When it comes to summer camps, sometimes it’s hard to find just the right one for your child. Wading through the myriad of camp listings can be a daunting task, especially when deadlines are looming. There are SO MANY great camp options out there, how do you choose?
This week I had the opportunity to get the inside scoop on one local program, Camp Viva in Braintree. Although my children have not personally attended this camp (yet), I have numerous friends and neighbors that have sent their little ones there in the past, all with rave reviews. I was excited to chat with Andrea Foley, owner and director of Camp Viva, about what makes her camp so special, and can’t wait to share! (For more information on Camp Viva, as well as a 10% discount code, please read on to the end of the post)!
Tell me about yourself. What is your background?
I’ve spent my entire life around children in one way or another. From an early age I coached soccer, track, and gymnastics, from young children all the way up to the high school varsity level. Professionally, I am an educator. I’ve taught Spanish, Special Education, and have most recently been a Middle School Assistant Principal. I love connecting with and educating children and making sure that everyone feels included, challenged, and most importantly, is having fun!
How and when did Camp Viva first get started?
Like many, I spent my childhood mainly at sports camp, but I was interested in so much more! Don’t get me wrong, I loved competing in sports all day long, but have always had so many other interests in addition to sports. For years, I had kicked around the idea of starting a camp where children are able to craft their day to their liking since a one-size-fits-all camp doesn’t always cut it. We centered this around campers having a “specialty” (think of that as their core classes, or their college major), and “electives” (their non-core offerings where they get to try something new and fun) twice each day. Finally, in 2014, we started Camp Viva with an awesome group of children and haven’t looked back since!
What does a day at Camp Viva look like?
Campers spend about 2 hours each day in their specialty (Paint-it!, Compete!, Lights-Camera-Act! or Craft-it!). Then, each day we offer about 10 different activities for kids to choose two for their afternoon elective. This is where it gets really fun! Some electives include cupcake decorating, gymnastics, sports games, circus arts (learning to ride a unicycle, juggle, walk on your hands), crafts, painting, gardening, games in Spanish, candy math, building with gumdrops, and so much more. Last year we offered over 70 different electives in just one week! Kids spend about 2 hours of their day in electives. The rest of the day is spent in fun all camp activities (such as tie dying camp shirts) or special events. One highlight has been having my brother, who is a professional athlete, come and do a Q & A and sign autographs each summer.
What makes Camp Viva different from other summer camps?
The feedback we have gotten from parents in the past has been, “I can’t believe how much they do in a day” or “We love how personalized the attention is!” We offer a huge variety, which kids don’t get anywhere else. The staff we hire is exceptional. Each and every staff member has a passion for working with children, and most are educators, aspiring educators, or otherwise active in their community with children in some way. We strive to have a 9-1 ratio of staff to kids, which is better than most camps, so each child receives the attention needed to make their week memorable. Any parent or child that has done our camp will tell you that our staff is the best of the best.
Tell us about The Growth Mindset and how you use it at Camp Viva.
The Growth Mindset is a belief system developed by Carol Dweck, a Psychology professor at Stanford University. The basic principal is that many individuals have a “fixed” mindset, and believe that their intelligence and success is based on innate abilities. The Growth mindset is the opposite; it is the belief that successes are based on hard-work, learning, and perseverance. This applies to everyone, but I strongly believe in instilling this belief in children at a young age. I work hard to instill it in all of my students, and it is a central theme I carry over to Camp Viva as well. Kids are encouraged to try new activities that they may not be “good” at, and learn that successes will come from hard work.
What can campers expect this year at Camp Viva?
We are back for a third year, and for the first year, we are offering two weeks. Each year has gotten bigger and better, with more campers, more electives, more specialties and more fun! Campers can expect similar activities to previous years and we will certainly be adding in some new, awesome activities that kids are sure to love! As you know, I’m a new mom and love your blog, so I’m happy to offer a discount to other local moms; just enter promo code ‘southshoremamas’ when signing up at www.campviva.com to receive 10% off.
General Camp Information:
Camp Viva is open to children entering grades 1-5. The camp runs for two weeks, August 1st-5th and August 8th-12th, from 9am-2pm each day. It is located in Morrison Elementary School in Braintree.
Price is $240 per week (early morning drop off at 8:00am is available for an additional $10 per day). Sibling discounts are available, as well as a 10% discount for South Shore Mamas readers! (Enter code southshoremamas to receive your discount).