Reston, VA

Reston Association canceled its camp program for the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now residents can bring a piece of the camp experience into their homes with RA’s “Reston Camps in a Box” program.

Residents within RA boundaries can request that a box be delivered to their residence at no charge. Residents outside RA’s boundaries must pay the cost of shipping.

Boxes have different themes and include a nature activity, arts and crafts, a science experiment, a rainy day project, fitness ideas, and more. The kit also includes a link to connect with a camp staff member virtually.

The kits will be available on a staggered basis based on the following schedule.

  • Aloha to Summer (June 15)
  • Party in the USA (June 29)
  • Anything Goes (July 13)
  • Exploration (July 27)
  • Camp Finale (August 10)

Local organizations are finding new ways to transform the summer camp experience. Earlier this month, the Greater Reston Arts Center announced its first digital summer art camp.

Photo via Mariah Hewines/Unsplash

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As local camps announce cancellations for the summer, the Greater Reston Arts Center is transitioning to its first digital summer art camp.

The program, which is geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 10, includes guidance on how to make art through pre-recorded, instructional videos The digital program replaces in-person camps, which were previously organized with Reston Association.

The online program mirrors what is offered at the in-person program and will run for six weeks between June 29 and August 7.

The art camp includes a weekly collection of pre-recorded video lessons with a professional arts educator.  Each activity, which will be 15 minutes or less in order to limit screen time, will also include written instructions.

The camp also includes a camp-in-a-box kit with materials required for activities. A list of materials not included in the kit like scissors or makers will be available on GRACE’s website before the camp begins.

Each kit was prepared by PPE-wearing staff members using items ordered online. Kits can be picked up every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at GRACE by appointment only.

Here’s more from GRACE on the different sessions offered:

My Mom Would Never Let Me Do That!

June 29-July 3 (Ages 5-7)

July 6-July 10 (Ages 8-10)

Explore the possibilities of art with our most popular camp, adapted for our new digital camp model. Using a variety of materials, this session combines scientific exploration and the creative process to create the messiest and silliest of art projects.

FUN-TASTIC Forts!

July 13-17 (Ages 6-10)

In this camp, kids investigate all things 3-D! From blankets to boxes, we cover the basics of building the best forts ever! Campers will spend their days creating new spaces to explore and will walk away with a basic understanding of engineering, and a personalized fort of their own!

Fibers & Friends!

July 20-July 24 (Ages 5-7)

July 27-July 31 (Ages 8-10)

Have you ever wondered how a spider builds its web, how a bird weaves a nest, how your friend made such an AWESOME key chain? Become a wonder-weaver as we explore all things fiber!

Art & Movement

August 3-August 7 (Ages 6-10)

Who says art-making has to be stationary? This camp session focuses on all the ways art can get you moving and features 2-D and 3-D projects, which will utilize movement and art-making in innovative ways.

Registration, which is $220, opened today (Monday). It will close one week before the start of each camp.

Photo via Mariah Hewines/Unsplash

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Although Reston Community Center has canceled its summer camps and outdoor concerts and events in June and July, the center is turning to online options to serve the community.

Here’s more from RCC on the changes:

“This unprecedented public health crisis has upended everyone’s lives,” said RCC Board Chair Bev Cosham. “While we are disappointed not to have camps and the usual summer programming in 2020, we know it is in the best interest of our great community.” 

According to RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon, the agency will be using resources to come up with online options that will showcase popular instructors and counselors. “RCC’s staff is eager to see everyone in person when it is safe to do so,” Gordon notes. “We will be following public health guidance and figuring out how to offer programs with social distancing so we can open our doors to the public again as soon as officials allow it. In the meantime, we will see our community online.”

RCC will offer virtual options to keep children engaged with creative programming. More details on those plans are expected soon.

If publish health regulations allow, some registration-only fitness and aquatics programs may be offered in July and August. So far, the center’s summer events and concerts at Reston Town Center have been indefinitely postponed.

CenterStage’s performance will also film special performances on RCC’s YouTube channel. Some popular performers will also upload performances in June and July.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Reston Association has opted to cancel its traditional summer camps program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refunds will be offered to those who have already paid for summer camp registration, the association announced in a release on Monday.

