Parents, you may have second thoughts about spending your day at the lake skiing, boating and gaming without your children. After interviewing Naomi Freidus, the new director of Camp Hyatt Lake Tahoe, I wanted to drop everything and spend a day taking nature hikes, creating crafts and making s’mores over a firepit.
Camp Hyatt Lake Tahoe is a day camp for the children of Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe guests. Children ages 3 to 12 years can attend and the camp can hold up to 15 children who are then divided into groups according to age. There are two sessions per day, one from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and another from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and each session costs $75 per child. There are special prices for more than one child. The children stay on Hyatt property, swim in the year-round heated pool, create Tahoe-oriented crafts and are watched by a CPR-trained staff that has been through background checks and thorough interviews. There is a ratio of five children to one staff member and four children to one staff member during swim time.
Noami said that her goal is to run Camp Hyatt Lake Tahoe as a camp rather than a day care. Each day is a theme day, e.g., nature, sports, being green, patriotism, Hawaiian, or health and sports. Naomi mentioned that she also has a Native American friend who comes to speak to the children about native history of the Tahoe area.
What’s a typical day like at Camp Hyatt at Tahoe?
We start out with a meet and greet and then we talk about the day’s theme. We then do theme activities outside. Then we go swimming in the Hyatt pool followed by lunch. After lunch is a craft activity that follows the day’s theme. The afternoon is usually a non-competitive and team oriented game outside like Capture the Flag or an obstacle course. We also make sure to give the kids free time to read or just talk.
What makes Camp Hyatt at Tahoe unique?
Really, just the physical beauty of the place. We have the lake, the beach, the mountains. We can be more nature and outside oriented and the children can use their senses and creativity. We can also do our activities year round. That’s really special.
What’s your favorite activity?
I like a simple nature hike. We have a stream near the hotel that runs from the mountains into the lake and the children can learn about that and the animals that live in the stream…like the crayfish. Also, have you seen the size of the pine cones around here? Kids get excited over the simplest things.
What do you do in winter?
The snow doesn’t stop us! In winter the children snowshoe, sled, and make s’mores. We have a firepit that we use all year long. Indoor activities include dress-up, cooking classes and children’s movies. We have an arcade and video games, but we try to do those less often.
What are the children’s reactions to the camp?
I don’t know how many times I hear the children say “Can I stay five more minutes?” to their parents when their session is over with. Our staff are all young, in their 20s, so the children relate well to them and the counselors have a real respect for each child. We also get really great kids. They are naturally inquisitive and ask great questions.
Thanks Naomi. Is there anything else you want to add?
“I love this job!”