May is rapidly coming to a close, and the end of the school year is near, which means your kids are about to have a lot of spare time on their hands! Finding suitable summer activities can be tricky, especially without knowing which ones could put a huge dent in your wallet or have you driving kiddo-taxi all over town. Every family has a unique schedule, lifestyle, and set of interests, so the activities have been grouped according to similar factors such as time commitment, theme, or price point. There is also a list of Oregon resources for foundations or businesses that consistently offer youth programs, even outside of the hectic summer season. Each section merely scratches the surface, so it is encouraged that readers post additional resources not seen listed here in the comments below! We know the perfect program is out there for your Oregon kid–this information can set you on the right path to finding it.

Day Camps

Basically just the specialized, ultra-fun version of school, day camps are filled with opportunities to learn some new skills and socialize with like-minded youth. The name “camp” does not have to limit you to dirt, teepees, and candle-making, though.

Perhaps your child is really interested in music, day-dreaming of putting on a performance for all their friends and family in the park! If so, Rivercity Rockstar Academy of Salem holds a week-long camp in both July and August that could make that concert dream come true, complete with a camp t-shirt and snacks, for only $149. If that price looks intimidating, please know that they (and many other camps discussed in this article) offer camp scholarship applications!

If digital tech and robotics are more along your kids’ interests, Lewis & Clark College offers a range of different camps for 7-17-year-olds called iD Tech that could teach your kid skills like digital video production, video game design, 3D printing, and so much more. These courses are a week long and begin their heavy price tags at $949. It would be best to think of these camps as an accelerated college class designed for young minds, so this may be just the kind of challenge your budding smartie needs.

Should your kid still want the dirt and adventure of an outdoor explorers day camp, you could look to RAD Camps out of Bend and their unique summer day trips to 50 beautiful, natural locations. They encourage kids ages 7-17 to join them for $89-$99 per trip. Their webpage is open and honest about their RAD tour guides, as well as their promise always to have a Wilderness First Responder in each adventure group, leaving you with certainty that your kids will be well-looked after.

Sports Camps

The gorgeous sunshine and blue skies of Oregon summers are a shame to waste. That is why so many kids spend their free time outside, kicking a soccer ball or shooting some hoops. Structured sports groups during the summer are a great way to encourage your active kid into some healthy competition!

Martial Arts camps can be a great way to move your body while encouraging mindfulness and balance. Kids ages 6-10 could head over to Mt. Tabor Park in Portland to participate in a class with One with Heart. They have been teaching martial arts in Portland since 1981, and their summer day courses teach themed content over five days for $449.

Basketball camps can range from skilled players to beginners, so if there is a 9-13 year old showing their first interest in basketball, NBC Camps are hosting the perfect day camp in Medford this August for $320 that will help them master all the basics. Or, if a 12-18-year-old is already an active player that wants to heighten their offensive threat, they could attend the NBC Overnight Camp at Corban University this July for $475. 

Volleyball camps are actually the subject that inspired this article, since I really disliked gaping like a fish out of water when my niece asked me, “Where can I play volleyball this summer?” For those of you that heard that same question, North Pacific Juniors has a great selection of beginner, intermediate, advanced, beach, and team summer camp options. There is also a full-summer weekly volleyball academy program that costs $125 a month! NPJ bases its events in many of the major Oregon cities, including Portland, Bend, Eugene, and Salem.

Overnight Camps

It is a well-loved classic that some kids crave the grimy adventure of rustic, overnight summer camps. Overnight camps run at all different times with a plethora of themes, as seen with Opal Creek Youth Expeditions. They encourage 10-17-year-olds to join them on a $645 journey for six days and five nights into Oregon forests, increasing their backcountry confidence! Don’t worry about the fancy backpacking gear, as most of it will be provided–your kid need only worry about a backpack full of personal goods and their sleeping bag.

Having the comfort of a cabin and bunkmates to make your temporary home during summer camp is the childhood dream of many, and since 1924, Camp Namanu has been the place in Oregon to make that happen! All their sessions are divided closely by age group, starting at grade 2 all the way through grade 12, and if you cannot afford a whole week session at $785, instead opt for a half session at $390.
Both Canyonview Ministries and Camp Tadmor offer overnight camps that are centralized on Christian ideals. Kids enrolled in any one of their summer events will get to create, socialize, learn, swim, and play in a God-centered environment that is healthy and encouraging. There are also multiple options at these locations for horse camps, day camps, family camps, and adult events that affect the price options.

Free and Budget-Friendly Camps

Obviously some of these big price tags can be a deterrent. Just because your kid has free time does not automatically mean you have oodles of free money to burn! If the scholarship opportunities for these camps have been exhausted and you need to remain budget-conscious, do not fear! There are still options:

This summer, Clackamas Community College is offering Career Technical Education camps that are totally free to Clackamas county students that will be entering 9th-12th grade this fall. Horticulture, welding, website design, medical assisting, and more careers are waiting to be studied. Remember participating in a CTE course will also save your kid a ton of money in prerequisite college courses!
NW Children’s Theater & School promises to never turn away interested children for inability to pay! If acting, singing, or dancing is an interest in your household, NWCT utilizes scholarships and payment plans to make theater camps accessible to kids in six districts across the Willamette Valley. 

Foundations such as the Boys & Girls Club have locations throughout the nation, with 61 of them located throughout Oregon. These dedicated groups work every day to make social activities available to the children of their area, including low-cost summer clubs that have weekly charges based on your income. There are no fees for kids grades 7-12!

Kid-Friendly Foundations

Many gracious Oregonians are constantly working to offer our youth a chance to get involved, summertime or not. Below are the links to many of these foundations that can be found trying to encourage kids all over the state, all throughout the year:

The Kroc Center by the Salvation Army in Salem

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette part of the 68 YMCA locations in Oregon

KidSpirit through Oregon State University in Corvallis

The Reframe Collective out of Portland

Camp Dakota in Scotts Mills

The Campbell Course in Gladstone

MAXtivity Arts and Crafts Creative Space in Philomath