With more than 50 camp locations across the U.S. and unique programming developed by talented educators engineers and artists, Camp Galileo Chicago brings summer fun and a positive mission of personal growth, inclusion, friendship and inspiration to kids ages kindergarten through 10th grade.
Plus, parents who need extended hours will find it here. Camp Galileo Chicago runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with enriching before- and after-camp experiences that can extend the day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. And Galileo has 10 convenient locations in Chicagoland — from the city to the North Shore to the western suburbs.
“We’ve got something for everyone. Our STEAM-based activities develop creativity and innovation skills and truly inspire campers,” says Pamela Briskman, Camp Galileo’s Vice President of Education.
Think like an innovator
Galileo leads with a mission of teaching children to have the creative confidence they need to collaborate with others, try new things and, ultimately, bring their ideas to life and make the world a better place.
“Our curriculum consists of hands-on design and engineering projects and outdoor games that present campers with engaging, open-ended challenges. We give children the information and tools they need to get started and then encourage them to test out their ideas and work together to come up with their own solutions,” says Briskman.
However, learning how to think big doesn’t mean kids won’t get their fair share of summer silliness.
The camp’s mascot is a rubber chicken, and each camp day begins with a run through the “fun machine,” the streamered entrance to camp. There are also dress-up days, sing-alongs and lots of outdoor play including the always popular Water Day, when the camp takes on a true water park vibe.
Every summer Galileo presents kids with a slew of new and different activities tailored to their age. This summer, rising kindergarten through second graders can create dinosaur costumes or build a fortified castle. Third and fourth graders might make a powerful catapult, a dizzying light-up spinning ride or design their own carnival game.
Rising fifth-eighth graders can build a custom pressurized water blaster, a remote-controlled robot or — through an exciting collaboration between Galileo and X in a Box, which was started by Pixar alumni — create their own animated story reel using the storytelling process developed at Pixar.
World-class curriculum, talented staff
Each summer, Camp Galileo comes to life at the hands of a diverse group of enthusiastic, experienced staff that are beloved by Galileo families. “We have a great reputation, so we are able to attract and retain amazing staff who are smart, inspiring, fun and know how to create unforgettable camp magic,” says Briskman.
The staff are also trained to use Galileo’s acclaimed Innovation Approach (GIA) to ignite the innovator in every kid. The GIA is a researched-backed framework that teaches kids the three things they need to develop as innovators: knowledge that guides breakthrough thinking, a mindset that promotes innovative work and a process that supports bringing the best ideas to fruition.
And with over 600,000 happy campers served, this approach delivers. Researchers from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education found that Galileo kids tend to persevere through unfamiliar challenges, share their ideas more freely and respond better in the face of failure.
Briskman shares a story about her own daughter, a Galileo camper, at age 5. She was playing with a superball at home when it rolled down a hill straight into a storm drain.
“Prior to her camp experience, my daughter would have come to me teary-eyed and asked for help retrieving the ball,” Briskman says. “Instead, she came to me and said, my ball is in the drain, and I need to make a tool to get it out. She had new-found creative confidence and jumped right into problem-solving.”
Briskman believes that part of Camp Galileo’s value and appeal is that it is designed to offer kids an incredibly fun camp experience while unlocking the innovation skills they’ll need to thrive in life beyond camp.
“What is truly different and transformative about Camp Galileo is that we give the campers the tools to think about their world in a new way and the skills and confidence to turn their visions into reality, while also providing them with wonderful summer memories,” she says.