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50 Adventures. 1 Summer Camp.How it Works

How It Works

Cali Camp is a day camp for ages 3 to 15 that offers something for everyone! From outdoor sports and games to creative arts and an equestrian "Wrangler" camp, from Aerial Arts camp to action and adventure activities, all of our activities allow our campers to connect to nature.

We take care of everything, check out a sample schedule below:

Sample Daily Schedule

9:00 am     Buses Arrive!

9:15 am     Morning Round-Up and Circle Time

9:45 am     Arts and Crafts

10:30 am   Nature Hike

11:15 am    Swimming**

12:00 pm   Lunch

12:45 pm   Archery

1:30 pm     Playground

2:15 pm     Go-Carts

3:00 pm     Closing and Snacks

3:30 pm     Buses Depart

*All activities are pre-assigned and rotate on a daily basis
** Cali Campers enjoy swimming every day

Cali Camp offers complete scheduling flexibility.  Our only requirement is that campers come for at least five days. Come to camp for a single, five-day, Monday-Friday session and check out all fifty activities or sign up for any daily combination - two, three or four days per week. Specialty camps are mandatory,  Monday - Friday sessions.

 
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Dates, Rates, Calendar


Summer 2017 Dates:
June 11 - August 10

Come Play With Us!

Dates, Rates, Calendar


Summer 2017 Dates:
June 11 - August 10

Come Play With Us!

 

SUMMER RATE

CLASSIC CAMP

$159* per day
$795* per week

SPECIALTY camp

Aerial Arts Camp $945* per week
Wrangler Camp $995* per week


Spring Special

CLASSIC CAMP

$149* per day ($10 off/ day)
$745* per week

Available February 1 - April 30

Save $10 per day / $50 per week


EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

CLASSIC CAMP

$139* per day ($20 off/ day)
$695* per week

Available January 18 - January 31

Save $20 per day / $100 per week

 

*Listed rates are from 2017. Summer 2018 rates will be available January 1, 2018.


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Weekly Themes


2017 Weekly themes
2018 Coming Soon!

Weekly Themes


2017 Weekly themes
2018 Coming Soon!

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Junior Leaders


Junior Leaders

Junior Leaders


Junior Leaders

Cali Camp’s Junior Leader “JL” Program is offered to teenagers 14-17 years of age.  The program provides for training experiences in leadership with children, peers and adults in a recreational setting.  It also provides an opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills, build positive self images and enhance self esteem.  We believe our program is an excellent learning experience for everyone involved.

JL's rotate weekly into different Cali Camp groups, this way they get experience working with different ages, genders and specialties. During the course of the summer JLs participate closely with a variety of Counselors and Specialists. In addition to these group responsibilities, the JLs also have a leadership class once a day to develop their skills in working with children and peers. We expect JLs to participate in all camp activities with their group of campers, and even schedule in some time once a week to let loose at an activity with their fellow JLs.

For more information click here!

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Our Staff


Meet the Directors

Our Staff


Meet the Directors

 

Experience, Experience and more Experience.

Behind every Cali Camp staff member is decades of proven experience in camp.  Our counselors are frequently Cali Campers who have left for university but continue to return to share the Cali Camp experience and "pay it forward".   Each is carefully chosen and screened.  We are as serious about their pre-camp orientation and training as we are about ongoing counselor guidance during the course of each summer camp day. Our experienced Leadership Team begins indepth training in late April and keeps an eye out for campers and staff.   They support each other.  Yet – as clear as they are about safety... nurturing the social, emotional and psychological growth in each camper is most important.  In the end, each works at Cali Camp to participate in the joy of PLAY and to celebrate the joys of just being a kid. They’re here to smile and have Fun, too.

 
 
 
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Kassandra 'blaze' Wilsey, Director

'Blaze' returns to Big Rock Ranch for her 14th summer at Cali Camp. She graduated top of her class with a Masters Degree in Recreation Management from California State University Northridge. While not at camp Blaze continues the education of students at Cal State Northridge as a part-time professor in the Recreation Department teaching outdoor education, and environmental sustainability. Her energy and enthusiasm for children to learn through PLAY makes her a valuable leader on our team.

