I can’t believe that I am heading into the third week of my baking camp for kids already. The time has really flown by!! The first two weeks always start with middle schoolers and the last week is all about high schoolers.

This is my 16th summer running this baking course (or camp as I like to refer to it) and I think I have almost as much fun as the kids do.  I have had kids from all over the world this summer. It has been really WILD! I had two kids from China and some kids as far away as Massachusetts and New York City.

I have noticed a trend for the past couple of summers. Kids that come to visit their grandparents from a distance have been signing up for the course as well. Perhaps grandma and grandpa are having trouble entertaining the kids 24/7 and need a little break. It really is a win-win situation for everyone.

Another trend I am seeing– parents taking extreme exercise classes the weeks their kids are in my course. One mom, who shall remain nameless, confided in me that she is participating in an exercise boot camp to help burn off all the extra calories she may have put on while she tasted the baked goods her kids brought home from my camp. Sure, baked goods can put weight on, but eating in moderation certainly helps. Not to mention that all of the goodies that I send home with the kids can always be frozen!

The benefits certainly outweigh the cons. The kids in my camp learn so much! For example, they learn about measuring ingredients properly, lots of baking science that they will see again in science class during the school year, BUT most importantly, they learn how to work together as a team. The world is such a crazy place that I want to teach these kids how to get along, and that EVERYONE deserves respect and kindness.

Not all of the kids in this program want to be chefs when they grow up, but after taking this class they certainly know how to break a recipe down into steps and see it through from start to finish. They, also, become more aware of the role that certain ingredients play in the food they eat. Many of the kids remake the recipes that we made at camp over and over and they become family favorites for years to come!

I must admit that at the end of each week I am tired and need to recoup over the weekend. This is a high energy course not for the meek or the mild. After all, we are performing action verbs like: beating eggs, kneading and slapping yeast doughs, and creaming butter with sugar.

This camp really is like a baking boot camp, even for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail