FAMILY CAMP Children's Program
Children's Age Groups (Age 2 - 18)
Minnows: Age 2
Tadpoles: Ages 3 - 4
Chipmunks: Ages 5 - 6
Marmots: Ages 7 - 8
Bobcats: Ages 9 - 10
Cougars: Ages 11 - 12
Bears: Ages 13 - 18 (Teens)
Montecito Sequoia Family Camp Children's Program
Montecito Sequoia's Family Camp offers a rich program of almost 6-hours per day of supervised, age-appropriate activities, for children ages 2 - 18. Our handpicked counselors instruct the children in a variety of activities, customized to the interests of the children in each age group.
We are proud that many of our campers "grow up" at Montecito, gaining skills and learning to be independent in a safe, caring environment. From our primary program (ages 2 - 6) to teens, Montecito has developed a specialized program that keeps all our campers happy and engaged, as they grow and mature. (We even offer teens the opportunity to prepare for college and their first job through our prestigious 3-week KILT Program during Family Camp, if they feel they are ready to take on more responsibility).
We always try to place children in groups and programs that are the best fit for each child. Our overriding concern is for the health and safety of your children, and the appropriateness of activities for their individual developmental stage.
On Sunday night, during the adults' Welcome Meeting, we send the kids out to play games, meet their Group Leaders, and get to know their peers. They'll make new friends that very first night. Each age group has a Lead Counselor who works with them, and accompanies them to scheduled activities throughout the week.
Each full day at Montecito (Monday - Friday), we offer 4 activity periods in which your children can participate with their group. (See: Sample Family Camp Activity Schedule)
Younger children, ages 2 - 10, can be dropped off during 1st period at 9:15 am with their group, then picked up for lunch by a parent at 12:00 Noon. After having lunch with the family, children can be dropped off for 3rd period at 1:45 pm, and picked up at the end of 4th period at 4:30 pm. Going on a long hike or mountain-bike ride? You can hire one of our counselors or KILTs to babysit your child, until you return.
There is a 15-minute break between 1st & 2nd, and then again between, 3rd & 4th, where the younger groups will be brought into the main lodge for water and snacks, and perhaps have story time, until it's time to move to their next activity area.
Note: Children 11 & up do not need to picked up by a parent at the end of 2nd & 4th period, but we do ask parents to hire a babysitter, if they will not be available to eat lunch with their children (aged 11 years and younger), especially if you will be out of camp and not sure when you will return.
Planned activities for children vary, based on appropriateness by age group, but can include arts & crafts, canoeing, bouldering, climbing wall, sailing, slack lining, swimming, sand & lake play, tennis, archery, air riflery, paintball/paintball target shooting (older groups only), fencing, trampoline, jiu-jitsu, nature studies/walks, scavenger hunts, fort-building, games like "capture the flag" & "gaga ball," tot gymnastics, pony rides, dock fishing, guitar (older kids), hot tub, yoga, and more! (For more info: see Family Camp Activities).
Free Choice Activities
Our Lead Counselors also help their campers learn how to use the "free choice" program. If your child isn't interested in a given scheduled activity with their group, they may choose to go to an "Open" activity, if he or she meets the age requirement, and the parents have informed their child's Lead Counselor that their child is allowed to go to an activity independently.
Generally, younger children will choose to stay with their group, unless they have something special planned with their parent(s). Older children (ages 11 and up), will pick and choose their schedule based on their interests, and by attending activities allowed for their age (see age restrictions below).
We also offer wholesome fun each evening, after dinner, with a family-friendly event; such as our Carnival Night, Free choice night (with a movie in Marmot Lodge for the younger children whose parents want to do another activity), Theme Night Dance Party, Coffee House, International Night, Variety Show, and Sing-a-long Campfires.
Counselors will work with their children's groups on a skit for Variety Show, that your children can participate in if they choose. Additionally, the group leader will host their campers during the Friday afternoon Beach Party, 4th period, so parents may enjoy the party with their adult friends, if they choose, or go to another activity. (Older kids' groups will attend the Beach Party with their leaders, children in the primary program will attend another activity with their counselors.)
Group Overnights (Ages 7 & up; except Week 1)
Group Overnights are planned for Marmots, Bobcats, Cougars & Bears, each week of Family Camp (except Week 1), weather permitting. This is often the first "real" camping experience our young campers get, and it is an opportunity for parents to have a quiet evening alone (or at least a "quieter" evening, with one less child to care for).