Reston Camps administrators and RA management made the call as other agencies in Northern Virginia also cancel summer youth programs. Camps would have begun on June 15. Here’s more from RA:

Based on information and guidance from Gov. Ralph Northam, the Centers for Disease Control, recreation experts and local agencies, RA concluded that Reston Camps could not operate in a safe and fun manner this summer. Issues involving the potential for community spread of the virus, along with various state and local restrictions and safety guidelines, were taken into consideration by RA staff, as were opinions expressed in a survey of area parents.

RA is exploring the possibility of youth environment programs in the summer or early fall. The Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, May 21, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on other services and programs.

Photo via Reston Association

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The Reston Community Center officially canceled its traditional summer programming this year, but there might still be hope for kids looking forward to the yearly activities.

Instead of the originally scheduled summer camps, the center might offer amended programs that take into consideration community health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a press release said.

The camps will potentially take place in July if the Reston Community Center is given clearance.

“The new camp schedule will operate under the enhanced social distancing and public health guidelines issued by Fairfax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia for these kinds of experiences,” the press release said. “Because of social distancing guidelines, there will be a maximum of nine campers in each camp.”

The potential schedule will be released sometime in June, and registration will be available online.

All of the new camps will take place at the RCC Hunters Woods and RCC Lake Anne, since other facilities will be closed, the release said.

Families who registered their kids for the original set of summer camps will be given a full refund, according to the release.

Photo via Reston Community Center/Facebook

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Friday Morning Notes

Registration Now Open for Presentation by Master Flutist — experience the history of women in jazz during a lecture and live performance by master flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq at Reston Regional Library. The events takes place on March 3 from 7-8:30 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Leading the World in Data Centers — “Northern Virginia is by far the largest data center market in the world… data centers are centralized locations where computing and networking equipment is concentrated for the purpose of collecting, storing, processing, distributing or allowing access to large amounts of data. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Registration Now Open for Reston Camps — Registration for Camps Reston is now open for all. More information about this year’s offerings is available online. [Reston Association]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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The 7th Annual Camp Expo in Reston will allow families from around the community to preview options for upcoming summer camps and youth sports leagues.

On Saturday (Jan. 25) people are invited to stop by the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) from 9 a.m. until noon to check out programming from more than a dozen featured organizations, according to the event’s Facebook page.

A Reston Camps spokesperson previously told Reston Now that January is a popular time for parents to sign their kids up for summer activities.

During the event, there will also be prizes, snacks, music and games for attendees to enjoy, the Facebook page said.

Featured event exhibitors listed on the Facebook event page include:

Image via Reston Community Center/Facebook

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The Reston Association has decided to rename its camp program and add more options for people hoping to get involved next summer.

Now called Reston Camps, after rebranding from RA Camps, the program decided to institute several new camp opportunities after receiving feedback from kids and parents.

In 2020, the camp will offer new programming including a boating camp, aquatics camp, a young naturalist program and several others along with their traditional programs, according to Laura Kowalski, the director of recreation and environmental education for Reston Camps.

The organization also plans on revamping its lifeguard program.

Kowalski said that camp organizers will look at camp offerings and make changes to programming based on parent feedback, national trends and registration statistics from past years.

Regarding the name change, Kowalski said the organization decided it better suited their mission. “With any company, sometimes you just need to refresh.”

Reston Camps was originally founded in 1974, according to Kowalski and is the oldest camp in the area.

Katherine Caffrey, the camp director, said the program is constantly trying to evolve and suit the wishes and needs of campers.

A while back, Reston Camps instituted a ride service that picks kids up and drops them off at their home or parents’ work. Caffrey said that many parents aren’t aware of the program and encourages people to use it.

One thing that makes Reston Camps unique is its partnership with local scientific organizations, according to the organization’s staff.

“We have a pretty unique relationship with the United States Geological Survey,” Caffrey said.

Reston Camps works with USGS to schedule tours for kids and encourage an appreciation for science.

The new program announcements and registration can be found online. A lot of parents sign up their kids early, around January or February in anticipation for summer programs, Kowalski said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Friends of Reston will hold its annual fundraising campaign for camp scholarships this week.

