Fencing builds physical and mental strength for kids!

Fencing ClassAs parents, we want to give our children every advantage in life we can afford.  I love fencing because it can help your child build their strength on so many levels.  How many sports do you know of that can give your child a physical and mental challenge while building their confidence, social skills, and academic future?  Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?  But this is exactly what fencing can do for your children.

With its rapid footwork and thrusting, your child will get a high-impact aerobic workout.  He or she will build stamina, strength, and coordination.  I like to think of fencing as a type of dance, because we use the same sort of skillset – understanding timing, tempo, measure and velocity.

Likewise, in the dance of fencing, the student has to develop a sense of body awareness, not only knowing how their own body is positioned, but how they are positioned in relation to his or her opponent.  This body awareness is something that transcends beyond fencing – it’s a huge part of healthy living!  At Academy of Fencing Masters, we encourage our students to be aware of one’s body and the awesome machine that it is; adopting healthy attitudes and eating habits.  Fencing will instill in your child the idea of treating their body as an instrument and a temple … and taking care of it!

Fencing is also a terrific stress reliever.  Your child can release their aggression and frustration through fencing in a controlled environment.  When they go to the strip, nothing else matters.  All problems and worries melt away – as they concentrate on technique and strategy.  Some of our high school students say that fencing is their escape from the pressures of peers and school.

Improves your child’s strategic thinking and academic discipline

Fencing is obviously a very physical sport, but what most people don’t know is that there is a whole other mental layer that goes with it.  It’s like a game of physical chess:  Every move by the opponent spurs a reaction and response.  The key is learning to think strategically so that you can score a hit, or point.  While coaches provide a lot of guidance and training during practice, the real mental challenge comes on the strip when the fencer is squaring off against his/her opponent.  There, all the thinking that goes on is independent.  Your child has to learn to focus, be intuitive, and stay in the moment.  Fencing will teach your kids to think on their feet – a valuable skill that will stay with them all through their lives, helping them academically, socially, and in the workplace.

By the way, colleges LOVE fencers!  Many colleges actively recruit applicants with fencing backgrounds, even going as far as to offer fencing scholarships.

Confidence booster

Fencing is a wonderful tool to bolster confidence.  To meet an opponent’s attack, the fencer has to be quick on their feet with their defensive strategy, this means there’s no time for second-guessing oneself.  Fencing requires bold moves and self-assuredness both in defense and offense.

This is the one sport where size doesn’t matter, only skill.  I’ve seen fencers win competitions against opponents twice their size because they had the skill and talent to do so.  It’s an amazing thing!  This is one of the few sports that events the playing field between size, age, sexes, ethnicity and personality.

Likewise, fencing is a sport where parents and children can compete together.  At Academy of Fencing Masters, it is not unusual to meet a parent and son or daughter fencing in the same competition.  At a recent Senior Mixed Foil tournament, we watched a father and his teen son compete together.  We also had a mother and her teen daughter in the same competition.  It’s a great way for a family to bond together:  sharing the same passion and vision in a sport – especially during the teenage years when the ties with our kids can become strained.

Expanding your child’s social circle

While many people who aren’t enthusiastic about team sports may enjoy the individuality that fencing offers, I think one of the biggest benefits your child will appreciate is the ability to make friends.  Fencing bridges the gap between age differences, sexes, size, and ethnicity – opening the door to a network of friends that might not have been available through everyday venues such as school.  This will give your kids exposure to many different types of personalities and experiences they might not have otherwise faced.

Fencing is one of the few sports where kids can compete not only on a local level, but nationally and internationally as well.  Fencers often have the ability to meet — and even compete against — professional fencers on a regular basis.

Guest writer Irina Chirashnya is the founder of Academy of Fencing Masters in Campbell, CA.

Find fencing classes and camps on ActivityHero.

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San Francisco Peninsula Spring Break Camps – 2014

Summer Camp planning is in full swing and Spring Break is around the corner too.  Some of these camps offer one-day drop in rates for the ultimate flexibility!

Aviation Camp, San Carlos – Spring Break Camps for Elementary and Middle School Students

Hiller_kidsAviation Camp is an immersive hands-on aerospace experience for campers entering Grades K-8.  All programs are held at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos.

