The Lil’ Kid Camp Experience

The Lil’ Kid Camp Experience
A behind-the-scenes account, courtesy of R.O.C.K.’s Elementary School Coordinator and summer camp enthusiast, Adrianna Romero
By Hayley Walker, Marketing & Development Coordinator

Lil’ Kid Camp is just around the corner, and all of us at R.O.C.K. are excited for this summer favorite.  In this interview, Adrianna Romero, our Site Coordinator at El Dorado Elementary School, tells us about her first impressions of Lil’ Kid Camp, her favorite camp memories, and why you should sign up to be a volunteer this summer.

HW: Adrianna, we’re all curious. What were your first impressions of Lil Kid Camp? Did you know what you were getting into?

AR: I knew that there were structured activities, and I knew that there were staff that were going to be there to facilitate all of the activities.The first thing that we did was sit all together—all the campers, all the camp staff, and 

all of the R.O.C.K. staff, and we announced who was going to be in what cabin. This is the most anticipated moment because everyone wants to know who they’re with. And you can’t tell them because you

want it to be a surprise! So we do this whole ceremony, a cabin ceremony, and as soon as they figure it out they run to their cabin. They’re just excited to see what it looks like, and for campers that have never been there, it’s a really exciting moment.

So you get there, you kind of settle in, and it’s a really nice campground. There are a lot of great facilities. They have a beach volleyball court, they have a basketball court—which all of the boys were like, *hearteyes* for! We got to see the lake later on in the day, and it’s beautiful.

HW: That’s probably the first time a lot of the kids have seen something like that, isn’t it?

AR: Exactly, a lot of our students have never been camping like that. For most of them, this is the first time they’re away from their families, so there’s that bit of like, “I’m nervous!” But they’re so excited. Once they see the lake, all they want to do is get in. It’s really fun. The kids were like, “Ooh! Aah!”

HW: What was you favorite part about your experience last year?

I have two. First was going out to the lake—they have all these really great activities. You can go on the Reggae Cruise, which is this really cool boat and they just play Reggae music, and it’s at sunset so it’s beautiful. They have a swim area, so kids can swim, and they have all these floating devices—like an obstacle course on water.

Devin (another R.O.C.K. staff member) and I went tubing, and it was so exhilarating! They have a few boats, so they drive the boats and take the kids out, and you have to hold on for your life. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe, and we were going so fast!

There is also the ropes course. A bunch of the girls in my cabin went ziplining. They were all really nervous about it, but the ones who didn’t do the zipline did the rock wall, and it was pretty hard! They have different levels of challenge. There was one girl who the whole cabin was cheering for, and it was so cool to see them overcome their fears. I just felt like, “Oh my gosh, that’s my girl! Those are my girls!” They’re over here overcoming their deepest fears, and it was really fun to see the girls come together and cheer them on.

HW: What do you think the kids enjoy most?

AR: I think swimming. Swimming in a lake—kids don’t always get to do that. We live in San Francisco, so we don’t have beaches where we can necessarily swim. So I think when they get to go swim, and they get to do the different obstacles, that’s really fun for them. But they also have arts and crafts, and they did tie-dye shirts last year. They did biking, like mountain bikes, for an hour and a half! Which is really hard work! I think they get a lot of opportunities to do things that they have never done before. They have fencing, they have all these cool activities that kids don’t get to do, which is very aligned with what we do at R.O.C.K.

HW: Would you say that’s one of the biggest takeaways for the kids?

AR: Yes. They go home and they tell everyone, “I went fencing!” and everyone’s like, “What! That’s so cool!”

I also think this one is really simple, but one that kids really like: s’mores. There are s’mores every single night. It’s so simple, it’s so easy, but they love it, they look forward to it every night. It’s kind of like a ritual that they have at Mountain Camp—every night we go down to the amphitheater and we have s’mores. That’s our thing. As adults maybe we overlook those kinds of things, but it’s the little things that the kids look forward to.

HW: Well, I look forward to it too! I’m glad that you mentioned there’s an amphitheater, because that’s somewhere they can come together. Do they usually meet there in the morning, or do they go straight to breakfast?

AR: They usually go straight to breakfast, and there’s some community building there. There’s a little amphitheater at the lake that we meet at, and then there’s one closer to where the cabins are. So there are a few places that are communal.

HW: What would you tell someone who’s considering volunteering for Lil’ Kid Camp?

AR: Do it! It’s really fun. I mean, it’s a lot of fun because you’re experiencing it with them, so you get a chance to build memories and help the kids have fun. There are also some kids who have never done this before, and it’s kind of scary for them. So to have someone that’s there with you is really special. Even though it was “work” and you might be volunteering, you get something from it. It’s rewarding in a lot of different ways.

I’d like to note that at this point in our conversation, a woman at a nearby table at the local coffee shop chimed in to us to tell us how awesome this experience sounded, and to applaud the work we’re doing at R.O.C.K. We took a few moments to chat with her before resuming the interview.

HW: So Adrianna, are you going this year?

AR: Heck yes! I’m super excited. It’s literally the day after school ends, so it’s a celebration. It’s not like you’re sitting in a desk, it’s like, “Let’s go rock climbing!” It’s a completely different environment, a change of pace, so it allows for different things to take place.

HW: Is there anything else that we should know about Lil’ Kid Camp?

AR: They feed you! Really well. 3 meals, every single day. For the adults there’s coffee, and it’s pretty good! They have an amazing salad bar that has avocados. The food is really good, so I think that’s an added benefit.
A huge thank you to Adrianna for taking the time to chat with me about Lil’ Kid Camp, and for getting me excited for this year’s trip! Interested in coming to camp with us this year? Email for more information on how you can get involved.