by Kellie Abrahamson
You’ve figured out what you’re doing with the kids during spring break, but that’s nothing more than a dress rehearsal for the mother of all breaks: summer vacation. There’s nothing memorable about a summer zoning out in front of the TV and those three months will seem like an eternity to you if Junior’s whining about being bored all day. Thankfully for both of you, there are plenty of fabulous summer camps on the First Coast perfect for kids of all ages and all interests.
With most schools cutting art classes left and right, little Picassos simply aren’t getting enough practice. Let them try their hands at the medium of their choice at one of our local art camps. The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is hosting Camp Cummer for kids entering 1st through 6th grade and Middle School Camp for older kids. Over at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a variety of classes are available for artists from 4 to 15 year olds. Beaches families will want to head over to the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra to take part in one of their many camps for kids of all ages.
Perhaps your little one is more interested in spending some time in the spotlight? Theatre camps like the Artist Series’ Camp Broadway or Camp Theatre Jacksonville might be just what they need. Both introduce kids to the ins and outs of putting on a show, from set design to opening night. If the kiddos would rather be behind the mic, something like the First Coast School of Music’s Rock Band Camp would probably be more fun. They’ll get to form a band, write a song and record their future hit over the course of one rockin’ week.
Sport camps are another popular option you may also want to look into, but think outside the box to make the summer more interesting. Chill out at Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex, who offer Hockey and Ice Skating Camps for kiddos of all ages and skill levels. EPIC Surf Ministries Summer Camps will have your little dude shooting the curl in no time. Over on the Northside, Paintball Adventures will host a blood-pumping, paint-splattering summer camp for kids ages 10 to 16.
You don’t want the kids to go all summer without learning anything. That’s why some of our area camps are both fun and highly educational. The Museum of Science & History has nine weeks full of programs, each with a focus on a new science or history topic including chemistry, robotics and zoology. The Cummer will combine science and are with Outdoor Adventure Camp, a week of botany, biology and creative expression. Kids can learn about being good environmental stewards at the University of North Florida’s “Coastal Eco-Splorer” Summer Camp. Also at UNF, high school kids can learn to master the scantron at their ACT and SAT Prep courses.
What your kids want to be when they grow up may lead you to the perfect camp for them. Little aspiring chefs will want to head to the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra for Culinary Workshops that will teach them all about kitchen safety, food prep and how to make something yummy. Do you have a mini Indiana Jones? If so, Mandarin Middle School offers a week-long Archeology Camp for 6th through 8th graders. The school also has a Digital Photography Camp for your shutterbug or TV Production Camp for your wanna-be news anchor. Over at the Jacksonville Humane Society budding veterinarians and animal trainers will want to attend Camp Paw Prints, a program that will teach kids how to care for dogs from grooming to tricks.
These are just a mere handful of the wonderful summer options available to your family. If you want to sign your child up for one of the camps mentioned above, head to their website for more information. Because classes are limited sign up today to ensure your child gets a spot.
On the Web
Camp Broadway: www.campbroadway.com
Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra: www.ccpvb.org
EPIC Surf Ministries: www.epicsurfministries.com
First Coast School of Music: www.firstcoastschoolofmusic.com
Jacksonville Humane Society: www.jaxhumane.org
Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex: www.jaxiceandsportsplex.com
Mandarin Middle School: www.mandarinmiddlesummercamps.com
Paintball Adventures: www.paintballadventures.com
Theatre Jacksonville: www.theatrejax.com
LOCAL SUMMER CAMPS
by Kellie Abrahamson