dozens of neighborhood branches seek to strengthen entire communities. YMCAs in King, Snohomish and Pierce and Kitsap counties achieve this by serving all community members, including children with special needs. You appreciate the Y’s inclusive mission across its camp programs; day camps, child care, overnight, specialty and more.

Children with special needs are welcome at KidsQuest Children’s Museum’s summer camps. You love the museum’s hands-on exhibits and camp activities built into a half-day format for ages 3–8.

Seattle’s School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts, known as SANCA, is a national leader in circus education. You like SANCA’s Circus for Every Body program, which welcomes and teaches children with a range of special needs.


Swimming Lessons + Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Infant + Toddler Classes ⇒


Child in gymnastics play gym

Infant + Toddler Classes

WINNER: The Little Gym

Your votes put The Little Gym on top among classes for your little ones. With movement, music and play, kids love going to weekly sessions. You love the strength, balance, coordination and other physical skills they develop through exercises and games designed to just be fun. Kids emerge from classes both happy and tired, a perfect result.  The Little Gym’s dozen Puget Sound-area locations make it super convenient and fun for your kiddos to explore movement and gymnastics, plus sports skills, karate, music or dance. 


Many parents seek out music classes for their little ones, with research suggesting that music study supports brain development. Sunshine Music Together earned your praise for its mixed-age, parent and child classes. Your kids love Sunshine’s classes, and one voter called it “an unparalleled music and movement program that is fun for both children and adults.”

Classes at Gymboree Play & Music branches deftly combine playing and learning to the delight of children and you, their voting parents. Gymboree’s classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers focus on playing, music, art, school skills and more, and incorporate caregiver participation, supporting your interactions with your child.

Woodinville Toddler Group’s mission is to help build healthy families through learning, support and community. Your votes show it’s succeeding for you. Cooperative programs incorporate age-appropriate learning and development for little ones, and parent education for the big ones. One pleased parent said “the classes are so engaging for children, and the parent ed for the parents is awesome!”

One pleased voter gushed over Baby Jam this way: “English, Spanish, and Hebrew songs and rhythms while drumming on Afro-Caribbean drums for kids? What's not to love?” Looks like lots of you agree.

A Honu World of Hula’s Hula Babies class confirms what you know; swaying and rocking with your baby on your body is a treat for you both. Your votes indicate you are loving experiencing these gentle movements and rhythms with your wee one.


Camps for Kids with Special Needs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Art Camps, Classes + Programs ⇒



Children artists painting

 Art Camps, Classes + Programs

WINNER: Arts Aloft

The focus of Arts Aloft is helping kids develop their personal path to artistic expression. The Seattle studio eschews prescriptive projects and instead lets kids lead their own creative process. Your kids are clearly loving it because you voted in droves for this approach. With lots of tools and media to work with, it’s super fun and messy! “Nobody can ever tell you that you are doing something wrong in art,” said one student in a sweet Arts Aloft testimonial. No wonder you love this environment of learning and exploring.


Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio lets kids explore creative expression at their own pace and your votes indicate your roars of approval. Roaring Mouse offers classes, camps workshops, and kids’ nights out in its Seattle studio. Programs highlight the link between play and art, which children find naturally, then let their ideas flow.

Art camps at Kidsquest Children’s Museum take kids beyond drawing and other two-dimensional projects. Kids experiment with clay, wire and other materials rendering 3D results, plus charcoal, silk-screening and plant pigments. Your kids love all this messy fun. You love what they’re doing, too, and bonus – the mess is not happening at your house.

Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia lives its name, giving kids lots of opportunities to create, build, touch, tinker, dig, play, stack, drop, mix, craft and investigate, with their hands, minds and bodies. You just dig it, according to your votes. Summer and school break camps incorporate the arts into a variety of themes, and Hands On’s MakeSpace art studio also lets kids get creative during regular visits to the museum.

Thrive Art School’s two Seattle studios use art instruction to help kids develop essential life skills like problem solving and self-confidence. It’s a lofty aim and your votes show it’s working for your kids.

Kirkland Arts Center’s camps explore specific themes through an artistic lens, such as a camp focused on family connections incorporating family portraits and finger prints. Classes for youth, teens and adults cover Experimental Animation, pottery, painting and more.


⇐ Infant + Toddler Classes | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Overnight Camps ⇒


Campers in boat at Camp Sealth
Camp Sealth

Overnight Camps

WINNER: Camp Sealth

A mountain of votes piled up for Vashon Island’s Camp Sealth, making it your top pick among overnight camps. One voter had this high praise: “Next to Disney, it’s the happiest place on earth!” But forget rides and characters, Camp Sealth excels at what kids really love: outdoor play. For almost a hundred years, campers have reveled in all the best sleep-away camp activities, including arts and crafts, horseback riding, water fun, camp fires, sports, new friendships and more. You love the staff, calling them super supportive and well-trained and you appreciate how well they care for all campers’ needs.


