Catalyst Camps Livermore- coming June 2021!
By Valerie Kelly & Ronnie Hanks
We have a new Catalyst Camps location opening this summer in Livermore, CA!
Catalyst Camp Livermore 2021 summer camp runs from June 14th – August 13th. For more information, visit https://www.catalyst-camps.org/livermore/
We had an amazing opportunity to chat with Ronnie Hanks and get an inside scoop all about the new location and how it came to fruition. COVID-19 has no doubt changed the way we operate as an organization, and this had a major impact on our camps programs in 2020 leading into 2021. We shifted the debut of the Livermore camps program to 2021 with the challenges COVID-19 presented. Our programming had to shift to accommodate low capacity as we negotiated the lease of rooms going into the summer. The district reached out to us, really impressed with how well we run our programs, and offered us the ability to fully run the camp exclusively at Livermore with the ability to hire on their staff members.
Cassandra Brumfield, who has been Camp Manager for the El Dorado Hills location, will also be in charge of the Livermore location and is really looking forward to interviewing candidates for the new program. “We’re giving families who already attend the school a discount to better acclimate to their needs as we build our camps in partnership with the school, so it’s not too much of a hit financially during the transitional period for families attending previous years of camp.”
With 28 currently enrolled campers, there are 14 cohorts. “There are two rooms with basketball courts and a gym area. In the past, we would have to figure out how to work with other camps, but being an exclusive camp to the site, we can really pick and choose what areas to utilize.” They have about 250 students at a time and a church that runs services throughout the week and on Sundays as well that we’ll be promoting throughout the community for our camp. They’re also providing free advertising through flyers and on their website for us through the partnership.
Camarillo has been in a similar partnership since 2019, however, the camp did not run in 2020 due to COVID-19. Hanks was approached by the district, as they would not be running a camp, and offered full utilization of the location. The capacity is similar to that of Livermore and will be there for Pleasant Valley parks and rec programs. There will be no other camp offerings in Camarillo this summer outside of Catalyst Camps. It’s a brand-new remodeled facility.
“It’s been really cool to watch the partnerships happen between Catalyst Camps and the communities we’re starting to branch out into and the partners that we have seen what we can provide for the community.”
Hanks is hopeful that the partnership will help Catalyst Camps expand to other locations the park has throughout Camarillo.
“We’re learning how we can possibly do this in other cities throughout California.” There are a lot of facilities not being utilized that the cities own throughout California, which opens up possibilities for future camps. Hanks remarks that it has been an interesting experience transitioning from one Camps location with three acres to four locations.
El Dorado Hills, by contrast, is on a private school location that did not have a summer camp running there already, the location of our second camp. We’ve partnered with them for five years. Cassandra Brumfield, also known as “Smiley” and Brook, Camp Leader, did a phenomenal job last year. Right now, we have 102 registrations at that facility and we’re the exclusive camp to that location.
Conejo Valley is now at a private school location and has been trying to build enrollment over the past few years, but with COVID and with private schools opening before public schools, the enrollment numbers have gone through the roof. This helps us reach those families that have enrolled in private school to utilize our programs. It’s been great seeing each location with its own story grow and evolve.
After this past year, Hanks mentions he really wants the kids to be outside and explore. “No computers, and when they’re indoors, they can just do things that they have not done all year round. This year will still look a little different than years past, staying in their cohorts, for example. Each week also has a different theme to it, just like Catalyst Kids.”
“It takes about 2-3 years for camps to really see consistent enrollment. When we moved what we knew as Young Set Club, now Catalyst Camps, to Conejo Valley with different amenities, it took parents a few years to see the new vision of what Catalyst Camps might look like. The summer of 2019 was our most successful summer and it really took a few years to get that ball rolling to see the numbers that we wanted. We really strive to find locations that are in line with our curriculum.”