Summer camps

Children present a project at a 2016 summer camp in Palmer.

Summer might seem like it’s still really far away as temperatures remain frigid across the Mat-Su. But any parent who has been met in May by “full” or “waitlist only” notices for camps that don’t even start until late June knows that it’s never too early to make plans for summer camp.

For parents who place a priority on keeping their kids outside as much as possible over the gorgeous summer months, finding the perfect local overnight or day camp option is an even greater challenge. While a variety of programs across the Valley offer activities for an hour or two a few days a week, the below are a few choices that run a little bit longer each day. As of the time of this writing these camps still had availability or had not yet opened for registration.

Overnight camps

Northstar Bible Camp, Willow. Northstar offers affordable week-day overnight camps throughout the summer for school-age and Middle School kids. But because their price point is so low, under $100, the camp fills up almost immediately. Registration this year opens May 23.

Victory Bible Camp, Glacierview. Victory Bible Camp sits at a higher price point than Northstar, about $300 for the week, and therefore fills up much more slowly. The camp runs multiple programs at one time at their location near the Matanuska Glacier and serves ages 8 through 17. Registration is ongoing.

St. Theresa’s Summer Camp, Wasilla. St. Theresa’s offers kids in grades three through high school overnight camping packed with fun and activities. The high school week is full, but five weeks of overnight camp remain available for younger students in grades three through eight. Camp costs about $340 per week.

Onward and Upward, location varies. With a variety of overnight programs for teens, this summer camp gives students a chance to learn new outdoor skills in an environment designed to build other life skills. Prices start at $350.

Day camps

Palmer Lifeways, Palmer. A Waldorf program, this summer camp for ages three and up runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, from June 1 to August 13. Campers spend their days exploring through activities and free play. Full weeks cost about $200 per child.

Kellogg Field School, Palmer. Located on Alaska Pacific University’s Kellogg campus off Farm Loop Road, the Kellogg Field School’s summer program is new for 2021. With five weeks of camp for ages five to 17, the camps focus on outdoor skills, farms and food, theater arts or, for teens, leadership. Fees range from $125 to $310 per week, depending on age and activity. Camps run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 4 p.m., also dependent on age.

Trailside Discovery Camp, Palmer. Previously located at the Kellogg campus, Trailside Discovery Camp is now operating from either Matanuska Lake Recreation Area. The camp offers five weeks of camp for ages four to 14, and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with before and after care available. Prices start at $320 per week.

Sunderland Ranch. School-aged kids can learn horsemanship skills for 13 weeks over the summer. Camps run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and cost $550 per week.

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