 
 
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Ariel 'Kahuna' ABT, Director

Kahuna first fell in love with Cali Camp as a camper when she was five years old. She loved it so much that she is currently in her 13th summer working at Camp. She has held many positions here including Counselor, Team Leader, Transportation and Operations Director. She graduated from University of California, Irvine with degrees in Education and Political Science. She believes in the positive impact that Cali Camp has on children's lives, and enjoys, above all else, joining in and playing with the kids.

 
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Testimonials


Parent Testimonials

Testimonials


Parent Testimonials

my boys love cali

I am so jealous that my three boys get to be campers at Cali Camp! I didn’t find out about the place until I was a counselor there for a few years in college. I learned then that this camp is really special.

I enrolled my first son in summer camp when he was just barely old enough to go and the other two followed as soon as they were allowed. You can see from this website that Cali Camp’s beautiful location offers everything – equestrian camp, go-carts, archery, swimming, rock climbing for kids... You name it! But that’s not what makes Cali Camp so amazing. What keeps us returning year after year is the people.

There is a feeling of warmth and camaraderie that can’t be beat. Many of the staff were campers themselves who just keep coming back like my boys do. And I know from my own experience how well-trained they are; I know when my boys get on the bus that they’ll be safe while they’re having so much fun at kids camp.

So Cali Camp, be ready to expect an employment application from my oldest in a few years!
— Lillian Morris Chhetri

what summer is all about

It never really occurred to me that my summer camp experience left such an indelible impression on me until my son attended Cali Camp for the first time. All these memories from my youth at Cali Camp came rushing back. Before I knew it, I was living vicariously through him and I was comforted by the fact that a great day camp still exists and succeeds in achieving some of the most primary goals. My son returned home dirty, tired and really happy. Summertime is about being outdoors, surrounded by nature and doing really cool stuff. What I would give to do it all again!

Any kid who did not grow up at Cali Camp may have missed out on the most incredible experience of growing up.
— Devin Sterling

my daughter loves cali

In the Spring of 2006, thinking this could be a great fit for the 9 - year - old, my two daughters and I piled into our car to check out the Cali Camp Open House. Little did I plan for the “over-the-moon” reaction of my 3-year-old! I asked, “How young do you take them?” And that’s how Rosie, 2 months shy of her 4th birthday, came to her first summer camp at Cali Camp. It’s 2012 now. Rosie is 9. At this ripe young age, she’s enjoying her 6th summer and wants the director’s job in the future!

Weaving up the canyons of Topanga you arrive at this timeless, enchanged place. You enter through the old-fashioned wooden archway into a magical grove of large old oak trees. Scattered about are caroms tables (remember those?), ping-pong tables and other assorted games. You walk past wooden cubbies for the various camper groups. And then you come upon the huge outdoor stage (the hub of the campus), the long wooden lunch tables, the tree house and the beloved Camp Snack Shack. The kids clearly thrive in this natural, rambling environment. Cali Camp is pure kids camp fun in the best possible way!

The improvements made to the property for Summer 2012 capture the best of what Cali Camp has been and what it will be. The number of counselors who once were campers is a testament to both the experience they themselves had and to the culture of Cali Camp to promote them.

I want to come back in my next life as one of my kids so I can attend Cali Camp myself!
— Ruthie Jones, Santa Monica

two generations of cali

I was a camper at Cali Camp over 30 years ago for several summers and loved every minute of it. Last year, I sent my seven-year-old daughter to summer camp for her first time and she, too, loved every minute of it.

From the moment she stepped on the bus on her first day of camp, the counselors and staff made her feel welcome and comfortable. She enjoyed being active and playing outside all summer (without getting too hot since Cali Camp is near the coast). She loved all the dress-up days and sleepovers (which she had never done before and yet the camp made her feel totally comfortable).

This kids camp did an amazing job of making her and all the campers feel special with various opportunities to win awards for skills and good camper citizenship. She made a ton of new friends and can’t wait to come back again next year!
— Meryl Chae

a magical property

Throughout the past several years, our two daughters have loved coming to Cali Camp. Ever since each was three years old, they considered it their summer home. Our oldest, who is now twelve, is so excited to be in the Eagles this summer. She’ll go on weekly beach trips and be in a co-ed group. Her sister, who is nine, is thrilled about reuniting with her summer camp friends and making new ones.