Each program includes model aircraft construction and flights, realistic flight simulations, behind-the-scenes experiences in the Museum’s collection of nearly 50 different aircraft, and special encounters with airplanes, helicopters and the pilots who fly them.

Art-Smart Studio’s Art, Drama, and Lego Engineering, Foster City – Spring Break Camps weeks of April 7th, 14th (Full) and 21rst.

Art Exploration Your child will thoroughly enjoy being creative by learning Canvas Painting, Outdoor Sketching, Quilling, Foam Board Craft, Wood Painting, Cloth Painting, Cartoon Story Making and much more. Art Teacher Shilpa has been teaching Art for 10 years to kids.

Robotics Each day (except Friday) kids will build different models. They will be guided in each step of assembling and programming their robot. Teachers will ensure that your child will have fun and learn the core principles of Building and step by step programming.

Universe of Color Language Camp, Belmont and San Mateo – Spring Break Camps weeks of April 7th, 14th  and 21rst.

languageThese Foreign Language Immersion Camps offer many choices. They offer four languages: Spanish, French, Mandarin, or Italian. (Belmont location offers Spanish and Mandarin only). Each week features a special theme. They offer full day and half-day programs, and before & after camp care. You may select from one day a week to a full week, and everything in between.

kidzjetKidzJet, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame pick-up spots – Spring Break Camp

Full for Spring Break, enroll now for summer!

spring_down_group-001Spring Down Equestrian, Portola Valley – Spring Break Camps

Cool Coyote Kids Camp, Woodside – Spring Break Camp

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Summer Camps for Bay Area Teens

Summer is almost here, and it is the perfect time for finding the perfect summer camp for your daughter! Make this the best summer for your daughter(s) by enrolling them in an all-girls summer camp!

So why are all-girls camps so great and different?

  • They teach girls to learn from and respect each other’s differences
  • Offer an opportunity for girls to encourage and be encouraged by other girls and women
  • Girls are more willing to try new things and be themselves in an all girls environment
  • Girls develop new, diverse, and lasting friendships beyond school
  • Girls learn from and bond with strong role models
  • The entire camp experience is tailored to girls preferences and learning styles.

- Aby Ryan, CEO and Founder of Athena Camps

Tennis.We_RockAthena Camps-Sports, Creativity & Girl Power: Athena Camps are designed to empower and build confidence in girls, ages 6 to 11, through self-expression and personal connections. Sports are really important at Athena Camps in order to emphasize skill development, and character building. These sports teach goal setting, perseverance, and teamwork. Some of the main sports are: Tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, yoga, and running. Creativity is also an essential part of Athena Camps. Girls are encouraged to use their unique creativity on different art projects every single day. Some examples are: Journal making, Hope Boxes, Dream Catchers, Friendship bracelets, and much more! Daily, girls receive positive affirmations from coaches and newfound friends. When girls attend Athena Camps, they are happy, confident, courageous, and extremely eager to return!

See Athena Camps’ locations and schedules!

SpyGabbyWalkTalkieCamp: This year, SpyCamp is offering a couple of weeks exclusively for girls! ( Jun 23-Jun 27 and  Jul 07-Jul 11 for 6-10 year olds, and   Jul 28-Aug 01 for 10-12 year olds).All-day Squads of 12 kids maximum are led by educator Matt Martin, founder of BrainBounce. Daily outdoor play includes surveillance outings for video and sound capture, training in the park, team capture games, squirt-gun color wars, catapult targeting and The Big Mission.  Spy Camp training includes: Gadget & Gizmo making, Rock Climbing (at Mission Cliffs), Martial Arts training, Indoor Ski & Snowboard training (on Endless Slope), Surveillance, Code breaking & Map design, Team Capture Games, and Outdoor Field Missions. The camp ends with a celebratory Color Wars game with white T-Shirts, food-color squirt guns, and water balloon target practice.

Take a look at SpyCamp’s locations and schedules.

