Karate and Self-Defense Summer Camps at Culture of Safety

In addition to ongoing karate classes for kids and adults and No-School Day camps for public holidays and other days when Chicago Public Schools is closed, Culture of Safety offers Spring Break Day Camps and Summer Camps! Your child will grow more confident and learn discipline, focus, agility, balance, and more in our special Self-Defense and Karate camps! We specialize in supporting LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent youth. No experience is required for any of our camps. Students with prior experience will be supported in exploring more advanced material in sessions. Our Summer Camp sessions are are timed to fill the gaps between Chicago Public Schools summer break and Chicago Park District Camps.  Register Today!

Summer Camp Schedule & Rates for 2024 (per session)

Standard: $350/ Supporter: $450/ Reduced $250 (cost per child per 1 week session)

Open to ages 6-16. Teens aged 12-16 who attend will be treated as Junior counselors and mentored in leadership opportunities.

Each camp session runs for 1 week, Monday through Friday, 9am -3pm. Drop off starts 8:45. Late pick-up available through 4:15pm for additional fee.

Our camps are offered on a Sliding scale or Tiered pricing system. We have three tiers: Standard, Supporter, and Reduced. We ask that you choose the highest tier that works for your household. Pricing is based on a full week’s session. Because each Camp session is organized around a theme and we teach skills that build over the week, we don’t allow drop-ins.  All prices include snacks and all materials or supplies needed for the camp session, but do not include lunch. A hot lunch is available through our partner Urban Tables for an additional fee of $8 per lunch.

We hope to open registration to those for whom even the Reduced Tier is financially inaccessible starting in May 2024.

All of our classes and camps are trans-affirming, trauma-informed, neurodivergent-friendly, and empowerment-focused. We teach from a strengths-based perspective. Camps are lead by Led by 4th degree black belt and social worker Sensei Amy LE Jones (she/her) and 3d degree black belt and mindfulness/meditation expert Senpai Kyren Epperson (they/them). Learn more about Senpai Kyren & Sensei Amy.

Session Themes for 2024


Empowerment Camp

Our kids’ empowerment classes are active and fun – our classes help young people respond to bullying behavior, teach them how to get help from safe adults, and give them skills to protect themselves and get to safety in an emergency situation. Our classes are highly interactive. To practice verbal skills, kids will practice role plays, comes up with skits, and more We teach kids how to stand up for themselves and others and how to get help from trusted adults. We help each kid find ways to feel more strong and confident. We work to support kids who struggle with emotional regulation learn to keep themselves safe and respect the boundaries of others.

Each day, we’ll explore new fun and useful physical skills: such as running away and strikes and kicks. We’ll also explore verbal skills, such as standing up for themselves and others, managing conflict with their peers, and  practice emotional regulation strategies, such as age-appropriate mindfulness and meditation exercises. Led by 4th degree black belt and social worker Amy LE Jones, LSW and 3rd degree black belt and  mindfulness/meditation expert Kyren Epperson. Register now!


Ninja Turtle Movement Basics 

Does your kid make homemade “swords” out of paper towel rolls or whatever they find in the house?  Do you find them tumbling around your living room? Is your kid’s favorite Ninja Turtle Donatello or Michelangelo? In this special camp, your child will explore ninja-themed karate movement basics such as falling and rolling and explore safe rubberized versions of traditional Okinawan weapons nunchaku (popularized by Donatello) and bo staff (popularized by Michelangelo). We will teach basic karate footwork and agility challenges, including jumping, running, ducking, and rolling as well as basic techniques with nunchucks and bo staff.

Each day, we will build on techniques and skills from the previous day and create a group kata (form).

On the final day, we will have a final performance which will be videoed for families to enjoy later. Each kid will have the opportunity to perform techniques or a form in either individual or group performances. Kids aged 12+ will be allowed to use the wooden bo staff
(instead of rubberized foam).  In addition to the video of the group performance, at the end of the camp,  each kid will be allowed to take home a pair of foam nunchaku as a camp souvenir. For an extra $20, they can instead take home a foam bo staff). Led by 4th degree black belt and social worker Amy LE Jones, LSW and 3rd degree black belt and mindfulness/meditation expert Kyren Epperson. Register now!



Karate Basics and Board Breaking  

In this session, we will teach the basic techniques of karate (or refine techniques for kids with prior experience). Our focus for this camp will be helping each child find the balance of the physical skills and mental and emotional skills they need to feel confident safely breaking a wooden board. We know that physical skills, such as power, agility, and coordination are important for all sports and active movement. We also know that mental and emotional skills, such as focusing the mind and regulating the emotions are equally important.

Every morning session will focus on physical skills practice. We will teach and give age-appropriate feedback on common karate strikes and kicks. In the afternoon, we will focus on more of the mental and emotional skills needed for board breaking (and for success in life!). Afternoon sessions will include age-appropriate meditation and mindfulness exercises, emotional regulation exercises, and more. Kids will learn healthy ways of responding when the board doesn’t break, which is a powerful metaphor for life not going the way we wat it to! Kids will also practice supporting and encouraging each other.  At the end of each day, students will practice with a re-breakable (plastic) board.

On the final day of the camp, all students will receive one-on-one coaching until they break at least 2 boards. We will take video of all breaks to send to families. Kids will then have the opportunity to decorate their broken boards (paint, markers, colored pencils) and will bring home a colorful souvenir of their empowering week! Led by 4th degree black belt and social worker Amy LE Jones, LSW and 3rd degree black belt and  mindfulness/meditation expert Kyren Epperson.

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Cancellation, No-Show, and Refund Policy

Refunds are available if you contact us at least 2 weeks in advance of the session.  After this time, refunds are not available; however, we are happy to transfer your registration to a future session.