Summer offerings let kids explore the world inside and out
by Danielle Jackson
From sports to drama to science, there’s no shortage of summer camp offerings in Wake County. And in a break from traditional test-heavy school days, these camps offer opportunities for students to learn in an interactive yet relaxed environment.
Here’s a look at where students will be camping out this summer.
Set on 150 rolling wooded acres outside Wake Forest, Camp Kanata offers a variety of activities for campers ages six to 15.
“It’s the perfect place for a child to experience overnight camping close to home,” says Jennifer Nelson, communications director for the YMCA of the Triangle, which owns and operates the camp.
“Within its warm, friendly atmosphere, kids can meet new friends, extend their abilities, and develop greater strength of character and personality.”
With a five-to-one ratio of campers to counselors, all activities — from racing down zip lines to swimming to canoeing — are closely supervised at Camp Kanata, which offers a trainee program for 15- and 16-year-olds in addition to day and weekend mini camps throughout the summer for younger kids.
To learn more, call (919) 556-2661 or visit www.campkanata.org.
Heritage Golf Club
The Heritage Golf Club, located on the grounds of the Heritage residential development in Wake Forest, offers a golf school and tennis camps throughout the summer.
The Heritage Junior Golf School will take place May 16-19, June 20-23, July 18-21, and Aug. 1-4 for boys and girls ages eight to 14. Camps include on-course instruction taught by golf professionals, unlimited practice balls, loaner clubs and lunch daily.
Meanwhile, tennis camps — offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 13-16, June 27-30, July 11-14, Aug. 8-11 and Aug. 22-25 — provide children ages five to 14 with an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game. With instruction provided by RDU Tennis, these camps also include adult beginner and intermediate courses.
For more information on Heritage camps, visit www.playheritagegolf.com or www.rdutennis.net.
N.C. Museum of History
Camps at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh feature a variety of hands-on activities that combine fun with learning.
Through this year’s summer camps, children in kindergarten through second grade can learn about fierce pirates like Blackbeard, experience American Indian life and explore how transportation has changed over the years; those who have completed third through fifth grades can learn what it was like to live during World War II and discover what makes the North Carolina coast so special; and kids who have completed sixth through eighth grades can explore Civil War life in North Carolina and go behind the scenes at the museum.
General registration begins March 1 for summer camps, which offer need-based scholarships. For an application or more information, call (919) 807-7979 or visit www.ncmuseumofhistory.org.
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
Summer camps at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences are designed to enhance children’s understanding and appreciation of nature. For example, at the Prairie Ridge Ecostation — the museum’s outdoor educational facility in west Raleigh — campers using insect nets and binoculars can explore 40 acres of re-created Piedmont prairie as they discover the variety of wildlife and plant life native to the region.
“The museum provides a great learning lab for the study of the natural world. We offer opportunities to see and even touch live animals from North Carolina and beyond,” says Lynn Cross, summer camp director.
To learn more about the museum’s summer camps, call (919) 733-7450 or visit www.naturalsciences.org.
Raleigh Christian Academy
Activities at Raleigh Christian Academy’s summer camp, which is available for currently enrolled students, are centered around various themes, all designed to make for an enjoyable summer break from the classroom.
“A visit to our local fire station and trips to local museums and a petting zoo make for busy yet fun weeks for campers,” says Dwight Ausley, administrator.
“We understand the difficulties many parents have had to endure during the down economy, so every attempt is made to keep camps affordable,” he adds. “In fact, last summer we actually reduced our prices and offered part-time rates for the first time. We also offered family discounts for multiple children.”
Information on camps is provided to parents in mid-March; they also can call the school at (919) 872-2215, ext. 118, or visit www.raleighchristian.com.
The Raleigh School
Summer camps at The Raleigh School, which also are open only to currently enrolled students, offer an array of developmentally appropriate programming to kids in preschool and elementary school. For instance, its Computer Game Camp lets kids employ their creativity and problem-solving skills as they learn the technical aspects of designing something for the computer.
“Camps provide children with an opportunity to explore their interests and talents so that they can learn more about themselves,” says Mary Golden, the school’s elementary director.
“Helping children to develop positive self-esteem and social skills are important to their social and emotional development and will serve them well in later years as they grow and mature.”
Camp information is sent directly to parents each winter. To learn more about the school, visit www.theraleighschool.com.
At Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, summer programs are designed to provide opportunities for both students and those in the Triangle community to nurture their passions in various areas, from academics and arts to athletics.