Cali Camp has been an incredible experience for our entire family. We have watched our girls grow in confidence, self-esteem and team spirit. This incredible kids camp has allowed each of our daughters to blossom as individuals.

Cali Camp is located on a magical property. Our children feel as if they are on vacation every time they go to camp. The oak trees, streams, mountains and wild flowers are an added bonus to the incredible adventure. At Cali Camp, the kids are not only surrounded by nature, but they are taught how to coexist with it.

The staff at Cali Camp is the best. They are caring, supportive and extremely fun. Our kids are always encouraged to try new activities. Each time they try something new they come home so excited and they can’t wait to tell us all about it. Cali Camp is special to our hearts and we really look forward to sending our kids back each year for summer camp.
— The Doolin Family
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FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

what to wear to camp

  • Wear closed-toe shoes! (Pack sandals for beach trips.)
  • Wear clothes that are fun to play in! Kids seem to be most comfortable here in shorts.
  • Bring long pants every day to slip over shorts for equestrian camp, hiking, go-karts, and sports camp. (We suggest sweat pants.)
  • Tote a sweatshirt every day for cooler mornings, beach trips and chill-outs in the shade.
  • Swimming happens daily, so they’ll need a swimsuit and towel every time they get on a Cali Camp bus.

Mark all clothing with your child’s name.

what happens
on the first day of camp?

Activities and all the great Cali Camp fun. Also included is more extensive time to meet and greet other campers and counselors. There will be a little less time for activities on these days but we’ve learned, that makes for time spent meeting each other, and knowing each other a little before activities start makes for a lot more fun overall.

Every camper:

  • is welcomed by a Cali Camp staff member as they arrive;
  • gets a special “First Day Name Tag"; and
  • is encouraged to ask questions to satisfy their curiosity about camp and to comfort concerns.

aerial arts

Wondering what your aerial artisan should wear? For boys and girls, a tight-fitting t-shirt with short sleeves is best. Pants should be worn that cover the knees, like Capri-length sweatpants or leggings. Girls can feel free to wear leotards and tights with no feet.

All classes are done barefoot, but sometimes the mats get hot or we may want to warm up by running the lawn, so please wear sneakers and socks. No flip flops allowed during camp, for safety reasons.

equestrian "wrangler"
camp programs

Do you have a equestrian camper in your family? Equestrians across the world follow these simple rules to keep it safe and fun:

  • boots with small heels or hard shoes with small heels. no child will be allowed to ride in sneakers.
  • long pants.
  • don’t forget, pack a swimsuit & towel daily, so your kid can dive into the cool pool.
  • Mark all clothing with your child’s name.

Adventure Camp

Adventure campers should wear comfortable clothing for hiking and climbing.  A good athletic shoe or hiking boot is also recommended.  They still get to enjoy the cool pool everyday, so  a bathing suit and towel are also needed. Adventure campers also go on a weekly beach trip, so beach wear is appropriate for those days. 

dress up days

Check your calendar for these double asterisk fun days thrown to coincide with theme weeks. Let your camper come up with their own costume or give them the guidance they ask for. Once they arrive they’ll see counselors and staff in costume too. You can reference our weekly theme calendar here!


— Specialized Camps, Specialized Tools —

do i need to provide the necessary equipment for my child who is participating in special activities?

No, Cali Camp has you covered. We provide all equipment directly related to the actives.

If your child has a helmet that reaches standard safety regulations of horseback riding they may bring it – just make sure their name is visible on it.

If your child is in the wrangler camp and will ride horses this summer, check our clothing facts above for their needs.

what equipment is used for the high ropes challenge course?

Campers age seven and above have the opportunity to build confidence on the forty-two foot high ropes challenge course.

In addition to a Cali Camp provided helmet, each camper wears a waist harness and are anchored with automatic hydraulic belay ropes.


— What Personal Property Can My Child Bring to Kids Camp —

can my child bring their electronic device(s) to camp?

