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Jan 27

JCPRD summer camps offer unique experiences for ages 3 to 18

Posted on January 27, 2022 at 12:30 PM by Becky Burnside

We know 2022 is still young, but have you thought about what you’d like your child to get out of summer camp this year?

JCPRD’s programmers and camp directors have already put a lot of thought and planning into this year’s camp offerings.

“I want children to try new things, to discover new interests, to learn how to work and play together, and to feel safe and loved by our amazing staff,” said Children’s Services Manager Jennifer Anderson.

“We want children to learn something new, meet new friends, challenge themselves, get connected with nature, and make memories,” added Outdoor Education Manager Andrea Joslin. “There are so many camps to choose from, really something for every kid. Camp is a great investment for a child to have something active, fun, social, and educational for the summer.”

Kids exploring a creek

“My number one objective for summer camp is to create an experience where kids not only have fun, they meet new people and form friendships,” said Recreation Assistant Misty Town.

“I want to provide kids a safe space to feel able to express themselves and fully immerse themselves into the world of musical theater,” said Theatre Camp Director Lucas Lowry. “No matter what is going on outside of this space, we are a family here and we devote our time to this craft and becoming better performers: that is what I'm wholeheartedly for; building safe/fun learning environments for students to develop their skills as young performers.”

“I want kids to have a unique outdoor experience learning a new skill or further developing an activity or skill they already enjoy,” added Outdoor Adventure Specialist and Certified Challenge Course Manager Lysa Holladay Dvorak.

JCPRD’s 2022 summer camps are now online at Camp registrations began Monday, Jan. 24, and it’s no surprise to us that a small number of this year’s camps have already filled. Some additional summer camps will be listed in JCPRD’s May through August program information, scheduled to be online beginning March 18.

Camp offerings include full-day programs and partial-day programs serving a variety of interests. Most full-day camps offer sessions beginning weekly from June 6 to Aug. 1. For the convenience of working parents, most full-day programs provide supervision and self-directed activities from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Other camps start throughout the summer and around the county with programs offered for ages three through 18.

A total of 90 different camp programs are offered this year, and range from fine and performing arts, nature, science, leadership, sports, and many more! There are nine entirely new camps for 2022, as well as lots of new topics, ideas, and locations at many existing JCPRD camps. New offerings are: Page to Stage Camp, Roald Dahl Creative Drama Camp, TRAC Sailing Camp, TRAC Jr. Biologist Camp, Challenge Island© Arcade Mania Camp, Challenge Island© Shark Camp, Challenge Island© Slime Squad Camp, Challenge Island© Super Steam Hero Camp; and Museum Explorer’s camp.

With so many summer options out there, what makes JCPRD camps unique?

“JCPRD camps are unique because there is a program for everyone,” said Park Naturalist Diana Bliss. “If you have a special interest, more than likely JCPRD has a camp for it! The instructors are passionate about what they do and are invested in giving you/your child the best experience possible. You can’t go wrong picking a camp for your kids.”

“What’s great about JCPRD summer camps is our ability to offer a robust variety of activities,” said Recreation Coordinator Lisa Eagle. “Animals, archery, chess, cooking, field trips, LEGO®, robotics, and more. Campers have the opportunity to try new skills throughout the summer. The working parent will feel at ease knowing their child is having a memorable experience this summer.”

“The instructors’ ability to be creative,” Town added. “At Sweet Summer Creations, one minute we’re having relay races with canned biscuits, and the next the instructor is using her best Italian accent to teach a lesson on edible fishbowls. There was so much laughter and it was beautiful to see.”

Two girls holding artwork

“TimberRidge offers a hands-on experience for a variety of different outdoor skills to youth ages 11 and up,” Holladay Dvorak said. “Our site offers many different outdoor opportunities allowing them to explore nature and hopefully develop a lifetime passion for adventure in the outdoors. We also have some of the best fishing opportunities in the area, and we incorporated some biological sampling techniques into our camp last year.”

“As a director/music director for many theatre camps at JCAHC, I feel like what makes these shows unique is how we focus on involving each student in telling this story through the use of their voices, gestures, and interactions with one another, more so than through the use of big sets and costumes,” Lowry said. “The students are less stressed and have so much more fun and it feels like more of a group/ensemble journey than just featuring two or three students. It's a blast!”

“Kids love the opportunities to do something different than what they can do at home and school,” Joslin added. “They get time to explore, use their imagination, and often say, ‘It’s like school, but fun!’ We have also had kids say, ‘At school I don’t have many friends, but at camp I am the cool kid!’”

“I wish people knew how much our staff truly care about these kids and their families,” Anderson said. “They put their heart and soul into their programs because they love ‘their’ kids!”

There’s also a lot for parents to love about JCPRD camps, and it may not be what you think.

“Parents like knowing that their children are safe, happy, and engaged,” noted Anderson. “This is critical for working parents!”

“Parents like the face-to-face contact at check-in and check-out,” Town said. “They also enjoy seeing all the projects the kids make.”

“Their kids are tired when they get home, are disconnected from electronics, are learning, and are having fun,” Joslin said.

Remember, summer camps are consistently some of JCPRD’s most popular offerings of the entire year. The sooner you sign up, the more choices will be available.