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Cali Camp




1717 Old Topanga Canyon Rd
Topanga, CA 90290
All bookings are free!
Camp Price:
$1396
/ per session
Camp Category: ACA Accredited, Adventure, Archery, Dance, Drawing, GaGa, Games, Gymnastics, Music, Painting, Pool, Rock Climbing, Tennis, Theater, Traditional
Camp Prices 2020
Session dates and prices will be annonced closer to the start of new season.

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About Cali Camp

Nestled in a wondrous natural world in the heart of rock-lined Topanga Canyon, Cali Camp is a welcome kids camp adventure in Los Angeles. A place to roam streams, meadows and oak trees. Forget the city – enter the new world. Established in 1955, our iconic summer camp welcomes boys and girls, ages 3 to 15, to the Santa Monica Mountains. Our staff holds hundreds of years of combined experience.
We feel camp is an invaluable experience in a child's life, an experience which hopefully inspires a camper to a greater appreciation of other individuals in a social setting and a broader understanding of the environment in which we live. The educational and physical skills a child may develop in the camping atmosphere are obvious: well-trained and experienced staff members offer campers new horizons of previously unconsidered challenge.
Cali camp offers the best summer day camp services in the Los Angeles area with 21 acres of creek beds, dramatic rock formations, bamboo forests, old oaks and incredible wildlife in Old Topanga Canyon.
Cali Camp is a place of ultimate fun. Yet, activities – from rock climbing for kids to art, from adventure camp to equestrian camp – only launch every camper's experience. In a transcendently-beautiful sky-ceilinged land, campers reclaim their connection to the environment and its springboard for their imaginations. Welcome to the best summer camp in Los Angeles!

CAMP OVERVIEW
Cali camp offers the best summer day camp services in the Los Angeles area with 21 acres of creek beds, dramatic rock formations, bamboo forests, old oaks and incredible wildlife in Old Topanga Canyon.

Just minutes from the Los Angeles westside, Cali Camp is 21 acres of creek beds, dramatic rock formations, bamboo forests, old oaks and incredible wildlife in Old Topanga Canyon. Next door lies miles of protected Santa Monica Mountains hiking and equestrian trails.

At Cali Camp, each camper will experience a dazzling variety of over 50 mini-adventure with activities and exciting special events to express their individual interests and curiosity. Whether visiting for the whole summer or just a week, every camper will reconnect with the environment's wonder and reclaim the magic it offers.

Since Cali Camp was established in 1955, counselors and staff have returned year after year. More than a half century of success and experience has taught us how to help each camper flourish physically, socially and spiritually. Campers learn the joy of PLAY and celebrate together. This is what makes us one of the premier summer camps in Los Angeles.

At Cali Camp, every camper is set free to dream—supported as they make new friends, grow confident from adventures, and learn to celebrate the positive attributes in one another. Cali Camp is space of no-limits, beauty, power and never-ending FUN!
Philosophy
We feel camp is an invaluable experience in a child's life, an experience which hopefully inspires a camper to a greater appreciation of other individuals in a social setting and a broader understanding of the environment in which we live. The educational and physical skills a child may develop in the camping atmosphere are obvious: well-trained and experienced staff members offer campers new horizons of previously unconsidered challenge.

Less obvious, yet vitally important, are the emotional and psychological gains available to a child in the summer camp setting. Accordingly, any staff member who chooses to give his or her summer to a summer camp dedicates service, enthusiasm, compassion, patience and creativity to making a successful summer for the child. In the child centered environment of a summer camp, our primary goal as staff and administrators becomes the assurance that campers have a remarkably memorable and positive camping experience. Our desire is that every camper takes home a smile, new friendships and a warm, positive camp memory to share with parents at the end of every day.

Our philosophy supports an optimistic and educational FUN time for all campers, no matter who they are, what they like or whether they are outgoing or shy. We believe that children learn when they are experiencing things in a fun, carefree environment.
We believe in generating a summer that each camper can share with friends for months after they leave Cali. To us, success is happiness resonating not just during but also after a Cali kids camp experience.

