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Archive for May, 2012


Posted on: May 28th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Is your child doodling on every piece of paper they can get their hands on? Do they dance uncontrollably when their favorite song comes on? Are they saying lines along with their favorite movie? Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may have an underlying talent in the arts that is waiting to be brought to light. And summer is a great time to nurture those talents.

Academic Benefits

There are countless benefits to arts education and exposure but one of the largest is academic benefits. A 2006 study commissioned by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies found that the reading of dramatic plays helps children comprehend and improves reading skills among all age groups but especially for first graders who are reading below their grade level. Similarly, students how are exposed and participate in arts programming show greater proficiency in language and math. And those that have had four or more years of arts study scored 59 points higher in verbal portion and 44 points higher on the math portion of the SAT.

Self Confidence

The benefits, although great in the academic spectrum, go far beyond school and academic achievement. Children who have the opportunity to study the arts are happier and more self-confident. They gain the ability to express themselves more openly and without reservation. Research also shows that arts can also enhance your child’s social standing and ability to communicate with adults.  And these skills will only help them in the future as adults in college, job interviews and business world.

Imagination and Creativity

A child’s imagination is an extraordinary thing and the arts provide kids with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams. It can create worlds we cannot visit, friends we cannot see and ideas we can barely fathom. There is no measurement to the extent a child can grow this magical ability, and as a parent we need to embrace this limitless wonder. Some of your child’s best creations will be the product of their imagination, whether it’s playing an instrument, acting in a play or a hand painted mural. With such a powerful tool for a child, it is important for parents to encourage the growth and an arts summer program is the perfect place to do it.

And remember, just because your child is interested in painting doesn’t mean that they’ll grow up to become a famous painter. But nurturing those talents will certainly help them be a smarter better person. Take the first step when you see your child’s talents show through, you won’t regret and your kids will thank you later.

Performing Art Camps (music, theater and dance)

Ballerina Princess Camps, The Dance Center,; 813-684-4282

Ballerina Princess Camps are week-long sessions set for July and include a daily ballet class. Camps will focus on their own princess ballet — Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Nutcracker — and have daily age-appropriate activities, including arts and crafts. The first 50 dancers registered get a free ballerina princess T-shirt. Class size is limited.

Berkeley Fleming Arts Summer Camp,; 813-885-1673

For more than 30 years, Berkeley summer programs have helped children explore new subjects, develop their creativity, perfect techniques on the playing field and make lasting friendships along the way. Berkeley Summer provides the perfect opportunity to focus, reinforce, enrich, improve and enjoy. Every student benefits from the personalized attention, meaningful activity and the chance to indulge his talents.

Curtain Call Playhouse,, 813-962-7538

Offering the most complete summer camp theater experience.  Choose from the following dates: June 18th, July 2nd, July 16th, and/or July 30th

Guilfoil Academy,, 727-216-6989

The Academy is the home of The Guilfoil Ballet Theater Youth Performance Company. GBT is a Non-Profit pre-professional dance study and performance training program to prepare young artist for future employment in the professional world of dance and theater.

Hoffman Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall, (727) 712-2706,

Give your child a summer in the spotlight at Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Hoffman Institute. Performing arts classes and camps available for ages three to eighteen like “Next Stop Broadway!”, “Show Stoppers!” and “I’m Ready for My Close- Up!”

Largo Cultural Center,; 727-587-6751

The magical theater camp experience has returned to the center this summer. Registration is open for this three-week camp for ages 8-13. From June 11-29, campers will perform in the fantastical, magical and musical extravaganza Seussical Jr. based on the stories of Dr. Seuss. From July 16 through Aug. 4, campers will perform in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man Jr. Campers will be trained in acting, dance, improvisation, pantomime and stage direction by experienced teachers. Scholarships and before and after care are available.

Mary Jo’s Sizzlin’ Summer Camps,; 813-969-0240

Experience a summer of dance (ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, acrobatics), acting, musical theater, voice and music. The fun is for ages 3 and older. The weekly themes include Princess and Pirates, Beach Bash, Dancing Divas & Dudes, Tampa’s Got Talent, Movie Moves and In the Jungle! Sign up online. Sessions are June 18-29 and July 9 through Aug. 3.

Music Showcase and The Florida Academy of Performing Arts,

Camps include musical theater for ages 5 and older. Shows include Fiddler on the Roof, Little Mermaid, High School Musical, and Grease. Other camps include group guitar, group violin, and computer music class, acting classes, rock band and Gleeshow choir. Half and full-day camps and before and after care are available.

