Photo courtesy of Camp Hanover
Camp Hanover was named Best Overnight Camp for Kids
Best Child-Related Nonprofit
103 E. Grace St., 257-7226
Founded in 1991, Greater Richmond SCAN (for Stop Child Abuse Now) works to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect through training and advocacy. “We are grateful for this honor,” says Jeanine Harper, executive director. “It’s a recognition that shows how important the safety and well-being of children is to our community.”
2. Art 180
Best Mommy and Me Classes
Romp ‘n’ Roll
9677 W. Broad St., 249-5001; 11541 Busy St., 893-3142; 6300 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite E, 730-2060
“Our most popular class is the combination class that mixes gym and art into a parent-inclusive, one-hour session,” says Heather Jensen, marketing coordinator for the Midlothian, West End and Mechanicsville locations. Available for different age ranges, the class even includes a Bubble Dance Party. Count us in.
2. Music Together
3. All Fired Up
Most Inspiring Local Kids
Marty Cobb and Cameron Gallagher
Eight-year-old Martin (Marty) Cobb’s bravery in trying to protect his big sister from an attacker near their South Richmond home in early May cost him his life, but his actions won him admiration from untold numbers who heard his story, which was picked up by media outlets as far away as London. Then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor described him in an address to Congress as “a bigger man than most men ever dream to be.” Our readers also recognized Cameron Gallagher, a 16-year-old sophomore at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County who collapsed in March after finishing the Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach and died soon afterward. Her comment to her best friend and running partner at mile 12, “Let’s finish this,” has become a call to action for her family and friends, who are committed to carrying out Cameron’s plan for a 5K race to raise awareness about mental health challenges and encourage people to be kind. (The race is set for Sept. 6. For more information, visit speakup5K.com.)
Best Place to Take Kids for a Day in The Summer
1700 Hampton St., 358-7166
Over the years, Maymont has become a tradition for families, especially when the weather warms up. “Parents who visited as children bring their own children to re-create the experiences they once had,” says Norman Burns, Maymont’s executive director.
2. Kings Dominion
3. Tie: Children’s Museum of Richmond; Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Best Consignment Shop for Kids’ Clothes
3024 W. Cary St., 355-3517
One of three boutique consignment shops co-owned by Lyn Page and Jane Crooks, 4-year-old Clover offers carefully selected, gently used fashions for children (as well as maternity clothes). “You can find items for as low as $6, but we make no bones about it — we’re not a thrift shop, which means you’ll also find beautiful smocked clothes for up to $48 or a Brooks Brothers blazer for $98,” Page says. Consigners receive 40 percent of the sale price, and any items not accepted by Clover are donated to families in need.
2. Once Upon a Child
3. Kid to Kid
Best Kids’ Shoe Department
Short Pump Town Center, 285-3473
When Saxon Shoes opened in 1953, the store concentrated on children’s orthopedic footwear. Company president Gary Weiner recalls that his father visited pediatricians’ offices while his mother answered the phone. These days, “we do more business before lunch on Saturday than my parents did their first year,” he says. While Saxon carries shoes for all ages, the children’s department is still a big part of the business. “We take a lot of time and effort to fit every child who comes in,” Weiner says.
3. Stride Rite
Best Children's Clothing Shop
Buttons & Bows
1517 N. Parham Road, 285-0482
Whether it’s a first Communion dress or a pair of sturdy boys’ boots, this shop near Regency Square is the upscale kids’ costumer of choice. “The store has been a Richmond staple for 27 years,” says Amanda Ayers, who, with Ann Palmore, bought Buttons & Bows earlier this year. “We want to keep that tradition going.”
2. Tie: Clover; Milby’s Just Kids
Best Summer Day Camp for Kids
Passages Adventure Camp
11421 Polo Circle, 897-6800
“We hire past campers who have experienced our program and who understand the amount of sensitivity and fun that we look for in a staff member,” says Kevin Tobin, owner of Passages Adventure Camp. Activities include zip lines, rock climbing on Belle Isle, kayaking on the James River and mountain biking.
