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Play, Learn, Grow!

Children Build Life-Long Skills and Friendships at Raritan Valley Country Club’s Camp Raritan Valley and Youth Programs

Summertime—the days are long and the possibilities are endless. With good times to be had, kids can also achieve personal growth in the process of play. For the past 12 years, Raritan Valley Country Club (RVCC) has partnered with KE Camps, which directs more than 200 camps at clubs nationwide, to present summer day camps that help kids build confidence, develop leadership skills, gain self-awareness and create lasting friendships. 

Camp Raritan Valley, which is open to RVCC members and their guests, runs for six weeks and offers an array of activities for children ages 4 to 12. The days begin with Hello Camp, where campers and staff get to know each other, review the day’s schedule and sing a special camp song. The days end with Goodbye Camp, a time for wrap-up activities and reflections. The camp features theme days, including Wacky Wednesdays and Friday Fundays that turn things upside down and Thankful Thursdays that provide opportunities for giving back like packing lunches for Meals on Wheels. During the rest of the day, the counselors plan activities that get kids moving and interacting with others: Golf and tennis (two recreational group lessons weekly for each), swimming, arts and crafts, group games, fun with foods, science projects, STEM challenges and special events.

“The camp gives kids a chance to be outside as part of an organized activity in a familiar environment, making social connections, establishing friendships and trying new things that they may want to continue after camp,” says Jennifer Panaia, Membership and Club Communications Director. 

The country club also offers a variety of youth programs, including a junior golf program, a competitive swim team and junior racquets programs.

Golf involves a lot of walking, which allows kids to breathe in the fresh air and establish healthy habits while socializing and having fun. Golf also teaches children self-confidence and sportsmanship, helps them work with numbers and gives them experience mastering problem-solving skills. In golf, players gain experience analyzing what they did well and where they can improve and accepting critiques from others. “Children can learn from mistakes to improve their skill in a supportive environment — lessons they can take with them into their daily lives,” says Damien Hamlett, Head Golf Professional at RVCC. 

RVCC Junior Golf Clinics are offered from May through September for children of social members and both children and grandchildren of golf members ages 7 to 17. “The program consists of coaching, playing and training programs and is designed to teach these young golfers to play the game from a hole-out perspective: Players will start play from 25 yards out and will move back to farther yardages as they are able to maintain a par average per the number of holes played,” Hamlett says. “Our program teaches junior golfers proper etiquette for the game.” More competitive young golfers also have the opportunity to participate in PGA Jr. League program as part of Team Raritan Valley.

Kids love to swim, but they can get extra benefits from this low-impact activity that boosts mind, body and spirit if they join a swim team. Participating in a competitive group helps children learn teamwork, improves concentration, instills confidence and teaches self-motivation. Plus, it can improve brain function: A groundbreaking study by Griffith University in Australia found that competitive swimmers are more academically advanced than their peers. 

RVCC’s Patriots Swim Team is open to all children and grandchildren of RVCC members who are 18 and under. Children of all levels and experience are welcome. “No prior training is necessary. Our mission is to provide a competitive swimming program that teaches the principle of teamwork and good sportsmanship, promotes a love for the sport and advances aquatic skills,” Panaia says. 

Last year, the 54-member Raritan Valley Swim Team had an incredible season, going undefeated in seven dual meets against teams from the New Jersey Swimming and Diving Conference. 

In addition to providing exercise, racquet sports sharpen coordination, eyesight and motor skills in kids. RVCC’s Junior Racquets Programs include different options for group instruction based on a child’s age and skill level. Sunday Junior Racquets Clinics are offered throughout the season and include tennis and pickleball instruction. The Summer Junior Racquets Programs start in late June with tennis practice, match play and Junior Clinics for tennis and pickleball throughout the week.

Beyond the summer programs, RVCC has a roster of fun family activities. “Summer is when we have our biggest events of the year, starting with our Independence Celebration on July 2, with fireworks, food, DJ, inflatables and children’s activities,” says Panaia. “At summer’s end, we have a back-to-school pool party in August for the kids and a Labor Day picnic with food, entertainment and games.”

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Participating in a competitive group helps children learn teamwork, improves concentration, instills confidence and teaches self-motivation.

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