What’s New in Summer Camps

Summer Camps
By Tamah Biello

How can you keep your kids happy and yourself sane during the summer months? Think summer camps! The Greater Lehigh Valley is full of a variety of fun and interesting camp experiences. Read on for some fabulous finds for the summer of 2010.

Bounce off their Walls

Are your kids bouncing off the walls? The Bounce U locations in Bethlehem and South Whitehall Township have a better option. The Create and Bounce camp Party Pros exercise your 5-10-year-old child’s body and mind by helping her learn while having fun. Owner Mike Principato describes their program as unique because it “combines fitness and stimulates creativity” as kids have the opportunity to bounce on the facility equipment as well as create original works of art in a variety of mediums. Weekly themes include topics like Under the Sea, Bounce U Goes Green, Dinosaur Days and Field of Dreams. Camps run from 9:30AM-2:30PM, Tuesday through Thursday from the week of June 29th through the week of August 17th. The camp fee includes a daily healthy lunch and snacks, an official camp T-shirt and all art supplies and activities. At $99 for a 3-day session with additional sibling discount incentives available, Create and Bounce is an affordable way to add a little bounce to your kid’s step and leave some change in your pocket.

Get Crafty

Pottery Zone, an art center located in Phillipsburg, NJ, offers a variety of themed, multi-media art camps for kids ages five and up. The five-day sessions run every week from June 21st through August 9th. Sessions run twice each day from 10:00AM-1:00PM and from 2:00PM-5:00PM. Owner Cindy Geier exercises her passion for creating and her fine arts degree to help campers dabble in drawing, watercolors, clay, glass, acrylics and mosaics. According to Cindy. the items created are not only fun to make but are “useful for both display and everyday use.” Themes like Outdoor Celebration, America the Beautiful, Creature Feature and Christmas in July add to the fun. Each day of camp has a special spin on the weekly theme and Fridays are always pizza day.

Soccer, Baseball and More, Oh My!

Lafayette College Summer Sports Camps allow your young athletes the chance to immerse themselves in their favorite sports. Offerings include football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, field hockey, soccer, tennis, softball and a speed, strength and skill development camp. New for 2010, Lafayette College is adding cheerleading to the camp lineup. A variety of cheerleading skills are taught in separate cheerleading camps: Cheerleading 101, Dance Routines and Cheers, Chants and Game Day Experience. Ages vary by camp but most encompass the elementary and middle school set. All camps are held within the Lafayette College campus and sporting fields. Time ranges for the camps range from one-time workshops to half- or full-day week-long camps. Discounts are available for early enrollment so get on the ball and check out these sporty offerings.

It’s a Zoo in There

Animal lovers will go wild for the camps at the Lehigh Valley Zoo within the Trexler Game Preserve in Schnecksville. According to the website, the Zoo’s mission is to “create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests” and the camp program helps include the Valley’s younger set in this goal. Camps run from mid-June through mid-August and include age-appropriate crafts, presentations, games, tours and activities. Different themes are available to get your kids up close and personal with their favorite furry or feathered friends. Programs are available for ages 4-14. New for 2010, the Eco Adventures Explorer Camp for ages 12-14 takes the zoo experience to a new level with off-site visits to Hawk Mountain and Cape May, NJ. Director of Conservation Education Sheri Peters is excited about the new offering which is a “great interactive experience for students.” Camps run from 9:00AM-3:00PM daily and discounts are available for Zoo members.

It’s a Girl Thing

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) offer a variety of programs for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade at Camp Mountain House in Allentown. This wooded location features outdoor picnic and activity areas, pavilions and three buildings in case of inclement weather. Girls enjoy daily Red Cross swimming instruction at Rodale Aquatic Center’s pool at the Cedar Crest College campus. Camps cultivate interests like appreciating world cultures, jewelry making, detective skills, photography, astronomy and sports. Not a Scout? No problem. For a nominal fee of $12 in addition to the cost of the camp, any girl can attend these programs. Regular camp hours are from 9:00AM- 4:00PM and extended hours are available both before and after camp for an additional fee. Busing is provided from multiple locations in Bethlehem and Allentown to help make getting there easy.

Actively Searching for Fun?

The search ends here! Active Learning Center (ALC) provides your child with more than the typical camp experience. Each week campers practice martial arts, swim, make crafts, participate in activities and go off-site for theme-related field trips like a visit to a horse ranch or a day at Dutch Springs. Campers from kindergarten through age 13 can choose themes like Mission Impossible, Wild West, Animal Planet, and Iron Chef. State accredited, experienced teaching staff; enthusiastic assistants and martial arts instructors help develop “strong minds and strong bodies” according to co-owner and martial arts instructor Dana Eldridge. At the end of each action-packed day kids are sure to complain that “You’re here already!” ALC camps run from 8:00AM-4:00PM daily with the option of extended before and after care. Camps run from the week of June 21st and continue through the week of August 30th, well past the date of most other camp offerings. Kids ages one and up can participate in age-appropriate camp-style fun on-site too with ALC’s daycare program. ALC has three convenient locations in Emmaus, Breinigsville and Allentown.

Back to Nature

Can’t keep your kids inside? Take a look at the Wildlands Conservancy at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in Emmaus. The Conservancy has worked to protect the local environment through advocacy and education for the past 35 years. Kids have a chance to hike, craft and enjoy a variety of activities while they get back to nature. According to the Conservancy’s website, the Go Wild camps take you everywhere from “tracking turkeys in the woods, catching tadpoles in the ponds or tubing in the creek” and run mid-June through the end of August. Special topic camps are also available featuring Mud Week, Water Camps, a You and Me Camp (for preschoolers and a caregiver) and a Geo-Coaching Class (6th grade and up). You can choose to attend half- or full-day camps and snacks are provided.

“Bringing Kids and Nature Together” is the theme for Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery’s new summer camp program sponsored by Ecology Club of Lehigh Gap Nature Center; it is designed for kids aged 4-11. Children will have fun “with the birds, bees and bugs that are brought to our gardens by native plants,” according to Louise Schaefer, who founded Edge of the Woods with business partner Sue Tantsits. The camp will offer hands-on activities with roots, branches, flowers, dirt and water. Campers will use special scientific gadgets and cameras and their imagination.Camp will run four consecutive Thursdays beginning July 15 from 10-10:45AM; cost is $5 per day. While adult supervision is provided, a parent or guardian is required to remain on-site during each session.

Is there a Scientist in the House?

Summer camps at DaVinci Science Center this year will offer a wider variety of programs than in years past as camp programs now include those students entering both seventh grade as well as kindergarten in the fall.
According to the Science Center’s website, campers entering kindergarten in the fall of 2010 may enroll in an afternoon session on selected weeks. Campers entering grades 1-7 can choose from a morning session, an afternoon session, or both.

Camp themes vary depending on grade level. Themes include Body Works, Rock in the Valley, Mission: Milky Way, Amusement Park Physics, Natural Disasters and Science of the Sea.

Back by popular demand are summer camp T-shirts that campers design themselves.(Help for little hands is provided!)

For further information on these or other camps listed, visit LehighValleyMarketplace.com.

Tamah Biello is a certified teacher, instructional designer and creativity consultant for kids. This mom-extraordinaire from Macungie is always looking for ways to have fun and keep the chaos to a minimum.

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