A video game day camp in Spokane Valley offers fun, friendship and entertainment during the Christmas break

Spokane Valley’s Sullivan Square Mall is home to the Elite Gaming Center, where adults and kids alike go to play video games and table sports like air hockey and ping pong. Along with its regular hours, the facility hosts birthday parties, corporate events, and even offers a weekly day camp for summer and winter break.

While a day camp offering video games as a primary activity may sound antithetical to what camps typically strive to achieve, co-owners Daniel and Michelle Michalski believe the shared environment is the defining characteristic of Elite Gaming Center.

“Even though we play video games half the day, we also have a large outdoor space with ping pong, air hockey, juggler, corn hole, chess, checkers and even a Nerf arena,” Daniel said. “Kids are kids – they’re just as excited to play these games on the field as they are to play video games.”

The Elite Gaming Center features 30 computers, nine game consoles and five VR headsets, as well as a Nerf arena and stage, perfect for presenting and hosting tournaments, which is done no less than once a week when the Eastern Washington Super Smash Bros Alliance holds their tournaments there every Sunday.

While most tournaments feature fighting games, the most popular titles overall at the facility are Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, Halo, Counter-Strike, Fall Guys and Apex Legends – a good mix of co-op and competitive games with a strong emphasis on multiplayer and camaraderie that naturally flows from it.

Opening its doors for the first time in April 2022, Elite Gaming Center is owned and operated by Daniel and Michelle, who are parents to two boys aged 10 and 12.

“We brought a lot of our parenting to this business,” Daniel said. “So many parents these days just don’t get a break. You can bring your child and drop them off or come as a family.

Affordability and affordability are a major focus for the Elite Gaming Center, and its summer and winter day camps have been part of Daniel and Michelle’s plan from the beginning.

“Day camps have always been extremely expensive, so the idea was to create a safe place that was affordable compared to other private day camps,” Daniel said.

“Kids can have a good time and build relationships with other kids. We are giving back to the community to bring something that we know can help parents in Spokane and Spokane Valley,” he added.

The friendships formed also create regular customers, Michelle said.

“Often the first people in the door are previous campers who have already built relationships with each other,” she said.

Above all, Michelle said she is most proud of the community they have built.

Their own children have played a key role in inspiring and guiding the company. Daniel’s proudest achievement is “being able to have my kids see us running a business, being successful and making a difference in other people’s lives.”

Located on the corner of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road, adjacent to the Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park, Michelle calls the Elite Gaming Center’s location “really lucky.” Foot traffic is minimal because, according to Daniel, “Spokane Valley is a suburb that has suburbs,” but family presence and word of mouth are strong—perfect for a family- and kid-friendly business.

Elite Gaming Center offers summer and winter day camps during the relevant school holidays, available to children aged 7-15. On these days, the facility opens early at 8 a.m. and camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Right now the capacity is 15 kids every week,” Daniel said. “But that may change in the future as we add more advisors.”

Daniel said both camps last summer and the one before that were “full every day,” while the winter camp has more spots available.

“Last year we only had about five kids each week. There is more chance for parents to take time off than in the summer,” Daniel said. “But I also know parents who can’t, and we are there for them. We are one of the few winter camps I know of in the area.”

Elite Gaming Winter Day Camp 2023 takes place from December 18-29. Week 1 costs $250, while Week 2 is prorated at $200 due to the facility being closed on Christmas Day.

“Even though we’re a video game camp, there’s a lot more that goes on,” Daniel said. “If nothing else, it’s about making lifelong friends.”

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