No doubt kids can have a fantastic time using new technologies, but Cali Camp provides a child-community made better with fewer distractions. Cali Camp is also about experiencing a beautiful, fun outdoor environment which kids can’t always enjoy on a daily, school-year basis.

Because of this, no personal toy animals, electronic games, phones, toys, radios, laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods and CD players are allowed in camp or on the bus.

what about cell phones?

The camp is out of range for cell phones and they are not allowed on the property. If you must send your child with a cell phone, please put their name on it. If it comes out of their backpack, we will hold the phone in the director’s office till the end of the day.


— The Lunch Bunch and Cali-Cafe —

do you provide hote lunches or can i pack a bagged lunch?

Yes, we have hot lunches for $10 per day. And yes, you can also pack a bagged lunch for your child. Please make all packed lunches non-perishable and write your child's first and last name on it as well. We will stash it in a shady spot until lunch time.

how do i pay for hot lunch?

Your child can purchase a lunch with cash on a per-day basis as he or she arrives, or just give their name have the card on file charged at the end of the week.

wha's the cali-cafe and when is it open?p

Cali Cafe offers such snacks as homemade muffins, bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, fruit, cereals and juice. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. every morning and again at lunch.

do you provide whole grain or gluten free options?
what about drinks
like soda and juice?

Yes, Cali Cafe stocks whole grain, gluten free foods, as well as fresh fruits and more. Children will also have access to camp supplied water and/or milk throughout the day. The Cali-Cafe stocks juices and bottled water. We suggest you don’t pack sweet sodas.

No, gum is not allowed at camp or on the bus.

my child has a food allergy.
how do i inform the camp?

Complete all questions about allergies in our Health History form online.


— A Summer Camp of Inclusion and Community —

kids with special needs

We always try to fulfill great summers for all kids, which includes kids who have challenges physically, different learning rates and more complex emotional needs. While we can’t guarantee enrollment, our Inclusion Coordinator is here to discuss if there are specific questions and to help coordinate.


— Keeping it Cool at the Pool —

swimmer safety
what's in our swim skills test?

Certified pool staffers ability-test each Cali Camper to determine skill levels during every camper’s first pool visit. Once campers pass the skills test, they join in recreational swimming.

Our swim skills test includes:

  • Swimming two widths of the pool without resting or assistance;
  • A back float;
  • Treading water for twenty seconds; and
  • Holding breath, fully submerged for a count of five.

Kids who need help with basic skills split each session between instruction and recreation. Three, four and five year olds have swimming lessons every day at summer camp.

Kids who don’t swim must have a note from home making that request. They’ll be supervised at table games held adjacent to the pool area during each session.

Don’t forget: Send your kid to camp with a swimsuit and towel daily.


— A Brief A to Z on the Bus to Summer Camp —

how many stops will there be on my child's bus route?

One or two, with the majority of routes only having one stop. We’ve found that having only one or two pick-up/drop off station per route reduces the tedium for campers, keeps them together as one egalitarian community for each drive and helps them arrive at camp fresh and ready for an adventurous day.

what's the station and route closest to my home?

will there be adequate supervision on the bus?

California law mandates special training for each bus driver. But we think, that person should be focused on one thing alone – driving. We have hired professional bus drivers to do just that for us and also that’s why we staff each bus with a counselor or equivalent Cali Camp staffer. The fun, Bus Cup Challenge and Cali community starts the moment your child steps on the bus.

how does my child know
which bus is their's?

On the first day of camp each camper receives a bus bracelet with their bus name. Every bus is represented by a different tree, and the counselors display the bus info at the end of the day, as well as the morning, so campers know which bus is theirs.

Counselors ride on each bus. And every counselor has a list of the campers assigned on that bus.

who assists my child getting on the right bus to come home?

The transportation director, camp director, team leaders and transportation staff are in the parking lot at the end of each day to assist any child that needs assistance.

Tell your child: No one leaves until every camper is on the right bus, we've taken roll, and a final and correct count from each driver is confirmed.

Every child is encouraged to seek help if they need it.

i have more questions on the camp's transportation system.

A detailed transportation section appears in the Cali Camp parent handbook including information on how to drive your child to camp and pick them up.