To us the camp belongs to the kids that come here. All campers get to pitch in deciding what will happen in their day with input into "group choice" activities.
It's their summer-of-a-lifetime.
Location
Located on a 21-acre property next door to protected Santa Monica Mountains parkland, Cali Camp property encompasses a large variation of terrain. From a dramatic skyline to a relaxed multi-branched tree that's perfect for a tree fort. From a series of dry creek beds to the awesome rocks that make for the ultimate hiking trail.

Together, the multiple unique spaces add up to a micro-environment for every kids camp activity you can imagine. They also furnish a return to nature for city kids – a place they can roam wild in for day camp or an entire season of summer camp.
Specialty Camp
Aerial Arts
Is your dream to fly? Cali Camp brings circus trapeze lessons to a sky-surrounded outdoor pavilion that's nestled in a kid-size canyon. Here, the joyous arts of trapeze, silks and lyra as well as poi, juggling, acrobatics and hula hoop are taught by FOCUSfish. The expert team frequently partners with Los Angeles-area schools.

Campers spend their morning learning, practicing and playing aerial arts and then participate in 2 Classic Camp activities plus daily swimming!

Specialty camps run in one week sessions. For boys or girls from ages 6 and up.

Wondering what your aerial artisan should wear? For boys and girls, a tight-fitting t-shirt with short sleeves is best. Pants should be worn that cover the knees, like Capri-length sweatpants or leggings. Girls can feel free to wear leotards and tights with no feet.
All classes are done barefoot, but sometimes the mats get hot or we may want to warm up by running the lawn, so please wear sneakers and socks. No flip flops allowed during camp, for safety reasons.

Equestrian "Wrangler" Camp Program

Take two rings that cater to different level riders, horses that will be your bff for life, miles of trails in the beauty of the mountains, accommodations for shade around the barn and you have a sublime equestrian session we call Equestrian "Wrangler" Camp. Ages 6 & up!
Lessons are in English, Western, bareback and, to make sure every rider has the best possible experience, we send home a pre-summer survey to each camper prior to camp to help determine skill levels before they put a foot in a stirrup. BTW riders must wear boots with heels and long pants. We provide helmets, but riders may bring their own if they wish.

This is a kids camp favorite, so places in this specialty camp sell fast. Specialty camps run in one week sessions. Sign up for 1 or all 9 weekly sessions. For boys or girls from 6-14.
Do you have a equestrian camper in your family? Equestrians across the world follow these simple rules to keep it safe and fun:
  • Boots with small heels or hard shoes with small heels. no child will be allowed to ride in sneakers.
  • Long pants.
  • Don't forget, pack a swimsuit & towel daily, so your kid can dive into the cool pool.
  • Mark all clothing with your child's name.
A day at Camp
9:00 am Buses Arrive!

9:15 am Morning Round-Up and Circle Time

9:45 am Arts and Crafts

10:30 am Nature Hike

11:15 am Swimming

12:00 pm Lunch

12:45 pm
Archery

1:30 pm Playground

2:15 pm Go-Carts

3:00 pm Closing and Snacks

3:30 pm
Buses Depart

Cali Camp offers complete scheduling flexibility. Our only requirement is that campers come for at least five days. Come to camp for a single, five-day, Monday-Friday session and check out all fifty activities or sign up for any daily combination - two, three or four days per week. Specialty camps are mandatory, Monday - Friday sessions.

What happens on the first day of Camp?
Activities and all the great Cali Camp fun. Also included is more extensive time to meet and greet other campers and counselors. There will be a little less time for activities on these days but we've learned, that makes for time spent meeting each other, and knowing each other a little before activities start makes for a lot more fun overall.

Every camper:
  • is welcomed by a Cali Camp staff member as they arrive;
  • gets a special "First Day Name Tag";
  • is encouraged to ask questions to satisfy their curiosity about camp and to comfort concerns.
Waterfront Activities
There's a sport for every camper and that's why Cali Camp has so many. From hard court sports like basketball, to field games like soccer and kickball and softball. We've got racquet sports - tennis and pickleball, caroms and ping-pong. Don't forget old world archery and target sports.
Whether it's an activity a camper already loves, or an opportunity to try and thrive at something new, sports for every age and experience level are part of each session. A cool-off in the pool is a daily stop for everyone. Swim lessons included for non-swimmers!
Cali Camp also hosts a series of goofy and fun games, from the camp's favorite creation "Ga-ga" to foosball, capture the flag, run the bases backwards and more.

