Riviera Prep’s Stellar Summer Camp Experience


School is out for summer and if you’re looking for a forward-thinking, fun camp for your kids, look no further than Riviera Preparatory School’s Day Camp for grades 3-10. Without question, this is a world-class program right here in South Florida.

The brainchild of Camp Director Courtney Young, the camp is run differently than any other. Many South Floridians know of Young’s work at Beth Am Basketball, Court’s 1-on-1 Sports and various other youth activity endeavors. “We believe success is about relationships, about love and kindness and about your attitude in everyday life,” says Young. “The camp instills these values to our kids in everything we do.”

When you take the inventive energy of Young and mix it with the Cohen family, who have owned the Riviera Schools since 1972, you get a powerful mix.

“When we opened our new campus two years ago and expanded our camping program, Courtney Young was a perfect fit for us,” gushed Associate Director Peter Cohen. “Our family has been in the youth business for about 50 years and what he is doing is remarkable and groundbreaking.”

There is no doubt when you see camp in action. Courtney has rules, which he explains to the entire camp each Monday as new kids arrive. You must be nice. You must not speak negatively (about yourself or others) and if something go wrong in your day, remember to use the ricochet method (let it bounce off you) and make sure to talk to one of the counselors so they can help you make things right.

Speaking of counselors, Courtney Young hand-selects each one of them and maintains about a 1-to-6 ratio to his campers. This allows for activity specialists and 100% coverage of ‘his children.’ The staff never scolds campers and if something is amiss, the ever-present Young will quickly show how the counselors could have handled it better. “The kids are never at fault for having fun and expressing themselves,” Young reminds them. I tell my staff this is the 2nd hardest job in the world. The first is being a parent.

Soccer Director Alex Sanchez, who closed down his own lucrative soccer camp this summer for the chance to do something with Young, explained, “Courtney and I agree on using sports and socializing to teach children life lessons, so it was an automatic hit. I enrolled my son here because he can still get immersed in sports but now has the environment to make friends and do other things. So far, he loves it here.”

Unlike most other camp schedules, the kids at Riviera have choice. Much like a college campus, each day campers freely decide on their major activity and which electives they want to try out. “We care about safety. Sports camps can actually be dangerous because too much repeated motion is bad for young bodies,” explains Young. “Here, we make sure to allow them to focus on what they love and take healthy breaks.”

The variety at the camp is amazing. Soccer, dance, basketball, volleyball, art, swimming, performance art, football, robotics and even a Courtney Young-invented game he calls speed kickball...each staffed by true professionals. While I was on campus, I was amazed how well everything ran. If a kid wanted to sit out for a while, there was a counselor there to sit with them. If someone needed one-on-one instruction, it was provided on-demand.

I found 12-year old camper Jared Lennon in the art room. “I like playing dodgeball, basketball, soccer sometimes, but with my allergies I love that Courtney’s camp lets me not worry and I get to have a normal day. I always feel safe here.”

Young follows the philosophy of 10% is what happens to you in life and 90% is how you deal with it. His art is how he teaches this to both the kids and his staff without them feeling like they are getting an education.

It’s not too late to take advantage. The Riviera Preparatory Camp still has openings. Young says he’d even find a way to take in new campers the day they arrive if it will make a kid’s summer. Call 786-300-0300 to find out more or visit their website.