When I enrolled my son in Camp Galileo as an entering Kindergartner five year ago, I didn’t know much about the camp. I knew there was Art and Science. I knew that my son, who went to a private preschool, needed to make friends with other entering Kinders in our neighborhood. And I knew that the camp was within walking distance from our home. Win-win. I didn’t realize how much of a win it would be until I attended the first Closing Ceremonies. I pretty much cried through all the team cheers. And then I got some serious pride built when I saw what these kids could accomplish with enthusiastic, educated staff and bin of recyclables. Then I got sad knowing that our Camp Galileo experience would end when he finished Fifth Grade.
So color me happy when Galileo Learning expanded Galileo Summer Quest, the middle school version of Camp G, into Almaden Valley. Located in the same location as Camp Galileo, both of my boys will be able to enjoy the Galileo camps. My oldest can build a go-kart or design video games or learn to cook in theme-based, week-long camps that dive deeper into single subjects all while my entering Kinder can enjoy the tradition Camp G experience with multiple art and science projects. It’s another win-win.
The Galileo Camps’ curriculum is designed to be fun and challenging. It’s an academic camp without a traditional classroom experience. I doubt my kid conscientiously knows he’s learning new skills and real science. He’s having fun. He’s building things. He’s trying new things. And he’s learning that failure isn’t failure. It’s merely a natural part of the process.
The emphasis on a well-conceived Innovation Approach is what sets the Galileo Camps apart from every other summer camp we’ve tried over the years. The kids are encouraged to identify goals, brainstorm different ideas/solutions, and decide on a solution. Then they design, build, seek feedback, make adjustments, and ultimately share their creations. If something doesn’t work out the first time, that’s okay. In fact, failure is considered a natural part of the learning experience. The Innovator’s Mindset frames failure as a time be reflective, gain new data, and make adjustments. For a kid like mine, who is deeply afraid of failure, his summers at Camp Galileo (and now at Summer Quest) give him the opportunity to develop a positive take on failure.
Summers with Galileo have become a family tradition. But more than that, I know that my children will take life-long skills from these experiences. I know that mixed in with all the fun, water balls, silly camp songs, and the rubber chicken is a well developed curriculum that focuses on cultivating the next generation, my children included, into creatively critical thinkers. It’s a winning combination with a lasting impact. I can’t wait for summer to begin.
Disclosure: Galileo Learning and I are working together on a series of posts in exchange for a free week of camp. Since my son was an entering Kindergartner, we have been a part of the Camp Galileo family. Some summers, I’ve paid out of my own pocket for four weeks there. Some summers, it’s been just one. Camp Galileo is the first camp we schedule. I’ll be paying for additional weeks at camp because my son loves it that much.