Pool
Every day, each Cali Camper gets time in our expansive-sized, outdoor pool to cool off in, goof off in and have a little splash time.
Certified lifeguards supervise, so everyone can just relax and have fun. They join program directors to organize and direct water games, contests and organized play. On each child's first day we ability check. Swimming lessons for non-swimmers for half the period and free-time if you pass the swim check.
Don't forget to pack a suit and towel every day. The pool is a daily dive-in.

Log Rolling
Campers rock and roll their way to success on top of this log rolling adventure. Built with the option to add trainers for beginners or free style to spin as fast as you can, there are tons of games and competitions Cali kids love to do on top of the log. Campers channel their inner lumberjack in this 100-year old log rolling tradition.
Land Activities
Rocks & Ropes
Campers ages 7 and up can expand their limits on an awesome ropes course and get roped, helmeted and harnessed to hit this outdoor fun. Anchored by automatic hydraulic belay ropes, and wearing safety helmets and a waist harness, they can hit the 35-foot tower for a unique kids camp challenge.
New adventures include figuring out climbing routes, mastering incline logs and flying along zip lines. They'll enjoy scoping out new routes, getting sticky fingers and cheering each other on.

Gymnastics
Two in-ground trampolines, a balance beam at a camper-appropriate height and plenty of tumbling – they're all part of Cali's cool gymnastics program.
Our Gymnastics program is open to all campers at summer camp, comes with a gymnastics specialist and will include a big "Gymnastics Meet" during the camp's annual "Olympic Week." See you – cheering on your friends or competing – there.

Aerial Arts
Is your dream to fly? Cali Camp brings circus trapeze lessons to a sky-surrounded outdoor pavilion that's nestled in a kid-size canyon. Here, the joyous arts of trapeze, silks and lyra as well as poi, juggling, acrobatics and hula hoop are taught by FOCUSfish instructors in a special day camp and summer camp experience. The expert team frequently partners with Los Angeles-area schools.

Go-Karts

New Electric go-karts have been added to the Cali Camp fleet. Cali karts also get a NEW off-road track, and some awesome kart specialists and mechanics. Go-karts are cooler than ever!

Target Sports
It is time to release your inner archer, improve your accuracy and pat yourself on the back. At Cali Camp, specialists teach this ancient but wondrous craft. That's just the start of our target sports activities.
There's a fun and safe way for every age child to try them out! Bocce ball, beanbags and horse shoes to name a few.

Ga-Ga
At Cali, there's plenty of goofy games to play when we chill in the shade. Ga-Ga gets its roots from dodgeball and was invented in Israel. It was introduced to the US and Australia in the early 60's through international camping connections and Cali Campers have been playing it since! Its a great game with variations for all ages and you don't need to be a pro to be a champ!

Tennis
Cali kids enjoy learning such a popular worldwide sport. At tennis not only do they learn coordination, balance and stamina, but also work on fitness, teamwork and good sportsmanship. We often play as a whole group, whether its through drills and practice or group wide games such as King of the Court. One of the original age-old Cali Camp activities… this ones not to be missed.

Backyard Games and Sports
At BYGS (pronounced bigs) we channel our inner sports star by challenging our group mates to tons of sports and games. Full-Court Basketball, Soccer, Flag Football, Kickball, Beach Volleyball, and Quidditch just to name a few. Play, have fun, score, improve skills, make friends, share laughs with the team, grow your confidence – be. It's the Cali Sports way.
Arts & Crafts
Arts & Crafts
Cali Camp's summer light, soft breeze, and oaks provide an inspiring environment for kids to create in. Arts & Crafts is practiced with supportive counselors and taught by specialists. At Cali Camp, success is in the doing, the inner expression and each kid's connection to the outer world. Arts & Crafts is designed to support Cali Campers in finding themselves and growing in confidence and supply plenty of fun and shared moments, as well as openings for campers to discover life-changing opportunities.