You and your girls love Girl Scouts Camp River Ranch and its positive environment for girls. Campers build relationships and uncover leadership skills in an affirming community, all while enjoying a great, outdoor summer camp experience. One voter reports her girls particularly love the open-air cabins and the “overall enthusiastic environment.” River Ranch is run by the Girl Scouts, but no prior experience as a Girl Scout is needed to attend.

Regional YMCA branches run super-fun overnight camps and your votes show your love. Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, Camp Colman on the South Puget Sound and Camp Seymour in Gig Harbor offer week after week of traditional sleep-away camp where kids have been having a ball practically forever – for 100 years at Camp Colman! The YMCA also offers Xtreme Adventure overnight camps and leadership expeditions for teens, among myriad other camp opportunities.

You’ll notice Wilderness Awareness School in many camps and classes categories, because you truly love its programs. WAS delivers a variety of classes and camps for kids to adults, including overnight camps for ages 11 to 18, which focus on survival techniques, exploring nature and acquiring confidence through learned skills and self-reliance. It takes a special staff to impart this knowledge and more than one voter raved about the “amazing naturalist instructors.”

Girl Scouts Camp Robbinswold earned your votes for its beautiful waterfront facility and “magical” overnight camps for girls. You love Robbinswold’s “caring counselors” who help girls explore the natural world, go swimming, and make great friends.

Black Lake Bible Camp combines outdoor fun by the lake, swimming, songs, games (including something called “the blob”) with the teaching and modeling of Christian principles. Overnight camps welcome kids in grades 4 through 12 in three age groupings.


⇐ Art Camps, Classes + Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Camps + Classes for Tweens + Teens ⇒


Swimmers jumping off the dock at Camp Sealth
Camp Sealth

Camps + Classes for Tweens + Teens

WINNER: Camp Sealth

Tweens and teens can be a tough crowd. Your enthusiastic votes put Camp Sealth on top for tweens and teens for its ability to let kids be themselves in beautiful, natural setting. Parking their gadgets and pressures, kids explore forest, wetland, beach and meadow, as well as themselves. While campers dive headlong into Sealth’s awesome outdoor activities and programs, they find character, confidence and connection in the camp’s magical environment. It’s no wonder you love it for your tweens and teens.


Tacoma Musical Playhouse is serving your teens and tweens well, with its multi-week summer productions where campers learn, rehearse and perform a full-scale musical in front of a live audience. Tweens and teens explore different roles in a musical theater environment, and not just various parts in the cast, but dancing, singing, acting, behind-the-scenes roles and teamwork.

Seattle’s renowned Pacific Science Center earned your votes for delivering “awesome, intriguing science curriculum” to tweens, teens and all youth across our region. Pacific Science Center endeavors to spread science and wonder—through its after-school programs, camps, field trips, workshops, exhibits and more. Kids dig the creative and hands-on nature of classes and camps; you love your kids’ growing love of science.

Your votes showed some serious love for Girl Scouts Camp River Ranch and how its programs feed your tweens and teens major girl power. With a huge facility along the Tolt River near Carnation, girls sleep in wagons, A-frames and cabins, and partake in horseback riding, swimming in the lake and other fun, community-building programs. One voter commended the “great, well-established program and good staff.”

There’s no shortage of praise for Wildnerness Awareness School across camps and classes categories and you definitely approve of how this organization is shepherding your tweens and teens toward adulthood, teaching them problem-solving and self-reliance.

The YMCA began over 150 years ago, building community among youth, and the tradition continues today in your cities and neighborhoods. At the Y tweens and teens find sports, friends, after-school activities, homework help, healthy pass times and more.


⇐ Overnight Camps | ⇑ Camps + Classes | After-school + Enrichment Programs ⇒


Boy with pencil and workbook at table

After-school + Enrichment Programs

WINNER: Russian School of Mathematics

Everyone wants their kids to have a leg up in today’s competitive world and your votes show you like the advantage that Bellevue’s Russian School of Mathematics is providing for your students. RSM provides after-school math enrichment, tutoring and test prep for kids in kindergarten through high school. RSM seeks to bring a traditional Russian- and European-influenced approach to math to the U.S. to help American students excel. Clearly you’re finding it’s working for your kids.


Ripe young minds are soaking up language with Sponge, which received a bundle of your votes for its foreign language classes in Spanish, French, Japanese, Mandarin and Hindi. Sponge brings language to Seattle-area elementary schools and you are digging how your kids are learning. In addition to after-school classes for elementary students, Sponge offers classes for little kids at its centers. You particularly appreciate Sponge’s teachers, calling them “awesome,” “incredible” and “amazing.”

With a finalist position in so many camps and classes categories, your neighborhood YMCAs in Pierce and Kitsap, King and Snohomish counties are a major player in your families’ daily lives, including providing a safe and enriching place for your kids to go after school. Kids play, do homework, partake in activities and commune with friends. Your votes show an enthusiastic thumbs up from you.