Music Together; 727-289-9845; 813-409-4244; 813-979-1789

Get in on the fun with your child during these classes for newborns through age 5. Program includes six 45-minute classes, two CDs, parent guide/DVD and an illustrated songbook.

Patel Conservatory,; 813-222-1002

The Patel Conservatory is offering more than 70 camps and classes in all areas of dance, theater and music for all ages and experience levels! Camps for ages 3 through college-age are Monday through Friday. Weekly classes for all ages are held on afternoons, evenings and weekends. Call to speak to a member of the registration staff for help in choosing the right camp or class for your needs.

Stageworks Summer Theater Camp,; (813) 251-8984

Learn about theater from the bay area’s Stageworks Theatre this summer. Campers will perform in a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie Junior. Camp is open to student’s 8th – 12th grade. Performance dates are July 27, 28 and 29.

Summer Stars Theater Camps; 813-831-5214

These week-long half-day camps bring the magic of the stage to youngsters 5-8 and 9-16. Campers learn acting, music, dance and stagecraft from credentialed, caring staff in a beautiful historic theater. Every camp ends with a fully staged show!

Fine Art Camps (painting, photography, drawing, sculpting)


Dunedin Fine Art Center,; 727-298-3322

Studies show that children who study art do better in all of their studies. DFAC summer art camps offer fun, creative, cognitive experiences for children ages 4-1/2-14. Activities include drawing, painting, drama and dance.

KidzArt,; 813-872-7603

KidzArt is a fun and dynamic drawing-based program that encourages discovery and self-expression in a safe environment! The summer camps are designed to provide each student with a unique experience that nurtures their individual creative spirit while building friendships, gaining artistic understanding and – most importantly – having fun!

Morean Arts Center,; 727-822-7872

Summer art and clay camps for ages 5-15.  Campers will travel through a wide range of media, rotating between two different classrooms and two different teaching artists. Children will learn the art processes, explore the basic art concepts and skills, and learn the proper care for art tools and materials. Our summer camp art teachers use selected weekly themes to create hands-on art experiences that focus on the learning process as well as the final works of art.

For a complete list of camps visit



Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Remember when summer vacation was a chance for all school-aged children to leave the confines of the classroom or living room and spend endless hours outside? Well, one way your parents may have encouraged this is by sending you to a sports or adventure camp. You enjoyed it because you were outdoors but there are countless other benefits to these camps that will help kids thrive in social settings, stay healthy and most importantly have fun.

Sport Camps – promotes exercise, helps focus, develop social skills, and creates healthy habits

Just like it sounds, kids will be spending most of their time doing physical activities both indoors and outdoors. The primary goal here is teaching them that exercise and physical activity is the key to growth, overall health and encourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

Camps with sports at their core will help develop your child’s crucial life skills including leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition. They’ll realize that to succeed as a team requires working together to solve problems and tackle situations head on. Competition, which is everywhere, will also help them succeed whether it be in sports, school or later on in business.

Eckerd College Summer Watersports Camp,

Adjacent to Boca Ciega Bay, the school provides the perfect environment for learning water sports! Classes include sailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, saltwater fishing and more for ages 5-17. The camp is June 4 through Aug. 3, with half-day classes from 9 a.m. to noon and/or 1-4 p.m. All watersports equipment and life jackets are provided.

Protential Sports,, 813-843-9460

Our summer camp program is design to give your child structure, fun and physical activities during the summer months. Fun in weekly field trips to places like Busch Gardens, MOSI, Movies, and more… The sports curriculum is set up so your child will learn a multiple number sports daily. The daily schedule provides five sports per day along with a rest time and lunch.

Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Camp, 

The Rays Baseball camps have become nationally recognized as the premier baseball camp in Florida. Our mission is to teach children the fundamentals of the game through professional instructions that place an emphasis on structured teaching and personal attention. The Rays training programs provide a fun and engaging atmosphere to ensure each child increases his or her love of the game while also assisting in the advanced development of their baseball and softball skills.

Innisbrook Golf and Tennis Camps,

Camp Nessie offers children (age 3-11) an engaging environment to interact with kids their own age while participating in memorable activities. Camp Nessie is built on FUN. Fantastic Staff, Unparalleled Facilities, Nothing but Good Times. Each day at Camp Nessie is uniquely themed with great crafts and fun games.

