By Devin Miller
DevinWith more than 6 million kids in the U.S attending camp every summer, camp remains one of America’s favorite pastimes. Yet there is a new camp experience that has dramatically increased in popularity over the last decade – and that is the “specialty” camp. Never before have kids and teens had so many one-of-a-kind camp options to choose from.

While traditional camps offer programs that encourage kids to try a variety of activities, a specialty camp focuses on one topic – or a few related topics. There are now thousands of unique (and sometimes unusual) day and overnight summer camps inspiring children and teens to learn more about what they love.

After considerable research, we’ve gathered a list of some of California’s most unique and rewarding specialty summer camps. Take a look:

Young Actors Camp
Location: Hollywood, California
Ages: 7-19

For kids and teens who dream of acting for the silver screen, this camp is the ultimate learning experience. At Young Actors Camp, campers are taught all of the necessary tools-of-the-trade for succeeding in Hollywood’s film and television acting industries – and the word on the street is, they have a great time doing so.

This overnight summer camp offers four programs to choose from, including pre-professional activities such as taking headshots, writing a resume, building auditioning skills and improving film-acting techniques.

And what really excites kids at YAK, is their chance to be in a real Hollywood movie! All YAC campers visit working movie sets and meet real Hollywood movie stars (who come by camp to offer advice and technique tips). This is a true chance of a lifetime for young actors dying to get a glimpse into the world they dream of succeeding in – and after attending Young Actors Camp, kids have a much better chance of doing so.

Young Actors Camp is the only summer camp experience that can lead to a young actor moving to Los Angeles for real work opportunities; and YAC will guide actors and families through the transitional period of this complicated, yet rewarding, process.

Camp Winnarainbow
Location: Mendocino, California
Ages: 7-14

Learning about the BIG TOP is BIG FUN! This colorful and positive camp embraces the joy of creativity and personal achievement. For 30 years, Winnarainbow camp leaders have been teaching kids about circus performing arts techniques, such as timing, balance, humor, acting, juggling, dancing, gymnastics, the tightrope, the trapeze, clowning, falling, magic and much more!

Along with the great fun of clowning around, Camp Winnarainbow is also dedicated to providing a beautiful training ground in Northern California. Winnarainbow supports a strong communion with nature, believing kids should have ample time to play outside in the fresh, ocean air.

One of the camp’s main goals is to show kids how to embrace and contribute to a harmonious and sustainable world. Along with teaching kids how to become environmentally responsible, camp leaders are passionate about nurturing the creative spirit in an atmosphere of approval and mutual encouragement. This truly unique camp experience leaves kids with a powerful sense of a creative community, in addition to a strong foundation of circus performance techniques.

Sewnow! Fashion Studio
Location: Lafayette, California
Ages: 2nd grade and up

If much to your dismay, your little Diane von Furstenberg is cutting up their clothes only to sew them back together again, it might be time to send them to Sewnow! Fashion Studio. At this overnight summer camp, open to boys and girls, kids are allowed to let their creative colors fly while learning about the exciting world of fashion design.

Known for being a fun, energetic and friendly atmosphere, Sewnow! is a great experience for those starting from scratch, as well as kids with ample sewing experience. Beginners will learn things like basic stitching, cutting and assembly methods, while advanced campers will learn about computerized drafting systems and machine embroidery.

So if your son or daughter is glued to the TV every time Project Runway comes on, this could be his or her own chance of a lifetime.

Oxbow Summer Art Camp
Location: Napa, California
Ages: 14-16

At Oxbow Summer Art Camp, aspiring painters, illustrators, sculptures, photographers and other visual artists participate in a comprehensive summer program. This unique camp is more than an arts and crafts studio; Oxbow prides itself on being a powerful educational program where young artists are completely immersed in visual arts interdisciplinary academics.

Young artists are exposed to a large variety of artistic styles and inspirations, in addition to learning the artistic process. Young artists learn the fundamentals of visual artistry, but they also learn important real-life skills like studio and gallery processes, hanging and presenting their pieces, peer feedback, and writing about their artistic processes. From the idea to the final piece, Oxbow guides campers through the exciting journey of expression, creativity and reflection.

But Oxbow is not only about art. Campers are also encouraged to take advantage of the beautiful California summer…outdoors! Kids are invited to swim, play sports and other games, take field trips and enjoy working on their pieces in the warm, summer sun. Oxbow truly offers the perfect combination of art and traditional camp experiences for young Picassos, Michelangelo and Anne Gedes.
Specialty Camp Choices Abound!

With all of these incredibly fun specialty camp options to choose from, kids are more likely than ever to find an amazing summer camp that is perfect for them.

Although traditional camps offer children and teens a fun and eclectic summer experience, if your son or daughter has a strong passion for a specific discipline, wouldn’t it be great idea to let them spread their wings doing what they love most?