Richmond gets campy

By Zach Chouteau

With the hot season on the horizon just a few weeks away, the clock is ticking on getting kids signed up for their first choice of summer camp. The good news is that Richmond and its surrounding communities offer a variety of cool camps for kids of all ages. For the benefit of our readers, we’ve scouted out some options for kids and parents to consider. Good luck campers, and hope everyone has a safe and happy summer!


The Hilltop YMCA hosts a series of 10 one-week day-camps for ages K through 8th Grade, with the kiddies divided into four age-appropriate groups. Camp hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the first one-week session beginning June 12 and the final one beginning August 14; extended hours are also available at no additional cost. There is also a special CILT program for older kids aged 15 through 17. One of the super-cool elements of Hilltop’s summer fun is that special field trips are slated every single week, such as outings to an Oakland A’s Game, the Oakland Zoo and even Stinson Beach. Another bonus is a select group of ‘enrichment add-ons’ that will include everything from a four-week basketball camp to a two-week Lego Robotics workshop. These camps are $185 for facility members and $205 for program members. The E.M. Downer Family YMCA on 20th Street in Richmond offers a similar program but extends three pricing tiers that might appeal to families on a tight budget. Like its Hilltop counterpart, the program includes a weekly field trip to an awesome attraction—and also highlights colorful weekly themes ranging from Hawaiian Hullabaloo to Amazing Race.

The City of Richmond

It doesn’t get much more cost-friendly than the City of Richmond’s summer day camps, including their free Achieve Summer Learning Camps that blend classroom education with outdoor offerings. Done in conjunction with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, these complimentary camps start on June 14 and run through August 16, Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; registration is required and the camps serve children from ages six through 12.  The host sites will be Booker T. Anderson, Nevin, Parchester and Shields Reid Community Centers. For campers wanting to get a bit more physical, the City of Richmond concurrently offers their Elevate Summer Camps for the same age group, with greater focus on games and sports. The weekly cost is $68 for Richmond residents and $85 for non-residents, with affordable pre- and post-camp supervision also available. The host venues for this offering will be the May Valley Community Center and the Richmond Recreation Complex.

Photo courtesy of Girls Inc of West Contra Costa County

Girls Inc.

Hosted by Girls Inc. of West Contra County, this summer camp is for girls only and runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from June 12 through August 18. Campers can pay $75 per week or sign up for the full summer for $600, and there is also a $35 registration cost. Breakfast and lunch are provided and extended care is also available in the mornings and afternoons for an additional fee. These camps keep the fun fresh and interesting by offering a new theme every week—from Fun Fitness to Crazy Crafts—and also include some compelling field trips like museum outings and even a visit to the Jelly Belly Factory. While the official deadline was June 1, it’s worth checking in as sign-ups can be done on a weekly basis and you never know when there might be openings.

Richmond Art Center

The Richmond Art Center (RAC) is home to a gamut of creative day-camp programs for kids of almost any age. Themed weeks include Creating Community (June 12 to 16), Where I Come From… (June 26 to 30), and Contemporary Arts (July 10 to 14). Most of the courses are three hours long and range in price from around $99 to $130, with a slight discount for RAC members. Whether children are into drawing, sculpture, printmaking or another artistic medium they’re likely to find a matching program among the ample summer programs at the RAC.

Rosie’s Girls

This special six-week camp is the brainchild of the Rosie the Riveter Trust, Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park and YMCA of the East Bay. It launches June 12 and runs through July 22 and includes a four-night sleepover at Yosemite National Park. The camp is named for Rosie the Riveter, the iconic character representing the invaluable female workforce that developed on the U.S. Homefront during WWII.

Prospect Sierra

Prospect Sierra, a nationally and internationally recognized school for K-8 students on two campuses in El Cerrito, is expanding its camp offerings. Prospect Sierra offers a Drama camp ( July 17-21), Basketball camps (June 19-23, June 26-30, & July 3-7 (there will be camp on July 4)), Astro Camp (July 24-28), Pokemon Camp (July 24-28) and Movie Making (July 10-14). Camps run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. The price for our camps range from $400-$450. Extended care options and payment options are available. The camp is run by Prospect Sierra teachers. Please visit this website to register!  

Photo courtesy of Prospect Sierra
Photo courtesy of East Bay Regional Park District

Park’n It Day Camp

Hosted by the East Bay Regional Park District, Park’n It Day Camp is a summer camp for ages 5-12 that teaches kids about the ecology of regional parks as they participate in outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking.

Weekly sessions are hosted at various East Bay parks, including Richmond’s Miller Knox Regional Park, starting June 12.

Camps run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A weekly session for Alameda and Contra Costa residents is $200, and financial aid is available.

The camp is a part of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Initiative. Youth ages 13-17 who want work experience and community service hours can apply to be a Leader-in-Training.

Got a tip?

Are there Richmond summer camps missing from our list? Let us know! We’d be happy to add them in our feature. Please email with the camp name, location, schedule, activities offered, pricing and registration instructions.


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