Best Fantasy Camps for Kids

Top picks for the best fantasy summer camps.
By: Bill Kamenjar

Space camp doesn't actually launch your little one into space. Rock 'n' roll camp won't land a child on stage at Madison Square Garden. And a Boston Red Sox fantasy camp for kids won't find your youngster pounding baseballs off the "Green Monster," the famed outfield wall at Fenway Park. But they all offer the next-best things.

Youth fantasy camps can be quite exclusive and differ greatly from regular summer camps. Kids are treated as if they are professionals. Organizers take extra steps to bring in role models, provide uniforms or equipment, and schedule special behind-the-scenes tours of real-world operations. These camps allow a child to learn what it really feels like to do these jobs; and education and fun can go hand in hand.

Fantasy camps can provide exciting travel experiences that last a lifetime. So ask which adventure your child would like to start packing for this summer. If the answer isn't readily available, give your little one a nudge by recommending one of the following camps.

And come summer, adults may end up the real winners. What parent has not fantasized about a few peaceful days or weeks at home? Just don't tell the kids about your selfish wish.

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Formerly held as 2 separate 3-day clinics, this Major League experience is expanding to 11 full weeks in 2011. Conducted by the Red Sox organization at convenient locations throughout the Boston, MA, area, the day camps organize meetings with current Red Sox players and a visit to the field at Fenway Park in an official Red Sox uniform. Professional instruction and an exclusive player scouting report are included.

Located near the Bahamas, Atlantis on Paradise Island beckons youngsters to attend an array of fantasy camps, including marine adventures, rock ’n’ roll and cheerleading. But the coolest may be the LEGO fantasy camp, where kids learn how to build incredibly sized LEGO structures including one of Atlantis. The partnership of a Caribbean resort such as Atlantis with a well-known toy brand provides an experience that lets a child's imagination run wild.

Though it doesn’t guarantee your little kicker will become the next David Beckham, this California camp will likely turn your child into a Galaxy fan for life if not already one. Conducted by the actual professional soccer franchise, campers are treated like budding stars, complete with a personalized Galaxy uniform kit; a mock press conference, LA Galaxy player appearances each day, a tour of the team’s stadium and 5 days of training headed by Galaxy great Paul Caligiuri.

Many young travelers dream of one day journeying beyond Earth’s atmosphere. These aspiring astronauts can experience the necessary training at this Huntsville, AL, facility. Directors use mission-oriented scenarios to teach kids what it takes to make it to outer space, and the programs teach social skills that will pay dividends long after reentry.

Send your budding filmmaker to Albuquerque, NM, this summer and maybe the next Steven Spielberg will return home to your doorstep. Teens learn how to create short films and music videos during 5-day sessions held at the Rio Grande Studios. The camp promotes team-building and includes all aspects of film production as well as a visit to a major studio.

Writer Bill Kamenjar is an instructor and marketing director at the Nike Golf Learning Center Summer Camps Series in Reston, VA.

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