Tampa Bay Skating Academy Summer Camps, www.tbsa.com813-854-4010,727-723-7785

Have a cool time on the ice this summer. Ice skating camps are offered to beginner and intermediate level skaters ages 6-12. Daily camp sessions include on and off ice instruction, arts and crafts, catered lunch and supervised on-ice free time. There also are camps for experienced skaters, including a hockey camp in Oldsmar and a figure skating camp in Countryside.

Tampa United Volleyball,, 813-787-6221

Tampa United Volleyball Academy has served the Tampa Bay community for 15 years. Club volleyball has helped numerous girls cultivate self-confidence and self-esteem, understand athletic challenges and sportsmanship, and grow into fine young women. Volleyball opens many doors for female student athletes who need assistance financing their higher education or simply wish to use volleyball as a springboard for being admitted to a particular school.


Adventure camps are a great way to get kids to try and learn new things.  These programs challenge our kids mentally as much as physically. Some camps include ropes courses, scuba diving, working with animals, and learning new skills.  This may also require them to conquer a fear. In a supportive program, the staff will engage kids to talk about why they are scared of the activity, helping them face that fear head on and allow them to build confidence and trust.

AquaCamps, www.flaquarium.org813-273-4015

Join the excitement! Get NAUI open water certified during this SCUBA camp for 12-15 year olds. Ages 10-14 can participate in travel camps, enjoying activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and tubing around Tampa Bay. On location camps for ages 6-9 include science experiments, field trips and the opportunity to see live animals. AquaTots and AquaKids programs for 3-6 year olds include crafts, games and live animals. Register online!

Busch Gardens Adventure Camps, www.buschgardens.org888-800-5447,

Busch Gardens offers a variety of camps. Resident camps marry the best of Busch Gardens’ offerings into multi-day, sleep-away programs for students in grades four through college. From single-day to week-long adventures, day camps provide campers in prekindergarten through ninth grade with hands-on, educational experiences with animals and the outdoors. Sleepover camps are one-night overnights perfect for groups and students in first through 12th grade who are looking for enriching up-close encounters with amazing animals.

History Adventures, Tampa Bay History Center,www.tampabayhistorycenter.org813-228-0097

Paint, dance, and swashbuckle your way through Tampa’s past! Campers explore each week-long theme through hands-on activities, arts & crafts, games, music, literature, and interactions with historians and other experts. Summer 2012 themes include: Art Infusion, Viva Tampa!American Girls, and Pirates and Explorers. TBHC’s History Adventure Camps are open to children ages 8-11.

Nature Discovery Camp,

Explore the 400 acre English Creek Preserve and discover the true wild Florida! Campers in grades two through five will enjoy hands-on activities, hikes, games, crafts and field exploration. Sixth through eighth graders will split their time between field studies and a fully supplied science lab as well as building an underwater ROV! All camps include an off-site field trip.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, www.lowryparkzoo.com813-935-8552, Ext. 268

This summer, the Zoo School is headquarters for more than 100 week-long camps for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Kids and teens can learn about nature, science and the animal kingdom while hiking through the zoo, exploring behind-the-scenes and cooling off in the water play areas. Adventure camps include animal encounters, keeper talks, educational shows, games, crafts and more.

Tampa Parks and Recreations Summer Camps,

The city of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department offers a nine-week camp filled with friendship, adventure and fun. Available at 25 community centers across the city, children will enjoy sports, arts and crafts, games and more.

Pathfinder Adventure Camps,

Perhaps your child isn’t ready for a full week away? Or maybe you want an adult weekend getaway while the kids enjoy a camp adventure? These weekend camps in Hillsborough County for students in fourth grade or higher are a great option. Pathfinder also offers week-long overnight camps in Manatee County. Activities include tree climbing, zip lining, archery, canoeing, camp fires, night hikes, ropes courses, arts and crafts, cookouts and more.

Skyland Camp for Girls, www.skylandcamp.com828-627-2470

Celebrating 95 years, Skyland is an overnight camp in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Skyland’s enrollment is limited to 50-65 campers (ages 6-15) per session. While many camps boast enrollment in the hundreds, Skyland believes in providing a summer filled with personalized experiences, magical moments, exploration and confidence-building activities. Whether it’s getting on stage for musical theater, shooting a bulls-eye, hiking to the top of a mountain or cantering on a horse, there are many firsts every single day at Skyland.

