Somerville YMCA

Camp Sunburst

somerville campers outside laughing

LIGHT UP YOUR SUMMER AT CAMP SUNBURST

Camp Sunburst at Somerville YMCA - an 11-week program that runs from Monday, June 22 through Friday, September 4 - offers an exciting variety of camp options to please every kind of camper at every age! Whether you sign up for one week, three weeks, or all 11, rest assured that your friends at the Y will work to make those weeks the best summer ever!

Mix and match camps to customize your child’s camp schedule with both traditional multi-activity and specialty camp options—there are over a dozen traditional, arts, STEM, and special needs camp options to choose from for children entering Preschool through 10th grade in September 2020. And no matter which camp(s) you choose, you can feel great knowing that your campers are getting the quality day camp experience they expect from the nation’s largest nonprofit child care provider.

IMPORTANT DATES:

Registration: February 8 for members; February 24 for the community

Open House Dates: February 1, March 14, and April 11 - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.


Giving campers a S.P.A.C.E. to spread their wings and soar.

Camp Sunburst’s very own S.P.A.C.E. philosophy is holistically integrated throughout every traditional and specialty camp all summer long. What is S.P.A.C.E.? It stands for swimming, play, art, community and enrichment. We embed these signature elements across our entire camp program to create a truly well-rounded day camp experience for each child. It’s just one of the many ways the Y comprehensively supports the development of the whole child while they are here with us at Camp Sunburst.

REGISTER


Traditional Camp Options 

Traditional Camp

Camp Sunburst’s popular, traditional multi-activity outdoor camp offers a broad array of activities that engage and entertain campers, including weekly trips and theme days. Campers build social skills and long lasting friendships through participation in individual and small group activities in the areas of Arts & Humanities, Science & Nature and Sports & Games. Art & Humanities actively explores the visual arts through painting, drawing and sculpting, as well as more performance-based activities involving music and song. In Science & Nature, campers engage their left brain in a fun way with STEM activities like making dirt cups out of pudding and gummy worms as a tasty way illustrate different levels of soil in the ground beneath us. Camp Sunburst’s small group-based activities help children learn how to work with a group of peers and engage collaboratively with different perspectives. Recess-style games like kickball, jailbreak (tag) and other age-appropriate fun round out the core camp day in Sports & Games. Campers also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through their participation in free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Pizza Thursdays offer busy parents, for a small additional cost, a break from meal planning. Pizza money is due by 12 p.m. the day before

At Camp Sunburst, we proactively address the dreaded academic summer slump by including an educational portion to the camp day with a healthy helping of brain games, reading time and more. These activities are designed to stimulate and encourage grade level-appropriate critical thinking skills. Weekly theme days also add something special as a core concept or celebration day is woven across the entire camp day. Our Traditional Campers have the option to attend the camp trip each Friday for an additional fee. See Weekly Trip Options to learn more.

Kindercamp

Kinder Campers feel like true members of the camp community as they take part in the full spectrum of activities offered in our traditional camp, including weekly trips and theme days here at Camp Sunburst. Kinder Campers develop social skills and make new friends through participation in our lineup of Arts & Humanities, Science & Nature and Sports & Games activities (both indoor and outdoor). Kinder Campers learn how to work in a group setting and collaborate with peers with different perspectives. Daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time are also integrated into our Kinder Campers' experience, so they can become strong and confident swimmers. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Pizza Thursdays offer busy parents, for a small additional cost, a break from meal planning. Pizza money is due by 12 p.m. the day before. 

We keep our little campers' brains active with age-appropriate brain games, reading time and more. These activities are designed to stimulate and encourage grade level-appropriate critical thinking skills. Weekly theme days also add something special as a core concept or celebration day is woven across the entire camp day. Our Kinder Campers have the option to attend the camp trip each Friday along with Traditional Campers for an additional fee. See “Weekly Trip Options” below to learn more.

TRADITIONAL & KINDERCAMP DAILY SCHEDULE

 

Daily Schedule: Traditional Camp & Kindercamp

  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Team Building/Theme Week Activities
  • Morning Snack
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Sports & Games
  • Lunch
  • CATCH Curriculum Games
  • Swimming
  • Science & Nature
  • Literacy/Brain Games
  • CIT-Led Games & Activities
  • Afternoon Snack
  • Closing Ceremonies
WEEKLY TRIP OPTIONS

Camp Sunburst offers a different exciting weekly trip each Friday for our Traditional and Kinder Campers. See below for a sample of this year’s destination lineup. Weekly trips are entirely optional and are offered for an additional fee. Children who do not attend the trip enjoy a fun-filled normal camp day filled with all of the usual camp day activities.

