This is a sponsored post. 

Sending kids to summer camp can be daunting for many Los Angeles parents. You want to make sure they’re safe, having a good time, getting exercise and making friends. That’s a lot of things to find in a camp, but it’s what I found at Prime Time Sports Camp.

My boys went to Prime Time when they were in elementary school. I felt good about it before I sent them because it was recommended to me by so many neighborhood parents. I felt safe to send them there because we knew some of the counselors from school. And it was easy to get to know the ones we didn’t because it was a friendly environment.

It sounds like such a fun job to run a summer camp so I asked Prime Time Owner Peter Straus about his camp and how it got started.

1) What made you decide to start Prime Time Sports Camp?

I worked at sports camps in high school and college and thought it was the greatest job anyone could possibly have. I got to play and teach sports during the summer…what could be better? The idea of starting my own camp actually wasn’t my idea at all. I was teaching PE at Castle Heights Elementary School and running my own baseball program when I was approached by a group of parents who said that their kids desperately needed a sports camp – somewhere their kids could go and just play, and asked me if I’d consider starting a camp. That was 28 years ago.

The first location opened at Palms MS. I met Kent Campfield a few years later when I was coaching baseball at Palisades HS. I wanted to open a second location at Pali High and there was only one person I knew who could take what we had created and make it better, and that was Kent. He’s been a part of Prime Time for 20 Years and is now our Director of Camps and Site Director at the Santa Monica-Crossroads location.

2) How do you choose your camp staff?

The staff is what makes camp special and what keep kids coming back year after year. We hire dynamic Teachers, PE Coaches and professional educators who not only understand how to work with kids, but are also in a position to work with us year after year, creating the consistency and continuity that really makes camp an integral part of a child’s life. We then select former campers who are home from college on summer breaks because they’ve grown up in our camp, been a CIT (counselor in training), know what our expectations are and are excited to make sure that other kids experience the “Prime Time Way.” We do very little hiring outside of these two groups which is really what makes camp so unique.

3) What makes Prime Time a special place for kids?

I think what makes Prime Time special is that we understand that camp is something we provide for the entire family. Parents have chosen us to take care of their kids, often for as long as 10 hours a day. That’s an extraordinary honor and explains why we invest so much time in hiring the people we do.

We have great facilities and excellent equipment, but, so do other camps. Our staff is the difference. We rely upon their strengths and experience to make sure that they’re able to deliver on the camp’s mission to make sure that every camper has an excellent experience every day!

It begins with individualized attention. That’s why our staffing ratio is low; as low as 5:1, so that every camper’s needs are met and parents know that their kids are safe. We’ve retained the same “small camp” feel that we started with 28 years ago.

And then we play…fast. That’s how the slogan, Less Talk. More Play.” started. Being a “sports camp” is more than just playing sports with kids who love sports. It’s about structuring the pace of the day, providing opportunities to interact with staff, and offering a variety of active games and versions of sports so that kids who don’t necessarily love traditional sports enjoy camp as much as those who came to Prime Time to play basketball, soccer, baseball, football and other popular sports.

We know we’ve done our job when kids don’t want to leave at the end of the day.

Prime Time Sports Camp in West Los Angeles. #summercamp

How is a typical camp day structured?

A lot of thought and planning goes in to each day so that, first and foremost, camp is a safe place, both physically and emotionally.

Each day needs to be special and memorable, but we also need to pace it so that a child can go 5 days a week for 9 weeks and not be too tired, because the kids play hard at camp. There are 4 age groups in camp to make sure that their experience is age-appropriate; Junior Camp (Pre-K – 1st grade), 2nd and 3rd grade, 4th and 5th grade and 6th-8th grade. We can then adapt the sport to their specific age.  Age-appropriate means a lot of things, from the duration of an activity, implementation of rules, specific equipment to the level of competition. These vary; the goal does not.

The second factor we take into consideration when structuring the day is to make sure that each day is balanced; competitive sports and participation-based games, indoor activities and outdoor activities, skill-building clinics and games, popular sports and new sports like golf, lacrosse and tennis. Add special events like Olympics Week, World Cup Soccer Week, Game Show Week, and Theme Days to the mix and you’ve got the recipe for a great summer, whether your child is 6, 8, 10 or 12 years old. This kind of balance keeps camp from becoming too competitive while providing ample opportunities for kids with a wide variety of skill levels, experience levels and interests to shine. We also play more outdoor games in the mornings and more indoor games in the afternoons in the event that it gets hot, which it can, during the summer.

This is a sponsored post. Prime Time has locations in West LA, Santa Monica and Silver Lake. First time campers save 10 percent. Use promo code MomsLA at checkout. 

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