Valley View Ranch Equestrian Camp, www.valleyviewranch.com706-862-2231

A horse lovers’ paradise since 1954, this camp takes 60 girls ages 8-17. Instructors teach beginner to advanced riders. Campers spend four to six hours daily with their own horse. They’ll also enjoy swimming, pottery and more.

For a complete list of camps visit:


Posted on: May 10th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Amazingly the second week in May has arrived and your kids are most probably counting down the days until summer vacation. But as the school days dwindle, so do the number of days to choose the best summer camp option for your kids.

Parents and their kids should both play an active part into finding the perfect summer camp. Whether down the street or on the other side of the country, summer camps want your kids to attend their program because like any other business they need to make money.  Although websites and camp handouts can be helpful I suggest take some time to talk with a Camp Director of each camp and discuss the following topics.


Your kids will be spending a lot of time at camp and if they don’t enjoy the programs, it’s going to be a long summer. Talk with your kids about what they enjoy doing or what they want to learn more about.  Once you know what their interest are you can start searching for programs. has a complete list of local camps for ages 4-17, from rocket science to musical theater.

If your kids are in high school, talk with them about academic or enrichment programs that will help prepare them for college.

Staff and Counselors

Your kids will be spending a lot of time with counselors this summer so make sure you understand how they are hired. Find out what sort of background checks that staff must pass (if any) as well as if the staff is trained in First Aid and CPR. Many camps will hire older high school students,  but shouldn’t replace a trained adult.  Lastly, incur as to what the ratio of counselors to campers is. Counselor to camper ratios can vary depending on there age group, but should never exceed 1counselor/teacher per 12 children.


If you know of anyone who has sent their children to the camp your interested in don’t be afraid to ask what they thought. Most camps are also happy to supply you with a references list of current and former campers. Ask “Is there anything you didn’t like about the camp?” or “Will you be sending your kids back this year?”.


There are numerous national organizations, like the American Camps Association, that review programs and camps making sure that staff, facilities and programs are safe and up-to-date. Many wonderful camps aren’t accredited but every camp should be able to tell you how they are evaluated and improve programs on an annual basis.

Although time consuming, this research will pay off making summer time easier for you and the kids. If something doesn’t feel right about a camp, trust that feeling. No one knows what your kids need and want better than you do. And to ease the pre-summer camp jitters, try taking your kids to visit the camp before the first day.


FULL LIST OF CAMPS IN TAMPA BAY (American Camps Association)


Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

College is a great transition part of your child’s life. While still reliant on their parents for some things it’s the chance for your kids to leave the nest, so to speak, and begin adulthood. Finding the right college that fits your child’s needs and desires for the future will determine their success during and after college. You child’s counselor will be able to help to narrow your child’s search along with these tips.


The first step is making sure that each college or university your child applies to has the academic program that they are interested in. If they’re interested in a dance program only look at schools that offer that specific course work. You can purchase books, like the Peterson’s Guide, that have extensive information about the more than 3,000 4-year universities and colleges in the U.S. Academic fit also involves the nature of the classroom setting. Is your child more suited for large lecture halls or small classes with frequent professor interaction?


Each college has it’s own, unique social feel. This is one aspect that you should discuss with college admissions when you visit campuses. Many universities have large Greek life and religious associations. If your child doesn’t want to be a part of these, will it be strange on a Friday night when the dorms empty out to Greek or other activities? Some universities also have a large commuter population that head home on the weekend leaving the campus social life to be different then say that of a university where students stay on the weekends.


Although contrary to popular belief, college is not very expensive. Your child can start their higher learning at a local community college and once they’ve completed their Associates degree can transfer to a four-year program. The benefit of this is tuition is much less expensive at local schools and your child can live at home. On the flip side, the “normal” college experience can be expensive and telling your child that any college is appropriate could leave you or your child with more than $100,000 in debt upon graduation. If finances are an issue, talking openly with your child (as early as middle school) about scholarships can help set a path for a full ride to a great university. Once your child has narrowed down the universities they are interested in applying to set a monetary limit as to how much money can be spent on college applications. On average, applications cost $100 each and before you know it can rack up a hefty bill.

The college search process may appear quite daunting to those who are experiencing it for the first time, but with research and guidance you can better navigate the process.