  • Week 1 – Bowlmor
  • Week 2 – Turtle Back Zoo
  • Week 3 – Liberty Science Center
  • Week 4 – Rock Climbing
  • Week 5 – Mountain Creek Water Paark
  • Week 6 – iPlay America
  • Week 7 – Land of Make Believe
  • Week 8 – Urban Air
  • Week 9 – Yestercades & Movie
  • Week 10 – Branchburg Sports Complex

 

Preschool Camp

Summer Camp isn’t just for the big kids at Somerville YMCA! Children ages 3-4 join in on the summer fun in our Early Education Center. Our Preschool I & II classrooms provide children with daily structure and variety including choice time in learning centers, rest time, and morning and afternoon outdoor fun on our private enclosed playground.

Our Preschool Campers explore exciting summertime themes in their studies and activities at our fully-licensed facility. Some past themes have included Under the Sea, Camping, and Dinosaurs. A free swim time two days a week is also included for all fully potty-trained children—one day of swim lessons and one day of free swim fun. For added enrichment, Somerville YMCA brings the fun of field trips to our Preschool Campers with an exciting magic show, entertaining puppet show, an educational visit from Rizzo’s Reptiles and more! Preschool Campers also have the opportunity to join in on the summer fun of Pizza Thursdays along with our older campers. On-site field trips and Pizza Thursdays are optional and offered for an additional fee.

All staff in our Early Education Center are CPR and First Aid certified, and lead teachers hold degrees in early childhood and/or elementary education. For more information about Preschool Camp at Somerville YMCA please contact our Director of Childcare

Special Needs Inclusion Program

Camp Sunburst’s Special Needs Inclusion Program is for children with mild to moderate disabilities who are capable of thriving in a typically developing camper atmosphere and who will benefit from a fully integrated summer day camp experience. The Inclusion Program is offered for our multi-activity, outdoor Traditional Camp and Kindercamp. The variety of daily activities our summer day camps offer often result in positive therapeutic outcomes through their recreational nature. Please see the individual descriptions for Traditional Camp and Kinder Camp for complete details about each of these exciting day camp options.

Shadows are available and assigned to those children who need some extra support during the camp day, such as those who receive in-class support during the school year. Shadows provide basic assistance with engaging in social and recreational activities within a group setting. Shadows are matched based on the individual camper’s needs and the shadow’s prior experience providing that level of support. The level of expertise necessary for your child’s participation will be discussed with parents prior to the start of camp. Shadows are provided at no cost to families thanks to a generous grant from the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation.

Somerville YMCA’a day camps are approved to provide camp programs to children eligible for services through Division of Children and Families, NJ Children’s System of Care. Funding through the Department of Children and Families, NJ Children’s System of Care can be accessed by families with children with developmental disabilities. Greater Somerset County YMCA is a qualified provider allowing families to access these funds.

The Special Needs Inclusion Program is available for Traditional Camp and Kindercamp, which are both held during the entire camp season from Monday, June 22 through Friday, September 4. The Program is funded in part by the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation.

All requests for shadows must be made by March 1, 2020 so that we can secure the appropriate staff to meet your child’s needs.

For all questions and to schedule a meeting, contact our Associate Program Director

Camp Sunburst at Somerville YMCA is proud to offer a traditional, multi-activity day camp experience for children with special needs entering grades 1-8 in September 2020. Our camps are a wonderful way to enrich your child’s summer through a broad array of activities that engage and entertain campers, including weekly trips and theme days.


Teen Camp Options

Camp Sunburst’s innovative camp options specially designed for teens support their developing self-esteem, confidence and independence. From our popular Counselor in Training program to the new Leaders in Training program, there’s something for all teens looking to gain valuable work and life skills while giving  back to their community and a building their sense of social responsibility.