On Wednesday, June 26, 10 percent of all food and drink purchases made between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Glory Days Grill will go toward scholarships.

The nonprofit organization, which supports Reston Association, raises funds to send students with demonstrated financial need to RA camps this summer.

Glory Days Grill is located at 1400 North Point Village Center.

Over the past 18 years, the organization has launched similar campaigns to raise funds for children seeking to attend summer camps.

Photo via North Point Village Center

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Furloughed federal employees affected by the government shutdown now can pay a reduced cost for summer camp.

The Reston Community Center announced today (Jan. 15) that it will offer special summer camp fee waivers for affected families, allowing them to pay $10-$20 per child per week this summer.

Families can pay $10 per child per week of camp, with some camps planned with half-days. They can also pay an extra $10 for “Zen Zone,” an after-care option for those in less than a full day of camp.

“Reston is home to many people who have been affected by this event,” RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon said in a press release. “We know that discretionary spending for summer activities would be among the first things families would likely cut back on or eliminate in trying economic circumstances.”

Gorden said that she doesn’t want the shutdown — now the longest one in U.S. history — to deprive kids of their summer fun. She added that RCC will offer the fee waivers even if the government employees are called back to work soon.

“The economic impact has already been profound for federal employees,” she said.

Reston Community Center’s summer camps include a variety of half-day and full-day options.

Full-day camps let campers go on daily adventures to museums, water parks and more; create art; or practice theatre for a performance at RCC’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Options for half-day camps include cooking, woodworking, magic, community service, photography, STEM and more.

RCC plans to host the Reston Camp Expo, which will have exhibitors from area nonprofits and Fairfax County government agencies, at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Registration for summer camp begins on Feb. 1 for Restonians and on Feb. 8 for everyone else. Families who live or work in Reston must present their federal government employee identification when registering for 2019 camp sessions.

Photo via the Reston Community Center 

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Friends of Reston has launched an annual fundraising campaign for camp scholarships. The nonprofit organization that supports Reston Association is seeking to raise $12,000 to send at least 22 students with a demonstrated financial need to RA camps this summer.

On July 18 (Wednesday), 20 percent of all frozen yogurt purchases at SweetFrog in North Point Village Center will go toward the camp scholarship fund.

Over the past 17 years, the organization has launched similar campaigns to raise funds for children seeking to attend summer camps.

“Summer is such an important time for children to stay engaged, make new friends, explore their community, learn new skills – camp is the perfect place to do all of that,” said FOR Executive Director, Katie Shaw. “We are thankful for all of the donors who make this possible for children whose families could not afford this experience.”

Thus far, the scholarship fund has received $5,731 from the Realtors of Long and Foster, $750 from Reston Historic Trust’s board of directors and $2,270 from residents of the Paramount Condominiums.

Photo via RA

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Reston Community Center has added some new summer camps to its roster including some on filmmaking, jewelry making, engineering and environmental justice.

The camp, Documentary Filmmaking: Summer Studio for Teens, will be taught by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Rebekah Wingert-Jabi. Wingert-Jabi will teach documentary filmmaking for the four-week full-day camp, targeted for ages 13-16. The camp runs from July 9 through Aug. 3.

Another new offering is a sensory-friendly camp called “We Rock the Spectrum,” a half-day camp for ages 6-11 that encourages strength, sensory processing, movement and positive social interactions through activities that include a zip line, rock wall, trampoline and obstacle course. The camp runs from June 25-29.

The other offerings include “Trendy Jewelry Making” where campers will create up to five pieces in this weeklong session. There will be two sessions one from July 2-6 and the other from July 9-13.

“STEAM I” is a half-day, weeklong introductory engineering camp where campers will create structures such as rollercoasters and catapults as well as Rube Goldberg machines. The camp will be from June 18-22 for ages 8 to 12.

“Green Earth Rangers” teaches campers how to work toward solving environmental issues in Northern Virginia. This full-day camp runs from July 30 through Aug. 3 for ages 11 to 14.

Registration for all camps is open at the community center’s website.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County

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Registration for Greater Reston Art Center’s summer camp is now open. The camp, which is organized in partnership with Reston Association, runs on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake House.

Before and after care is available through RA.