The overnights are often one of the most memorable experiences for our campers, as they gain some independence by sleeping away from their parents, while deeply bonding with their group.
Our younger campers (ages 7 - 12), will stay in our Tee Pee overnight area on the other side of the lake. They will be chaperoned by several counselors and KILTs, who will organize games and provide snacks, until it is time to go to sleep. Children will be returned to their rooms early in the morning before breakfast. Bears have a separate camping location, where they will sleep under the stars, next to a campfire with their group leaders. (Note: All children must bring a sleeping bag with them to participate in their group overnight).
Parents of young children (ages 2 - 6), can relax and enjoy Montecito Summer Family Camp, secure in the knowledge that their little ones are having a wonderful time under the supervision of our carefully selected and trained primary counselors. Our Primary Program is headed by experienced Child Development counselors, who receive additional training from our Primary Expert when they arrive at camp, to familiarize them with our specific program. The program offers activities that promote social and learning skills, boost self-esteem, and build confidence - all in a fun-filled environment!
Minnow (age 2) and Tadpoles (ages 3 - 4), share an outdoor play yard together, while the older primary/school-aged children, Chipmunks (ages 5 - 6), have their own play yard. Each play yard features toys and activity areas appropriate for these young campers age groups.
Our Primary Program features many activities specifically offered to our youngest campers, including the opportunity to nap daily after lunchtime, during our "Reading and Rest" activity period for Minnows & Tadpoles (ages 2 - 4). Each day we will take our primary campers swimming (either at the pool, or at the lake for sand & lake play). Here is a sample of the types of specialized activities we offer for our Primary Groups:
Swimming in the Pool
Sand & Beach Play by the Lake
Reading and Rest (ages 2 - 4)
Getting to know you games
Canoeing (ages 5 & 6 only)
Arts & Crafts in the Play Yards
Archery (ages 5 & 6 only)
Tee Pee Hike
Variety Show Prep
We also offer babysitting for children 2 through 11. Our counselors and KILTs will babysit your child in their off-hours, with advance notice. Please make arrangements directly with a counselor or KILT of your choosing, or inquire at the front desk or with our Primary counselors for assistance in arranging for a babysitter. Please note that there is an additional charge for babysitting, that is paid directly to the babysitter. Babysitting rates are very reasonable, and will be announced during the Welcome Meeting on Sunday Evening (the day you arrive). If you are unable to drop off or pick up your children promptly from their groups, or will not be able to be with your children during meal times, please make sure to hire a sitter for your child's safety.
At Montecito, we recognize that not all activities are suitable for all age groups. The following activities are subject to age restrictions:
For Overall Safety: Children are not allowed in the pool, near the lake, on the trampoline, or at the stables, without adult supervision!
Archery: Children under 5 may not use the archery range. Children ages 5 & 6 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult, or they may participate with their group when scheduled for Archery.
Boating (canoes, paddleboats, stand up paddleboards, kayaks): Children under 9 must have adult supervision while using the boats; everyone MUST wear a life jacket while boating! Note: Sailboats can only be used when it is a scheduled activity period.
Docks/Dock Fishing: Children 9 and under must wear life jackets when fishing or playing on the docks.
Hot Tub and Swimming Pool: Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult when using the hot tub or pool.
Climbing Wall: Children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult when using the climbing wall, unless visiting the wall as part of their scheduled group activity.
Paintball: Paintball is held in our wooded paintball field. This activity is open to individuals 12 and up, except when participating with their group (Cougars & Bears). A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for their children to play, if they are under the age of 18. Bobcats (ages 9 & 10) can participate in Paintball Target Shooting with their groups. Target Shooting does not allow for participants to shoot each other, only inanimate objects/targets. Our instructors will teach the Bobcats the basics of paintball to prepare them to participate in paintball when they are old enough.
Horseback Riding: The Junior Wranglers program is for children age 2 - 7; a responsible adult must be present to lead the horse. Children 8 and over may participate in lessons in our riding ring, and in our riding intensive program; children 11 and older, may participate in trail rides; some difficult trails may require children to be 13 or older to ride. Please note: There is an additional fee for horseback rides and lessons, and you must sign up the night prior, except for Pony Rides for primary children ages 2 - 6, which will be free and conducted as a scheduled group activity.