Theater
Hidden talent? Excited about performing in front of friends? Want to be in a play but too shy? At Cali, it's not "the play is the thing" it's "play IS the thing."
At Cali, our dramatics specialist:
— Reveals each camper's hidden talent;
— Provides a totally supportive atmosphere;
— Makes sure every camper feels comfortable;
— Helps to develop acting, mime and improvisational skills
— Shares tips that calm stage fright.

Music

Rhythm is one of the first experiences we all have. Long before we learn to talk, we hear it in our walk. At Cali Camp we break lose with rhythms. Join us to bang the drums, play percussion, stomp, and make your own instruments.
We also feel that camp songs are a way of life. And the best part is... you can have the worst voice in the wold and sound amazing, because you are joining in with everyone else! Singing together promotes confidence, friendship and lifelong memories.

Dance
We launched a dance program for Cali Campers in 2012 so all ages can find their groove. Steps, styles and routines are shared here, with campers choreographing their own moves and performing them on stage at lunch. Whether competing in an intense game of freezedance or shakin' it off and learning a new routine, there is something fun for everyone at Dance.

Martial Arts
The true art form of Won Moo Hapkido is realized when we begin to win the battles we engage within ourselves and can take these lessons outside the dojang. This is the transformative power of the martial art we are honored to share at Cali Camp.
On a physical level, Won Moo Hapkido's primary focus is self-defense. Yet, it teaches more than that. It challenges and perfects one's character through rigorous physical and mental discipline.
Natural Excursions
Nature Skills
There are Cali Camp sports and then there are forays into the natural environment. A time for kids who are used to the stimuli of the city to slow down and experience the pace of the earth. At Nature Skills campers learn about organic gardening, compost, and native plants. We also teach some primitive skills honed and shared with us by our ancestors. Firemaking and tending, stone tools and cordage making to name a few.

Horses
Campers ages 8 and up will experience a guided trail ride in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountain preserve surrounding Cali Camp.
If you want a more in-depth Equestrian experience, then Cali's Wrangler Camp is as perfect for a first-time rider as it is for a more experienced equestrian. This is available for ages 6 and up.
With our experienced trainers, horses that are bffs, two rings, English and Western and miles of mountain trails – outdoor, natural rides are what Cali is all about. This is a summer camp favorite!

Bamboo Forest

Sometimes the simplest summer camp activities are the most satisfying. Cali Kids have long flocked to the canyon's bamboo forest in the heat of the day.
There they escape in its wild overgrown stalks, play hide-and-seek or experience the material's adaptability and their own creativity making tables and chairs from it. Cali kids crave this time of unstructured play to do what they want and be spontaneous in a safe environment.
Junior Leaders
Cali Camp's Junior Leader "JL" Program is offered to teenagers 14-17 years of age. The program provides for training experiences in leadership with children, peers and adults in a recreational setting. It also provides an opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills, build positive self images and enhance self esteem. We believe our program is an excellent learning experience for everyone involved.

JL's rotate weekly into different Cali Camp groups, this way they get experience working with different ages, genders and specialties. During the course of the summer JLs participate closely with a variety of Counselors and Specialists. In addition to these group responsibilities, the JLs also have a leadership class once a day to develop their skills in working with children and peers. We expect JLs to participate in all camp activities with their group of campers, and even schedule in some time once a week to let loose at an activity with their fellow JLs.
Packing List
  • Wear closed-toe shoes! (Pack sandals for beach trips.)
  • Wear clothes that are fun to play in! Kids seem to be most comfortable here in shorts.
  • Bring long pants every day to slip over shorts for equestrian camp, hiking, go-karts, and sports camp. (We suggest sweat pants.)
  • Tote a sweatshirt every day for cooler mornings, beach trips and chill-outs in the shade.
  • Swimming happens daily, so they'll need a swimsuit and towel every time they get on a Cali Camp bus.
Mark all clothing with your child's name
Food & Nutrition
Yes, we have hot lunches for $10 per day. And yes, you can also pack a bagged lunch for your child. Please make all packed lunches non-perishable and write your child's first and last name on it as well. We will stash it in a shady spot until lunch time.