The camp includes a variety of sessions:

  • My Mom Would Never Let Me Do That: Using mixed media, this session combines scientific exploration and the creative process to create “the messiest and silliest” art projects.
  • Fibers & Friends: Kids can become “wonder-weavers” by exploring all things related to fiber like tie dying, friendship bracelets and basketry.
  • Art and Movement: This new session focuses on ways art can encourage movement. Beloved Yoga, a local yoga studio, will help campers “enhance their action art” with daily yoga sessions.
  • Full STEAM Ahead: Campers will solve problems involving kinetic artwork, technology art and more.

Registration is open online

Photo via GRACE

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Monday Morning Notes

Morning Notes - Lake Anne trail sign

Police: Bodies Found in County Park Linked to Gang Activity — Two sets of human remains were located Friday in a park near Falls Church. These are just the latest apparent victims of gang activity in Fairfax County, Police Chief Edwin Roessler said. [WTOP]

Registration for SLHS Summer Sports Camps Underway — Signups are now available for youths looking to participate in summer camps for basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse and volleyball. [South Lakes High School]

Another Round of Metro SafeTrack Work in State — Work on the Blue and Yellow lines in Northern Virginia began over the weekend and will last into April. This is expected to be the final round of the work. County supervisors Sharon Bulova and Cathy Hudgins are urging patience from commuters. [Washington Post]

Feds: Herndon Man Previously Jailed for Bank Robberies Strikes Again — Bruce Wayne Higgins Jr. served four years in prison after robbing banks in D.C. and Arlington in 2009. Now law enforcement says he committed heists at five more banks in December in Baltimore, Ocean City and Atlantic City. [NJ.com]

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YMCA Fairfax County Reston summer camps

The only YMCA in Fairfax County is accepting applications for its more than 50 summer camp options.

Joseph Crawford, YMCA Fairfax County Reston’s executive director, said some residents may be unaware that the cost of the organization’s camps — which can run $180 and up per week, per child — can be covered by scholarship funding.

“We raise all the money locally. Some comes from some companies around here, there’s lot of them in Reston, but the lion’s share of the money donated just comes from families that had positive experiences at YMCAs and they really get it,” Crawford said. “Reston and Fairfax County, specifically, it’s a very philanthropic community, and they have that give-back focus kind of built into their DNA.”

YMCA Fairfax County Reston has about 10,000 members, Crawford said. He said 300 to 400 children and teenagers can be involved in camps at the branch each day during the summer.

“The camps range from age 6 all the way up through teenagers — boys and girls of all ages, a very diverse group,” he said. “We really take a lot of pride in making sure there’s a continuum of care, all the way from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s also high-quality and cost-effective if you have more than one kid, and that’s why we have the scholarship system.”

According to information provided by YMCA Fairfax County Reston, more than $3 million in financial-assistance scholarships have been awarded since the facility opened in 2000.

“Contributions support our Caring for Community scholarship which provides financial assistance for individuals and families who are unable to afford quality childcare, summer camp, membership as well as other programs and services.”

More than $425,000 was awarded in 2016 among over 1,600 scholarships, with 20 percent of those going toward summer camp enrollment.

Crawford said anyone interested in applying for a Caring for Community scholarship should visit the YMCA branch (12196 Sunset Hills Road). Applicants will be asked to supply recent pay stubs (if applicable), tax documents and other financial budget statements.

The director said STEM-based camps such as Lego Robotics are particularly popular, but the YMCA continues to offer more traditional camps as well.

“We have traditional camps, where they can swim, bike and play basketball, that are all right here at the branch,” Crawford said. “A lot of the adventure camps are popular too, where the kids or the teenagers can take local trips around to different museums in the DMV area.”

YMCA is the fifth largest charitable organization in the United States, and Crawford said the scholarship program that helps make camp and memberships possible for many is a large part of what makes it great.

“The membership dues keep the doors open,” he said. “The scholarship money, the money we raise every year, makes sure we’re an inclusive organization so that everybody can come in and out of those doors.”

Registration for YMCA summer camps can be done online or at the branch. For more information about YMCA Fairfax County Reston, visit its website or Facebook page.

Photo via YMCA Fairfax County Reston/Facebook

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