Counselor in Training (CIT)

Camp Sunburst’s signature Counselor in Training (CIT) program is tailored for teens who are looking to develop skills as future leaders—with a special focus on the unique skills needed to become a camp counselor. Participants build personal values of responsibility, motivation, creativity and dependability while working with younger campers in a supportive setting under the direction of mentors. CITs gain valuable firsthand experience working with children of various ages, become skilled in behavior management, and gain a real-world perspective on what it means to run a quality camp day. Exclusive training for our CITs includes leadership and communication skills, problem-solving, and program planning. Leading select sports, games or art camp activities and even performing impromptu skits in a small group helps CITs develop their self-confidence and public speaking ability.

Our YMCA professional staff also review key resume-writing skills and prepare CITs for in-person mock interviews by advising on active posture and other nonverbal cues and even how to present oneself in a professional setting. In addition, Camp Sunburst’s CIT program inspires the next generation of leaders through select volunteer opportunities to not only help fulfill service hours but build a sense of social responsibility through a deeper understanding of social issues impacting our community.

DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION

Completed CIT applications must be submitted to our Associate Program Director via email prior to camp registration in order to be accepted into this program.

Leaders in Training (LIT) - NEW THIS YEAR

Camp Sunburst’s innovative new Leaders in Training (LIT) program is tailored for teens who are looking to develop skills as future leaders—with a special focus on the critical life skills needed to become successfully independent adults in today’s workforce. Participants build personal values of responsibility, motivation, creativity and dependability. LITs learn leadership skills and gain key life skills by learning basic money management, including how to balance a checkbook. Exclusive training for our LITs also involves experiential learning that teaches critical people skills, public speaking, as well as planning for the future—including how to search for and evaluate colleges, write the all-important college essay, and even how to apply to jobs.

To enhance college readiness, LITs are provided with key sources for researching colleges, such as access to various professionals who will share their educational and professional path in life. A tour of a nearby major research university will give LITs and up close look at the world of higher education. LITs will also boost their public speaking skills through persuasive speech-writing, presentation, and constructive feedback exercises. Our YMCA professional staff also review key resume-writing skills and prepare LITs for in-person mock interviews with advice on active posture and other nonverbal cues, and even how to present oneself when interviewing for most types of entry-level professional jobs. In addition, Camp Sunburst’s LIT program inspires the next generation of leaders through select volunteer opportunities to not only help fulfill service hours but build a sense of social responsibility through a deeper understanding of social issues impacting our community.

DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION

Completed LIT applications must be submitted to our Associate Program Director via email prior to camp registration in order to be accepted into this program.


Specialty Camp Options

gymnast doing backflip and two girls at computer

Camp Sunburst’s popular themed specialty camps are terrific opportunities for campers to explore their creativity and pursue passions in science, art, technology, performing arts and more! It is a perfect way to add variety to their summer camp experience as they learn and grow.

ART CAMP

 

Art is everywhere and art is for everyone in Art Camp! Campers with any and all skill levels are exposed to a wide variety of art forms and mediums as they develop their inner artist and create truly unique works in this popular camp. The use of acrylic paints, pencil drawing, watercolors, self-drying clay and more are actively explored by campers as they engage in the creative process creating everything from a traditional still life to an imaginative self-portrait. At the end of the week, parents and fellow campers are invited to a special gallery-style art show to see all these creative campers have learned and created—after which campers get to take home their creative works!

Artistic ability is not a prerequisite. Beginners and experienced young artists alike are welcome! Art Camp staff work professionally in the visual arts and hold a degree in the field. Campers also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Recommended attire: A smock, oversize shirt, or other clothing that can get messy.

CULINARY CREATIONS

 

Culinary Creations Camp offers hands-on creative cooking experience under supervision with a healthy helping of fun! Parents can pack light on the food for campers this week—providing just enough snacks and a water bottle for their children. Every day in Culinary Creations Camp, campers will prepare two meals: a hearty, healthy breakfast and lunch. Examples of food our campers learn to prepare and will enjoy in this tasty camp include pancakes, waffles, and a classic grilled cheese. Rooted in the proven CATCH curriculum, children learn about appropriate serving sizes and healthy portions while developing a healthy weekly menu in this food-centric camp. Campers’ ingenuity will be on display as they use basic cooking equipment like griddles and mixing bowls to serve up hearty and healthy food items to eat! Culinary Creations Camp culminates in each camper taking home their very own collection of recipes from camp to make at home with an adult. Campers will leave with a newfound love for cooking as well as the skills and confidence to safely prepare delicious meals. They also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

There will be no use of open flames and all chopping will be done by our instructors for safety. Egg, milk and flour ingredients will be used in this food-based camp. Please advise your counselor in advance of any food allergies. Culinary Creations Camp is not vegan-friendly and not gluten-free. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate these eating styles. Camp Sunburst is a nut-free environment.