Your child can purchase a lunch with cash on a per-day basis as he or she arrives, or just give their name have the card on file charged at the end of the week.
Cali Cafe offers such snacks as homemade muffins, bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, fruit, cereals and juice. It's open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. every morning and again at lunch.

Cali Cafe stocks whole grain, gluten free foods, as well as fresh fruits and more. Children will also have access to camp supplied water and/or milk throughout the day. The Cali-Cafe stocks juices and bottled water. We suggest you don't pack sweet sodas.
Gum is not allowed at camp or on the bus.
Staff
Behind every Cali Camp staff member is decades of proven experience in camp. Our counselors are frequently Cali Campers who have left for university but continue to return to share the Cali Camp experience and "pay it forward". Each is carefully chosen and screened. We are as serious about their pre-camp orientation and training as we are about ongoing counselor guidance during the course of each summer camp day. Our experienced Leadership Team begins indepth training in late April and keeps an eye out for campers and staff. They support each other. Yet – as clear as they are about safety... nurturing the social, emotional and psychological growth in each camper is most important. In the end, each works at Cali Camp to participate in the joy of PLAY and to celebrate the joys of just being a kid. They're here to smile and have Fun, too.
Health & Safety
Certified pool staffers ability-test each Cali Camper to determine skill levels during every camper's first pool visit. Once campers pass the skills test, they join in recreational swimming.
Our swim skills test includes:
  • Swimming two widths of the pool without resting or assistance;
  • A back float;
  • Treading water for twenty seconds; and
  • Holding breath, fully submerged for a count of five.
Kids who need help with basic skills split each session between instruction and recreation. Three, four and five year olds have swimming lessons every day at summer camp.
Kids who don't swim must have a note from home making that request. They'll be supervised at table games held adjacent to the pool area during each session.
Don't forget: Send your kid to camp with a swimsuit and towel daily.
Directions & Transportation
How many stops will there be on my child's bus route?
One or two, with the majority of routes only having one stop. We've found that having only one or two pick-up/drop off station per route reduces the tedium for campers, keeps them together as one egalitarian community for each drive and helps them arrive at camp fresh and ready for an adventurous day.
Transportation Station List

Will there be adequate supervision on the bus?

California law mandates special training for each bus driver. But we think, that person should be focused on one thing alone – driving. We have hired professional bus drivers to do just that for us and also that's why we staff each bus with a counselor or equivalent Cali Camp staffer. The fun, Bus Cup Challenge and Cali community starts the moment your child steps on the bus.

How does my child know which bus is their's?

On the first day of camp each camper receives a bus bracelet with their bus name. Every bus is represented by a different tree, and the counselors display the bus info at the end of the day, as well as the morning, so campers know which bus is theirs.
Counselors ride on each bus. And every counselor has a list of the campers assigned on that bus.

Who assists my child getting on the right bus to come home?
The transportation director, camp director, team leaders and transportation staff are in the parking lot at the end of each day to assist any child that needs assistance.
Tell your child: No one leaves until every camper is on the right bus, we've taken roll, and a final and correct count from each driver is confirmed.
Every child is encouraged to seek help if they need it.
FAQ
Can my child bring their electronic device(s) to Camp?
No doubt kids can have a fantastic time using new technologies, but Cali Camp provides a child-community made better with fewer distractions. Cali Camp is also about experiencing a beautiful, fun outdoor environment which kids can't always enjoy on a daily, school-year basis.
Because of this, no personal toy animals, electronic games, phones, toys, radios, laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods and CD players are allowed in camp or on the bus.

What about cell phones?
The camp is out of range for cell phones and they are not allowed on the property. If you must send your child with a cell phone, please put their name on it. If it comes out of their backpack, we will hold the phone in the director's office till the end of the day.

Kids with extra needs
We always try to fulfill great summers for all kids, which includes kids who have challenges physically, different learning rates and more complex emotional needs. While we can't guarantee enrollment for every child, our Inclusion Coordinator is here to discuss if there are specific questions and to help coordinate.

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