2. YMCA Camp Thunderbird
3. Tie: ACAC; YMCA camps in general
Best Overnight Camp for Kids
3163 Parsleys Mill Road, 779 2811
At Camp Hanover, the campers choose each day’s itinerary. “This small group model builds bonds so that kids can choose what they do while getting to know their counselors and each other. We also weave a theme of Christianity throughout each day as well,” says Doug Walters, Camp Hanover’s executive director.
2. 4-H Camp
3. Westview on the James
Most Diverse Restaurant Kiddie Menu
11500 Midlothian Turnpike, 378-0898; 10067 Brook Road, 261-2222; or 11784 W. Broad St., 364-6375
The children’s fare offered by this family restaurant chain is what you’ll find on most menus — mini-burger, corn dog, macaroni and cheese, chicken on a stick, etc. — but the nutritious sides (baby carrots, mandarin oranges, steamed broccoli and fruit salad) are what make parents happy.
2. Silver Diner
3. Tie: Baker’s Crust; Jason’s Deli
Best Place That Combines Education and Fun for Kids
Children's Museum of Richmond
2626 W. Broad St., 6629 Lake Harbour Drive, or 2200 Old Brick Road, 474-7000
Now with three locations across the metro area, this educational house of fun, which opened in 1981, is more popular than ever with kids and their parents. “We’ve greatly expanded our reach throughout the community,” says President/CEO Karen Coltrane. The mission stays the same, she adds. “Children learn through play.”
2. Science Museum of Virginia
Best Kid-Friendly Event
Richmond Folk Festival
788-6466 or richmondfolkfestival.org
The Genworth Financial Family Area of Richmond’s free annual multicultural spectacle can be a dangerous place for parents. With so many activities (wacky hat construction, mass noise-making, puppet shows, mini-parades), and engaging musical offerings from JAMInc., little Sally or Timmy may never let them get away to the rest of the fest.
2. Richmond Flying Squirrels games
3. Watermelon Festival
Best Child Care Program
1600 Westbrook Ave, 264-6000
“High standards” is how Lisa Williams, the director of Westminster’s Child Development Center, explains the retirement community’s winning nod. Split 50/50 between children of staff members and community kids, Westminster’s child-care program boasts, among other things, a 335-seat theater and a nature trail.
2. Rainbow Station
3. Tie: The Goddard School; Primrose
Best Playground or Park for Kids
1700 Hampton St., 358-7166
“Just spending time outside, unplugged from electronic gadgets, is so valuable and important for today’s youth,” says Norman Burns, Maymont’s executive director. At Maymont, he says, “you can also choose more interactive and educational activities, from visiting the wildlife and touring the mansion to weeklong summer camps, special events and family programs.”
2. Deep Run Park
3. Mary Munford playground
Place that Offers the Best Classes for Kids
Visual Arts Center of Richmond
1812 W. Main St., 353-0094
Dean Whitbeck, director of youth education, says that the Visual Arts Center’s artist educators elevate the conversation around youth arts, recognizing that the creative process is just as important as the art that results. They also understand “the importance of working collaboratively with the Richmond arts community — to meet kids where they are, there has to be a cross-pollination of the arts.”
2. Spirited Art
3. Tie: VMFA; YMCA
Best Tutors for SATs
Tie: College Nannies and Tutors; Sylvan; “The SAT Lady”
collegenanniesandtutors.com/glenallenva/; sylvanlearning.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Carmen James of College Nannies and Tutors says, “Our program is flexible; students pay as they go.” At Sylvan, owner Steve Green says, “Students are set up for two months before their test day to keep information fresh in their minds. We want them to follow a routine until test day.” The SAT Lady, whose ad on Craiglist does not reveal her name, charges by the hour for tutoring, usually at a public library, on whatever SAT sections clients choose. “She did a great job boosting my daughter’s confidence and working around our busy schedule,” says Ann Farrar, a Henrico County resident who found out about the tutor by word of mouth.