With less than two months left in the school year and warm sunny days returning, parents everywhere are figuring out what to do with their kids this summer.
Are you eagerly awaiting the publication of the city parks and rec guide, hoping it offers affordable fun activities? Do you have a teen who's pounding the pavement looking for a job? Or are you a believer that a little boredom never hurt anyone and planning on winging it.
We asked the members of our Moms Council to share their approach to summer. Share yours in the comments below.
Deborah May: This is our first summer with no set day care plan for my oldest (8 years old). She aged out of the child care she had gone to since age 2. So I have been seriously stressing out. If she has no child care I can’t go to work.
LARPD posted its camp schedule early this year and actually started sign-ups this last weekend. I waited in line 2.5 hours to get her signed up for 16 different camps, and I had arrived well before they opened the doors.
Ah, glad that is over; summer is covered and I can relax. Unless one of the camps gets cancelled for low enrollment. This is a serious question for working parents of children too young to stay home alone and too old for most of Livermore’s preschools and nurseries. There is no safety net in our community except for LARPD camps. Some of them fill up, they only cover three to seven hours of the day, and they are expensive. Most after school and summer care facilities have a waiting list. What are parents supposed to do?
I have twins who will be in this same boat two years from now. That’s double the stress and expense. I’m eager to read others’ responses!
Kathleen Schoening: Last weekend I knew I was in trouble when I arrived 30 minutes prior to the opening of Livermore's summer camp registration, and in the far distance I could see the first person in line, and they were in a lawn chair with blankets covering them. This is never a good sign.
The line was not the latest rock group or even the latest iPhone; it was for the park and recreation summer programs. You see that LARPD is that good and their rates are more than reasonable. This is the first time I have had to stand in line. LARPD tried to lure customers there with a 10 percent discount if you came in person.
The discount was fair, but many more of us were interested in ensuring our children got into the summer camps and swim classes of our choice because they fill up fast. So three hours from start to finish I waited.
I am not the type of mom where every minute of every day of summer has to be filled. I think a certain amount of structure is good. I also know Emma is the type of kid who loves to be busy with her friends in structured and non-structured play. This summer she will have plenty of both.
We also are taking road trips outside of California again. So Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Yellowstone, here we come. The three hours of wait time will be long forgotten.
Kari Hulac: I seriously just said "hallelujah" out loud this morning when I checked Pleasanton's parks and rec website for the millionth time and finally found the summer rec guide had been posted. (Dublin's guide comes out Monday, and online registration starts April 25.)
Pleasanton's online registration starts April 20. While Livermore's 10 percent discount for in-person registration is a nice perk, I do not have the patience to wait in line for three hours. Wow! (And we just heard that because of the difficulties with the in-person registration, next year LARPD plans to make adjustments next year including doing online sign ups and putting out the brochure earlier.)
This will be my first summer with both kids not in a child care program. Last summer I relied on child care and a babysitter, but my goal this year is to be more structured by registering for more camps.
New in the Tri-Valley area is Steve & Kate's Camp, a 30-year-old Marin County based program that's now offering camps in Danville and Pleasanton, among other Bay Area locations. It boasts performing arts, film and recording studios, Harvard-educated counselors and meals including grass-fed beef, tomato bisque and rice bowls. (Gee, can I go to camp?)
An East Bay open house is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. at Montair Elementary in Danville, on Wednesday, April 20, that includes a complimentary dinner. (Probably to lure you in with their yummy food!) Visit their site's events page to RSVP.
It's tempting because you can buy a 20-day bundle for $1,200, with add-on options and one-day passes (and refunds for unused passes), but for two kids that's out of my price range, so it's off to the pool we go.
Are you interested in joining our Moms Council? If you live in Dublin, Pleasanton or Livermore and you like to talk about parenting topics, let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.