Justin Lavner has his roots in the Philadelphia area and is the founder of Lavner Camps. We had a chance to hear more about Lavner Camps during our interview with Lavner.
1. Why did you decide to create Lavner Camps? What do you think makes it special?
J.L.: I created Lavner Camps because I wanted children to have the opportunity to attend a high quality summer camp where they can immerse themselves in learning, develop skills, have lots of fun, make friends, and create happy memories! Lavner Camps is very special because we provide campers with the opportunity to explore various areas of interest, build confidence, learn from great instructors who teach from a professionally developed (and always evolving) curriculum, and experience all of this in an exciting and dynamic camp environment.
We pride ourselves on creating a premier summer camp environment where campers can have the experience of a life time, and we enjoy seeing so many campers return each summer!
2. What are some of your favorite camp activities?
J.L.: As the camp director, it is really difficult to choose favorites, because so many of our activities are fun and exciting. Here are some (but not all!) of my favorites: King of the Court at Tennis Camp, Soccer Shootout Challenge, Hot Spot Challenge in Basketball Camp, Robowars in Robotics Camp, Scavenger Hunt Competitions in 3D Innovation & Design with Minecraft, Installing Minecraft Mods, coding a Choose Your Own Adventure Game in Java, Creating Apps and Beta testing Video Games on Fridays, the Friday Fashion show at Fashion Design Camp, Bake Off Competitions in Culinary Camp, Shooting Scenes at Filmmaking Camp, Friday Theater performances, the Lavner Carnival and Color War at Exploration Day Camp, Flying Drones in the Spy Tech Minor Course at TECH R3VOLUTION ™, Team Building Games at our CIT Leadership Program Orientation, and so much more!
3. You’ve added a lot of specialty tech and arts camps. How does your staff develop the curriculum for new camps? What are you especially excited about this year?
J.L.:We employ a very talented and brilliant group of year round employees. We have a full time technology department and creative arts department, and summer camp curriculum is developed and enhanced all year. This enables us to stay at the forefront of learning and produce camp experiences at the highest level, and sometimes even create new educational trends! As directors, Michael Lavner and I also play an integral part in overseeing curriculum development, and schedule time to immerse ourselves in the curriculum for each camp before we approve it to “go live” in the summer. I am very excited about our NEW camp additions: Elite Skills Minecraft Camp, Programming Camp with Python, Game Design Camp with GameMaker ™ and RPG Maker ®, Hand Sewing Camp: Stuffed Animal Creations!, and GreenFun Eco Camp! I am also excited to see the many new developments in all of our camps that are returning in Summer 2016.
4. How do you select your camp counselors (background, experience, etc)?
J.L.: It is absolutely paramount to us that we hire excellent camp instructors and counselors. We employ an almost entirely adult staff. They have exemplary backgrounds in the areas they instruct, and are passionate about working with kids. All are very responsible, and understand the “high level” camp experience and standards of excellence that we expect and require at Lavner Camps. Our instructors vary from teachers, professors, industry professionals, grad students, college students, and a very small amount of rising high school seniors and juniors who display an exceptional ability to instruct at camp. We are fortunate enough to receive thousands of applications and our HR department does a great job of selecting excellent candidates for our camp positions.
5. Can kids really learn to program in 1 week of camp?
J.L.: At Lavner Camps they can! All Lavner campers complete 1-3 computer programming projects during a week of Programming Camp with Scratch, Programming Camp with Python ™, or Programming Camp with Java. Parents can also book private lessons with an instructor before or after camp if they want their child to have 1 on 1 instruction and additional learning opportunities. We are very impressed with the programming project our campers create at camp, and are excited to provide more and more coding camps each summer!