Like the YMCA, neighborhood Boys and Girls Clubs in King County, Snohomish County and the South Puget Sound play a critical role in your families’ making it work, day to day and week to week.

A read through all entire the camps and classes category reveals the depth of your reverence for Duvall’s Wilderness Awareness School. Of course you love its custom after-school programs that meet at local elementary schools or parks, among other programs.

Jumpin’ J’s brings the action, technique and fun of jump-roping to area elementary schools where kids have a blast learning single rope and partner skills, plus Double Dutch and more, and you and your kids love it.


⇐ Camps + Classes for Tweens + Teens | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Unique Camps ⇒


School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts campers
School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts

Unique Camps

WINNER: School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA)

Your votes flowed in for the School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts and its unique programs in circus, acrobatics, trapeze and more. You love that SANCA occupies a special and needed space where physical activity and sport are not competitive; here the environment is welcoming, empowering and fun. SANCA’s camps welcome kids from 6 to 17 and get them bouncing, balancing, swinging and climbing right from the start. You raved about the instructors, calling them the “best possible teachers who teach with love and flair.”


It must be sinking in by now. Wilderness Awareness School absolutely rocks. You love that your kids develop a true connection to nature along with practical skills, like tracking and choosing edible plants, that boost their confidence in the wild. One pleased parent noted how the kids have a blast at camp and she especially likes that they’re “dirty, tired and so happy at the end of each day.”

You want quality foreign language instruction for your kiddos and you clearly think that Sponge is doing a fine job at it. Voters praised Sponge’s “wonderful interactive language courses and exceptional teachers,” and that its programs “introduce foreign language to young children in an engaging and effective environment.” Sponge offers language camps in Seattle and Bellevue locations, along with classes in those and other locations.

Your votes show your appreciation for Hands On Children’s Museum’s camps. The Olympia museum’s camps combine science, art, nature and more and pack a lot of learning—hands on, of course—into a fun camp day. Camps on topics from bugs to robots and Lego architecture to photography welcome kids age 3 to grade 4 in half- and full-day sessions.

You expect your kids to have loads of fun at camp all day, that’s a given. Steve and Kate's Camp comes with major bonus points, that you’ve clearly noticed, for its huge convenience factor. Once you sign up, kids can attend Steve and Kate’s any weekday, all summer long, and chef-prepared lunch and snacks are provided.

The Little Gym also offers flexibility for families’ needs, and you love it. Little kids play games, tumble and build with Lego, while bigger kids practice gymnastics skills. You like that your kids can attend for a day or a week to suit your needs.


⇐ After-school + Enrichment Programs | ⇑ Camps + Classes | Family Camps ⇒


Kids playing on field at Camp Sealth
Camp Sealth

Family Camps

WINNER: Camp Sealth

You’ve seen the natural glow in your kids’ faces as they come home from Camp Sealth, and you know how to get a piece of that fresh air pie; family camp! Lucky for tired parents, ultra-popular camps like Sealth know that grown-ups want carefree, tech-free, outdoor living, too, even for just a few days. You love Camp Sealth’s weekend Family Camps in summer and fall, and one in spring for families of kids with special needs. Sleep in a cabin, walk the beach, practice archery, sit around the camp fire, swim, do arts and crafts, all with your happy family.


Super-fun times await at YMCA Camp Orkila on Orcas Island as it welcomes families for a three- or four-night family camp over Labor Day weekend. But mark your calendar for next year; this year’s family camp is already full. Those of you voters in the know love kayaking, zip-lining, doing crafts and hanging out in nature with your kids. One happy camper noted that at Orkila, “the Y is completely dialed in on all facets of coordination, education and fun.”

North Cascades Environmental Learning Center’s weekend family getaways offer a premium “camping” experience and you love it. No need to bring a tent and no need to miss gourmet eating; sleep in a comfy room and enjoy healthy, family-style meals in the dining hall. In between sleeping and eating, soak up the stunning North Cascades scenery on hikes, during organized games, while reading or sketching, or partaking in whatever kind of family fun suits you.

The YMCA's Camp Seymour offers affordable, relaxing long-weekend family camps and your votes show that you and your crews really dig it! Seymour welcomes families of all kinds for camps over Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Get set up in your cabin, then check the itinerary of organized activities designed for family fun and togetherness.
All ages, including boys, take over Camp Robbinswold over Labor Day weekend when the popular Girl Scouts camp welcomes families. One family member must be a registered Girl Scout. Robbinswold also offers partner camps where girls bring their favorite adult along for an exploratory camp session.
Another of the YMCA’s overnight camps, Camp Colman, earned your commendations as a great place for family fun in the outdoors. Labor Day and other weekends have families kayaking, learning about marine science, enjoying a campfire at sunset and more.


⇐ Unique Camps | ⇑ Camps + Classes


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