“Ravenscroft’s summer programs offer experiential learning opportunities for students that allow them to either fine tune their skills or experiment in a new area,” says Sandy Kapatos, director of auxiliary services. “Some students find that their experiences blossom into a lifelong hobby or interest.”
Through the school’s fishing camp, for example, students can learn the basics while exploring a range of water types at various area ponds and lakes. The camp has access to approximately 3,200 contiguous acres of property, with more than 130 acres of open water that includes a 40-acre mill pond and two miles of the Tar River.
“We also offer academic camps that can help students prepare for the upcoming school year,” Kapatos notes.
Full- and half-day camps are available for students in kindergarten through 12th grade on Ravenscroft’s 127-acre campus. For an online summer programs catalog, visit www.ravenscroft.org/summer.
At RightTime KiDS, a drop-in day care facility for younger children that has several locations throughout Wake County, summer camps are based on weekly themes involving various games, crafts and activities. There’s a new camp each week throughout the year that’s based upon the interests of the children who are enrolled.
“Our camps and drop-in services help prepare children for school by offering them an opportunity to separate from their parents in a safe and caring environment,” says Lori Klein, president and CEO. “This helps them to become more confident and independent, which greatly helps when they’re going to school.”
RightTime KiDS camps also teach social skills like sharing, taking turns, working together, interacting with children of other ages and cooperative play. The center is instituting an After-School Invention program focused on further enrichment through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content.
“Above all, it’s really just a fun experience for the kids,” Klein says.
To register or for more information, visit www.righttimekids.com.
Saint Mary’s School
Camps at Saint Mary’s School in downtown Raleigh are offered for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as a way to help them discover their talents, pursue their passions, and achieve their personal best.
“We are dedicated to helping them discover these things in a setting that’s both fun and safe,” says Joy Bradley, director of summer programs. “This single-gender environment creates a safe place for girls to take risks and discover new interests, whether it be in academics, athletics, or the arts.”
The school’s Biology Explorers Camp, for example, offers a week of scientific activities for middle-school girls. Activities include field trips to area scientific points of interest, the use of Saint Mary’s School’s state-of-the-art labs and computer facilities, and conversations with women who have discovered exciting careers in science-related fields.
To learn more about summer offerings, including a full schedule and pricing and registration information, visit www.sms.edu.
St. David’s School
At St. David’s School in Raleigh, various summer camps are offered in the areas of enrichment, athletics and academics.
“Our instructors are well-trained in the areas they oversee and are committed to carrying out the school’s mission of faith, virtue, and knowledge,” says Grady Matthews, director of summer programs. “During camps, kids can sharpen specialized skills in these areas.”
To learn more about registration for summer programs, visit www.sdsw.org/programs.
Trinity Academy of Raleigh
Trinity Academy of Raleigh’s athletic camps offer instruction from experienced coaches committed to motivating and challenging youngsters to reach their full potential while also encouraging teambuilding skills.
“Students are instructed in the skills of the game, but also for the game of life, long after they leave the field or court,” says David Schenk, the school’s athletic director.
Trinity offers two weekly basketball camps, two soccer camps, baseball pitchers and catchers camps, and a cheerleading camp throughout the summer.
For registration information, call (919) 786-0114, ext. 240, or visit www.trinityacademy.com.
Wake County Public School System
As part of Wake County Public School System’s (WCPSS) magnet programs, incoming Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School freshmen can participate in an introduction to the specialized magnet high school experience each summer through the school’s Bulldog Leadership Institute.
During orientation, they’ll get an opportunity to participate in teambuilding exercises and work on group cohesion, risk-taking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
“These skills are required to succeed in the 21st century workforce,” says Mary E. Tanski, senior administrator.
During the camp, students also have a chance to familiarize themselves with the school, as well as the rules and expectations for its Center for Leadership and Technology.
To learn more about the various summer camp offerings available through WCPSS’ magnet programs, visit www.wcpss.net/magnet.
YMCA of the Triangle
YMCA of the Triangle camps are designed for kids to explore personal interests, build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills, discover the creativity and health benefits of the outdoors, and make lasting friendships.
“We take pride in creating a safe, nurturing environment, being positive role models, and building character,” says Jennifer Nelson, communications director.
Half- and full-day camps for children in preschool through high school are packed with a variety of activities, from archery to swimming.
“At the Y, we believe that summer camp is more than summer fun,” Nelson says. “To us, summer camp changes and improves the lives of children.”
Open registration begins April 11 for YMCA camps. To learn more, visit www.ymcatriangle.org.
Danielle Jackson is editor of Wake Living, Fifteen501 and Triad Living magazines.