Recommended attire: A smock, oversize shirt, or other clothing that can get messy.

CHEER/DANCE CAMP

 

Cheer/Dance Camp encourages campers to be physically active and have fun while learning the latest cheers, stunts and dance utilizing the Y’s gymnastics mats and spring floor! Campers are grouped by ability level so all are appropriately challenged in daily workshops while gaining confidence, discovering new skills, and learning stage presence.

In the cheer portion of this high-energy camp, everything from thigh stands to floor skills like handstands, cartwheels and round-offs will be explored. Aspiring and experienced dancers alike will spend the week moving to the music—sampling everything from basic ballet through lyrical and modern styles of dance. At the end of the week, campers put on a show-stopping performance for their fellow campers and parents.

This camp is great for beginners as well as campers with prior cheer and/or dance experience who benefit from perfecting and refining basic stunts and dance technique. All are welcome. Cheer/Dance Camp Staff are professional dance and/or gymnastics instructors at the Y and/or at local studios. This camp is perfect as a springboard to prepare for the upcoming cheerleading season, further instruction in dance at the Y, and/or the Y’s competitive dance team.

Campers also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Recommended attire: A leotard or other appropriate dance/cheer attire.

GYMNASTICS CAMP

 

In Camp Sunburst’s popular Gymnastics Camp, our professional coaches are focused on the total development of each gymnast. Campers benefit from increasing strength, flexibility and coordination while building on skills. Campers gain self-confidence as they learn and improve individual bar, beam, vault, and floor skills on the same equipment utilized by Somerville YMCA’s award-winning competitive SVY Gymnastics Team. Gymnastics Camp is great for beginners as well as campers with prior gymnastics experience. All skill levels are welcome. This exciting camp will get aspiring gymnasts ready for further progression in gymnastics instruction at the Y and/or the upcoming competitive season on the SVY Gymnastics Team. In addition, Week 10 of Gymnastics Camp is a dedicated tryout camp—specifically designed to prepare participants for upcoming SVY Gymnastics Team tryouts. Campers also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Gymnastics Camp is led by the SVY Gymnastics Team coach, who has 15+ years’ experience coaching boys and girls gymnastics up to level 6 and also is a dance instructor with extensive choreography experience.

Recommended attire: A leotard or comfortable gym clothing. Hair must be tied back. No jewelry.

KIDVENTURE CAMP

 

Campers are off to visit a different attraction each day in Kidventure Camp! Every morning brings something new to do as campers embark for a great time at a wide variety of destinations such as Funplex for an action-packed day in an indoor amusement park, Liberty Science Center for a STEM-filled day of fun, and more! Campers explore each destination together as a group under the constant supervision of Camp Sunburst counselors. Most trips run from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., however, a few trips will require 8 a.m. drop-off and/or 6:30 p.m. pick-up.

Week 1:

  • Monday – Funplex/Splashplex
  • Tuesday – Liberty Science Center
  • Wednesday – Monster Mini Golf
  • Thursday – Chuck E Cheese
  • Friday – Pump It Up

 

Week 2:

  • Monday – Jenkinson’s Boardwalk/Aquarium
  • Tuesday – Coco Keys
  • Wednesday – The Growing Stage: Children’s Theater of NJ
  • Thursday – Philadelphia Zoo
  • Friday – Six Flags
OOEY GOOEY CAMP

 

Get ready to get messy in the one, the only—Ooey Gooey Camp! Campers get hands-on with the messiest of science-based challenges like creating a Diet Coke® and Mentos® eruption (aka: a soda geyser), playing with Silly Putty® and more—plus outside water games and water balloons! Experiment and create all week long with the ooey-est and the gooy-est materials we can find here at Camp Sunburst. Campers even make their very own slime and Play-Doh® to take home!

Campers also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Recommended attire: A smock, oversize shirt, or other clothing that can get messy.

