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Camps Guide: Find the Best Summer Camp

During the ‘70s, South African-born Julian Krinsky came to Pennsylvania and began to teach tennis part-time to neighborhood kids. Soon aspiring tennis players were traveling from far and wide just for a lesson. Kids were camping out in bunk beds and tents at the Krinsky residence, and that was when the idea for Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs was born.

In 1978 the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis was founded, and over the years, it expanded into over 20 programs spread out at Greater Philadelphia’s top universities. The camps offer tennis, golf, yoga and Pilates, architecture classes at the University of Pennsylvania, a film program, fashion design and business leadership classes at the Wharton School, as well as internships in Philadelphia and Model U.N.

“Today’s savvy teens want to spend summers in a productive way,” said Tina Krinsky, Julian’s wife. And that is exactly what is to be found there. Campers engage in mind expanding activities geared toward a career or a sport to gain some edge to get into Princeton and other Ivy League schools.

Kids from 35 states and 30 countries flock to Julian Krinsky programs because they are so effective. All programs feature state-of-the-art facilities, including gyms with top-of-the-line training equipment, the latest technologies including plasma TVs and computer labs, and luxury accommodations in the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton dormitories.

The programs are developed by kids for kids. During each session, campers are asked to fill out questionnaires over café lattes describing what programs they would like added and how existing programs can be improved. After the sessions, Julian and Tina Krinsky meet with the staff and brainstorm how the operation is to be improved.

One popular summer option for health-conscious teens is the Canyon Ranch program, a branch of the No. 1 adult health resort in the country. It teaches proper nutrition, exercise and mind/body/spirit sense. After a healthy breakfast, campers choose health-oriented workshops and activities such as yoga and Pilates classes taught by specialists flown in from Canyon Ranch in Arizona. Throughout the day, campers are given the healthiest option for meals and health-enhancing activities. Each teen can choose how long he or she wants to stay, with sessions ranging from one to eight weeks.

After the program ends, the camper takes what he or she has learned and shares it with family and friends. Teens become more aware of the food served in their high school cafeteria and demand healthier choices. Canyon Ranch instills healthy habits for life, which teens are likely to pass on to their children in the future.

All kinds of sports are featured in Julian Krinsky’s unique programs. Golf is taught at the golf camp by PGA and EGTP qualified professionals, and students get opportunities to show off their skills in weekly competitions held on Philadelphia’s most prominent golf courses.

Teens can learn to play tennis from certified tennis instructors at the Tennis Camp at Haverford and Cabrini colleges. Students get at least five hours of personalized instruction a day and take advantage of such technologies as Video Tennis Analysis.

The Super Sports Day Camp at the Shipley School provides instruction in baseball, softball, squash, volleyball, swimming, inline skating and skateboarding, among other options. The JK Extreme Day Camp at Shipley School offers specialized courses in skateboarding and inline skating for kids ages 7-14.

Youngsters can experience what it’s like to go away to college at one of Julian Krinsky’s pre-college programs, which offer dorm living on campuses including the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Haverford and Cabrini. The Model U.N. program at Penn offers high school students interested in international politics a chance to participate in debates and listen to guest speakers, including foreign dignitaries and delegates of international embassies.

The internship program lets teen get a feel for the real world with work experience in their chosen field. Internships are offered in a variety of fields in businesses all around Philadelphia, ranging from architecture to veterinary medicine. The architecture program gives high schoolers a chance to take classes at Penn with renowned professionals.

The enrichment program offers classes in cooking, SAT prep, business and many other areas. The WHYY Film Production Academy puts aspiring filmmakers to work with award winning film and broadcasting professionals at this public broadcasting station in Philadelphia.

Simon Solis-Cohen, 16, a junior at Friends Select School in Philadelphia and a veteran participant in the enrichment cooking classes, found his life’s calling with Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs. The program helped him start a part-time job with chef Marc Vetri of the prestigious Osteria restaurant in Philadelphia.

“Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs built a foundation for me that showed me what I want to do with my life,” he said, “Without it I would not have been doing this.”

Source: New York Resident Magazine Special Camps Issue - February 26, 2008