It may seem early, but summer camps are already starting to fill up. To break the mold of the traditional summer camp, News 2 is showcasing some out-of-the-box ideas located in Charleston that are both fun and educational.
Ages 7-12, $150/week (half day)
Owner of Charleston Robotics, Lauren Rice, says, “We teach them a set of directions and then they use their creativity to build the attachments that go on the front.”
They use Lego brand building materials and the instructions are much like the Lego kits kids already have at home.
Rice says, “There’s a big push in the district right now at the elementary level for STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and getting kids started early with their interest in STEM.”
After the robots are built, in order to move they need some computer engineering.
Rice says, “The software is a drag and drop program. So once they learn what the pictures of the program and the software look like, like what image represents a motor? They’re able to drag it up into their software and go from there.”
She adds, “We have fun. Come build with Legos, learn how to work with a partner and be part of a team, but learn to be creative and think outside the box and think on your own.”
The most popular camp is called “Robot Battle Rampage”. Campers will learn how to program robots to battle each other, and have a competition at the end of the week. To sign up, click here.
Pastry Camp at Trident Technical College
Ages 7-17, $194/week (half day classes)
It’s a camp that’s a little sweeter than the rest. Kids as young as seven will work in a commercial kitchen.
Baking Pastry Coordinator Bernd Gronert says, “It’s just mind blowing for them. They may have seen something on TV, but now they can really get their hands in there. And we let them do everything, it’s not that we demonstrate it, we really let them go and put their hands in everything.”
Learning how to bake everything from cakes to macaroons.
Gronert says, “It’s a little bit difficult here and there because some of them can’t even look over the table, so we give them some stools and it’s fun. It’s always fun.”
Families are in for some wonderful homework.
Gronert says, “They are proud of what they make and they can take it home and actually show it to their siblings and to their parents.”
The kids will also get a little math practice with measurements and conversions. If having your own baker wasn’t enough, the cherry on top is the clean up skills they will bring home.
Gronert says, “The seven and eight-year-olds are actually very funny. They love to do dishes, the more dishes the better. They fight over who can do the dishes. Every little bit excites them already.”
There are also classes for savory foods, and the campers will bring home a full meal at the end of each day. Trident Tech offers many other camp options outside of the culinary school. For a full list and registration information, click here.
Patriots Point Flight Academy
Ages 10-14, $245/week ($215 for Mt. Pleasant residents)
In the Flight Academy, kids pretend they are in the military aboard the USS Yorktown and have to defend the ship from enemies.
Overnight Camping Coordinator Sarah Edmiston says, “There are enemy targets that will invade the area and you will want to protect your fellow man”.
They learn how to do every job.
Edmiston says, “They get to be Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, and Information Specialist and they have a great time working on teamwork, leadership, math skills, graphing”.
Then they put the skills to the test in a simulator, tracking down the enemy and firing missiles.
But it doesn’t stop at aircrafts, space travel has a special tie to the Yorktown. The ship retrieved the Apollo 8 capsule from the ocean after it completed the first manned orbit of the moon. So, campers will also blast off.
Edmiston says, “They get to wear these Oculus VR goggles from Samsung and we send them through the solar system learning about the planets”.
Then, they get the controls in hand and learn to fly a drone.
Edmiston says, “The kids get to design an obstacle course and they get to fly drones through that course.”
While history, math, science, and critical thinking are all mixed in, the basis of the camp is teamwork.
Edmiston says, “Whether it’s encouraging someone to get a drone through that course, or shooting down an enemy target in the flight academy, they really focus on teamwork.”
Kids will also have a chance to tour the other exhibits like the USS Clamagore, USS Laffey, and Vietnam Memorial.
Patriots Point says this camp is usually at capacity by late March/early April. To register, click here.
Charleston Animal Society Vet Camp
Ages 8-17, $350/week
Charleson Animal Society Senior Director of Humane Education, De Daltorio, says, “Our vet camps are very hands on and they are very academic”
In the Advanced Vet Camp, teens will learn all aspects of animal care, from giving injections, to reading X-rays, to watching surgery.
Daltorio says, “They will watch a spay/neuter surgery, sometimes we take some of the body parts back and we will dissect them”
It’s a great first step for any high school students considering a career in medicine.
Daltorio says, “We even have some children who are not into animals but are into human medicine, so they will come and learn some hands-on techniques and science.”
Watching a surgery means having a strong stomach, and even if the kids think that’s a little too much to handle there are still many other activities.
Daltorio says, “We always have alternatives, in our spay and neuter clinic we have where they are recovering, where they are prepping, so they can watch a lot of things in addition to watching the spay and neuter. If they don’t feel comfortable they can come out at any time.”
They also work with live and conscious animals, giving them checkups and learning about behavior.
Daltorio says, “We have a professional dog trainer and she goes over how to train the dogs.”
The biggest challenge, is leaving camp without an extra family member.
Daltorio says, “Once they see how many animals we have, they want to take the animals home.”
There are also camps available for kids who are not interested in medicine. There is an Art and Animals Camp, and Pet Partners Camp where kids will pick an animal, train it, and work to help it get adopted. To sign up for any Charleston Animal Society Camps, click here.
Ages 8-14, $285/week
Owner of Famous Adventures, Kyndra Luce, says, “A lot people say, ‘Where are you located?’ And I say ‘Well, in the outdoors’.”
Kids will hop in a kayak or strap into a harness with a new adventure every day.
Luce says, “My passion is getting kids outside and doing fun things and also teaching them what they’re capable of.”
No experience is necessary, all that’s needed is a little bit of courage to try something new.
Luce says, “We go kayaking we go surfing, we go to the climbing wall, we do all kinds of things that are the hook to get them in.”
There’s something to learn everywhere, in the middle of a Lowcountry marsh or high up in the air at Wild Blue Ropes.
Luce says, “Each of the things that we do, for instance, when they go kayaking they learn about birds, they learn about the ecology of the marshes which are very important to being in Charleston. When we go out on the ropes course, one of my other instructors is actually a physics teacher so she likes to talk about the different things that it means that they are hanging from this rope.”
And while some of it may be challenging, or a little scary, nothing beats that feeling of success.
Luce says, “It’s not so much the big activities, it’s that group experience that we have every week.”
To register for Famous Adventures, click here.
Drone footage courtesy of: Charleston Outdoor Adventures.