STEM CAMP

 

A different STEM experience each week! Camp Sunburst has partnered with STEAM Works Studio to bring an exciting new experience to Camp Sunburst that is uniquely focused on fostering essential skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Our new STEM Camp offerings bring hands-on learning by “making” to camp for an unforgettably fun summer! Campers in all of our STEM camps also gain the courage and confidence as life-long swimmers through free daily swim lessons and a daily recreational swim time. Children should bring a bathing suit and towel each day.

Week 7 - Minecraft

Does your camper love all things Minecraft? Minecraft Camp offers campers the opportunity to create their very own games and animations! They’ll learn to code using SCRATCH's easy “drag and drop programming” to bring their digital creations to life. Coding is an increasingly useful skill and helps children learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.

Campers must be entering 1st-6th grade (ages 6 - 11 years old) in September 2020.

Week 8 - 3D Video Games

Campers use game objects, models and levels to create exciting game environments in 3D Video Games Camp. Starting with a 2D Pacman game, campers are introduced to 3D libraries to create FPV arcade games leading into virtual reality experiences in this uniquely engaging camp experience. They will program their first interactions using C# programming language and Unity cross-platform game engine.

Campers must be entering 5th-10th grade (ages 10-15 years old) in September 2020.

Week 9 - Super Science

Super Science Camp is a practical, hands-on science and craft experience for campers to enjoy and explore the amazing world of science! Have you made your own Oobleck yet? Chemistry experiments abound using food colors, baking soda and other safe ingredients. Paper airplanes, building sturdy bridges, balloon powered cars and other fun STEM activities offer endless fun for budding scientists.

Campers must be entering 1st-6th grade (ages 6-11 years old) in September 2020.

Week 10 - DIY Drones

In DIY Drones, build and take home your very own drone! Campers learn basic principles of flight, what makes things go up against the air, as well as the basics of 3D printing and CAD, soldering and electronics. This culminates in campers building a load-bearing, fully functional quadcopter which can fly using remote control and even take aerial photos!

Campers must be entering 5th-10th grade (ages 10-15 years old) in September 2020.


SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUT: BRAG TAGS

Every camper has the opportunity to earn brag tags all summer long. What are brag tags? They are a way for campers to show (and show off) when they have been noticed by counselors and staff exhibiting any one of the following values and positive characteristics at camp: caring, honesty, leadership, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, team player and, of course, camp spirit!

How do campers earn brag tags? Cheer a fellow camper on or actively participate in opening ceremonies and you may find yourself earning a brag tag for camp spirit. Or maybe you encourage the rest of your group to do the right thing or take the lead in an activity. That could very well earn you a leadership brag tag! Did you really want to speak but were respectful of your fellow campers and waited until someone else finished sharing their perspective? That is what the respect brag tag is all about!

You get the idea. The goal is to earn them all and be counted among the few, the proud, the campers in the Brag Tag Hall of Fame.


GO GREEN FOR SWIM PROGRAM

Swimming is a vital skill that makes life safer and more fun! As a national leader in water safety and swim lessons, the Y developed the Go for Green Swim Program, which focuses on improving the swim abilities of children who participate in YMCA Summer Camp programs. Go for Green keeps children safe by helping them gain confidence in and around water. As part of the program, campers at Bridgewater and Somerville YMCAs are swim tested on their first visit to the pool, and identified with one of three color wrist bands:

Red - non-swimmers who always wear a personal floatation device (life jacket) and may only swim in the shallow end of the pool

Yellow – between non-swimmer and swimmer who may swim in the shallow end of the pool and may or may not swim with a personal flotation device

Green – swimmer who is able to swim one lap above water and tread water for one minute, and may swim in any depth of water

Campers receive free daily swim lessons at the Y and are swim tested every Monday during all 11 weeks of summer camp to track and celebrate their progress. As campers gain confidence and competence in the water, they are celebrated by counselors and fellow campers as they rise up toward that coveted green band!


TRAINED FOR SUCCESS

Every year, Bridgewater and Somerville YMCAs engage our summer camp staff in a total of 24 hours of immersive, in-person training prior to the start of the camp season. Our camp staff are extensively trained in areas that include behavior management, child abuse prevention, sexual abuse prevention, aquatics safety and general safety and emergency procedures. As well, all camp staff are required to complete 10+ hours of online training. All camp counselors are CPR/First Aid certified. All are swim tested. And, in addition to the lifeguards on staff at our pools, some counselors are also certified lifeguards themselves.