Ice_Skating_3Girls on the Go: Girls on the Go Camp gives girls the opportunity to explore, imagine, and connect with one another and the beautiful BayArea.  Girls on the Go campers receive coaching on how to safely navigate the public transit system.   Weekly interactive workshops with women with special knowledge and talent in the arts, science, movement, and environment provide for extra fun and expose girls to opportunities for their lives.  Girls have summer days filled with spontaneous and planned adventure and chances to try out new and familiar activities. Different outings include: Ice-skating, bowling, mini-golfing, baseball games, boating at Lake Merritt, and more! Campers range in age from 9-13.

See Girls on the Go’s locations and schedules.

Alexa_Slider01Alexa Café: Alexa Café was designed with girls ages 10-14 in mind. Alexa Café acknowledges the  pervasive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) gender gap, and seek to remedy it with a chic, collaborative learning environment focused on girls. The Café emphasizes leadership, entrepreneurship, brand identity, and philanthropy. All students get a personalized 1- on- 1 instruction. Girls work with industry-standard hardware and software, kick-start their own 1-for-1 social movements, and bring their new skills and ideas into the real world.

Take a look at Alexa Café’s locations and schedules. 

More Camps:

Go Girls! Camp:  Go Girls! Camp is where girls make and perform their own plays that allow them to learn and practice the essential social/emotional skills. Campers range from 1st graders to 6th graders!

Girl Scouts:  Girl Scouts has exciting and fun activities that build self-esteem, enhance teamwork, develop skills and increase awareness towards our environment! Each camp is unique and offers a place for self-discovery, laughter, and personal growth. Campers range from ages 5-17!

Girls Inc: Girls Inc. encourages girls to learn, explore, make friends, and most of all have fun! The camp inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Campers range from 6-12 years old!

Camp H:  In both Camp H’s summer and after-school programs, girls will cut plywood with a jigsaw, fuse metal with a welder, and create projects of personal and social relevance. The camp inspires creativity and curiosity through hands-on building, and problem solving. Campers range from ages 9-12!






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Summer Camp Fairs and The Great Baby Romp – March 8, 2014

This Saturday, you can get personal with summer camps and baby/toddler classes at these events:

Great Baby Romp – Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

The Great Baby Romp is San Francisco’s only 100% family friendly event just for babies, toddlers and their parents! Forget loud and cold expo halls, at The Romp they take care of you!  You can leave your diaper bag at home and enjoy a day full of expertly curated classes to sample and compare.  At the Presidio, March 8th, at The Observation Post.

Marin Camp Fair – Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 10:00am – 1:00pm

Dominican University, Conlan Center gymnasium (1475 Grand Ave San Rafael, CA 94901)

Meet the people behind most of the top summer day camps in Marin County and hear about their great camp programs. In addition, several of the most popular residential (sleep-away) camps will also be on hand to showcase their offerings.  Children welcome to enjoy the bounce house and free pizza.  More info: http://www.marincampfair.com/

SF Summer Resource Fair – Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Balboa High School; 1000 Cayuga Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

Over 160 agencies and summer programs will be on-site to share highlights of their programs.  Find free, affordable, citywide Summer Camps for all ages.  Kids Zone sponsored by SF Rec & Park, teen workshops and resources for parents! More info


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Win a free week of summer camp!

free_camp_badge-lg-180You can be the lucky winner of a free week of summer camp.  There are 100′s of camps on ActivityHero to choose from — including Destination Science, Stratford Schools, Kid Stock, Hiller Aviation Camp, Wheel Kids, Children’s Creativity Museum Camp, Soccer Insight and Wanderers.

Enter by March 31 for your chance to win – no purchase necessary.

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Early registration discounts for summer 2014 – San Francisco & Bay Area

Summer Camp DiscountsMoms know that they can save a lot of money on summer camps if they take advantage of early bird registration discounts.  To avoid the panic and frenzy of  Black Friday, it pays to plan ahead and look at different early bird deadlines.

See our picks for the best early registration discounts for summer 2014.

Find more discounts (multi-session, sibling, refer a friend) on ActivityHero and subscribe to the newsletter to get reminders of expiring discounts and special offers.

