Summer will be here before you know it, and now is the time to start making plans for camps and other activities that will keep your children entertained. If you intend to spend part of your summer in the Tokyo area, you may want to check out the following camps that are available for English-speaking students. In addition to the programs listed below, many of the international schools host summer camps or classes which allow children from other schools to enroll.
Nanbo Discovery Camp is a unique adventure camp held each year in the scenic Minami Boso Peninsula area of Chiba. Open to students entering grades 3 through 7, Nanbo offers bilingual counselors, outdoor activities and academic enrichment.
The camp is directed and organized by David Green, elementary science teacher at Nishimachi International School, and his wife, Yoshiko Kimura, 4th-grade teacher at St. Mary’s. Also on staff is Yoshiharu Endo, St. Mary’s swim coach, in charge of swimming and water safety at Nanbo, and Bill Jensen, former NIS teacher, who oversees the Nanbo writing and language program.
The six-day camp is based in a comfortable lodge in Tateyama, from which students explore the natural habitat of the peninsula. As the students examine and collect specimens from tide pools and the seashore, David Green uses this opportunity for lessons in marine biology. Campers’ discoveries are shared in journal writing, sketching and oral presentation, but they have plenty of time for snorkeling in the ocean and playing on the beach.
Two nights are spent camping on the seashore in tents where students learn to cook their meals over a fire. Bicycles are provided for exploring the area along bike paths and uncrowded shore roads, a nice change of pace from crowded Tokyo!
This camp has proven quite popular over the years with the elementary-school age group. Usually several sessions run throughout the summer, but this year only one session is offered, from July 29-Aug. 4. Reservations are accepted in the order they are received, and a ¥25,000 refundable deposit will hold your campers’ place until lune 8 when the balance is due. The total cost for six days of Nanbo Discovery Camp is ¥98,000, which includes everything except transportation to Tateyama.
David Green can assist you in making train reservations and he will pick students up at the station at no extra charge. For more information, email David at [email protected], or call him at 3708-4012.
If your children aren’t ready for a sleep-away camp, you can keep them fit and entertained over the summer with a gymnastics camp run by the International Gymnastics Club. Founded and operated by American fitness coach and gymnast Lance Lee, IGC offers a summer camp with instruction in tumbling, vault, parallel bars, beam and trampoline.
The club’s motto, “Reaching for the Stars,” is embodied in the “I Can” philosophy which is encouraged in the classes to build confidence and a positive attitude among the young gymnasts. The summer program is especially fun and classes are taught at a variety of levels for ages 3-12.
ICG’s week-long camps begin June 18 and run through early August. All classes are held at the International School of the Sacred Heart in Hiroo and the sessions are from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, contact ICG at tel. 3440-0384, fax 3440-0628, e-mail: [email protected], or visit their web site at www.igcjapan.com.
Another popular activity in Tokyo is the Junior Tennis Camp with the Krissman International Tennis School. Alan Krissman founded his tennis program back in 1984, and it has been thriving ever since. Tennis instructors hold classes starting on June 11 at three convenient locations: St. Mary’s in Setagaya, at the American Embassy Compound in Roppongi, and at the Hanegi courts near Shibuya.
We found this to be an excellent tennis program when our entire family signed up for lessons one year. I’d drop the kids off at the courts in the morning when it was cool, and my husband and I would take our lessons in the early evening.
I distinctly remember one muggy night when the children were entertaining themselves by twirling round and round in circles on the court while my husband and I were in the final stages of our match. I was mustering all my concentration on the ball when one of the kids twirled one time too many, ran right into center court and threw up all over the place.
These days our kids are a little better behaved, but invariably whenever we play tennis on a summer night, we’ll hear, “Remember that time I threw up on the tennis court in Tokyo?!” Ah, fond memories!
Getting back to summer camps, here are more details about the Krissman Tennis School’s summer program: Morning sessions run an hour, Monday through Thursday, and the cost for a four-day camp is ¥8,000. Afternoon sessions are 90 minutes and the cost is ¥12,000; there is a 10% discount for siblings or for four or more sessions. Classes are limited to eight, with a minimum of four students.