Discounts available in many SF Bay Area locations:

Camp Edmo - Art, science and animation camps.  Sessions in August too! $20 early bird discount ends 2/28.  View all locations

Camp EdTech – Kids learn to create video games, digital movies, photographs, graphic designs, and animations. $20 early bird discount ends 2/28.  View all locations

Destination Science – Save $70 per week when you register by March 1.  A full-day camp is  less than $300 per week!  View all locations

Stratford Schools – Academic and enrichment summer program, 5% off, ends 3/1. View all locations

TechKnowHow LEGO and Technology Summer Camps - Save $15-30 per week, ends 3/15.  View all locations

iD Tech Computer Camps - $50 off, ends on 3/15  View all locations

Digital Media Academy Summer Computer Camps (Berkeley, Stanford, Santa Clara) – Save $50 on programming, game design, digital arts camp.  Ends 4/1.  View all locations

San Francisco & Marin Camp Discounts:

Kid Stock – 3 week theatre camp.  Less than $250 per week! The first 50 registrations (full payment) receive $85 off

Children’s Creativity Museum – 5% discount, ends 2/28

Kathi O’Leary Photography – $35 off for ActivityHero users, ends 3/15

Kids on Camera TV/Film Acting School - $25 off when you register by 4/15

Asian Art Studio - Kids learn Mandarin language skills, Chinese culture, and painting.  Save $25 on registration fees when you register by 4/15.

RayKo Photo Center – Photography camps.  $25 off when you register by 5/1

East Bay Camp Discounts:

Three O’Clock Rock (Berkeley) – Music, recording, rock & roll camps for beginners and intermediate musicians.  Save $25 when you register by 3/1

Classroom Matters (Berkeley) – Science, cooking, art camps.  Save 10%, ends 4/15

Peninsula & South Bay Camp Discounts:

Wheel Kids Bicycle Club (Palo Alto) – Beginning and experienced bicyclists will explore the Bay Area.  Save 10%, ends 2/28

KidzJet Outdoor Science Adventures (San Mateo, Palo Alto & Burlingame pick up spots) – Field trips and science exploration.  Save $100 per week, ends 2/28

Athena Camps (Los Altos and San Jose) – Sport & Craft Camps for Girls. $20 off, ends 2/28.

Core TKD (San Mateo) – Martial arts & outdoor fun!  Save $110 per week before 3/1

Young Outliers (Palo Alto) – Science, business and music camps for middle schoolers.  Save $50 per week, ends 3/15

Spartans Sports Camp (Mountain View) – Tennis, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, waterpolo, lacrosse, and more sports under $300 per week. Save $15 per week, ends 3/15

Summer Rock Camp (Palo Alto) – $45 off for early registrations, ends on 3/15

College for Kids (San Mateo & San Bruno) – Only $165 per week for middle school enrichment camp, ends 5/2

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President’s Day, Ski Week & Spring Break Camps – 2014

Your kids may have one day or one week off over President’s Week or Ski Week.  Spring Break is around the corner too.  Some of these camps offer one-day drop in rates for the ultimate flexibility!

In San Francisco:
Adventure Camps, San Francisco  (one day rates)
Kids Outdoor Club, San Francisco  (one day rates)
JCCSF Holiday Camps, San Francisco

SF Peninsula/San Mateo County:
Aviation Camp, San Carlos – President’s Week & Spring Break Camps
KidzJet, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame pick-up spots – Spring Break Camp
Spring Down Equestrian, Portola Valley – Winter Camp/President’s Week
Cool Coyote Kids Camp, Woodside – Spring Break Camp
Art, Drama, and Lego Engineering, Foster City – President’s Week/Ski Week Camps
Universe of Color Language Camp, Belmont and San Mateo – President’s Week & Spring Break Camps

SF South Bay/Santa Clara County:
Lekha Writing Centers – Cupertino, San Jose – President’s Week & Spring Break Camps
Spartans Sports Basketball Camp, Mountain View – President’s Day/Ski Week
Youth Startup, Palo Alto & San Jose – Spring Break Camp
School of Rock, San Jose – President’s Week
Community School of Music & Art (CSMA), Mountain View – President’s Week & Spring Break Camps
Camp Captivate, San Jose – President’s Week & Spring Break Camps

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