Summer Camping in the Lehigh Valley

By Sara Hodon

“I’m bored!”

Every parent hears this at some point during their child’s summer vacation. When riding bikes, swimming, or playing the latest electronic device loses some luster, a summer camp might be the answer. From the performing arts to nature, science to sports, there are dozens of day camps around the Valley that are sure to keep a child’s interest for a few weeks.

“Children have a little more time in the summer, so whether they’re involved in the arts or athletics, summer camp programs help to keep them active and engaged,” says Carolyn Clarke of Community Music School. “It gives them exposure to things they may not be aware of. Summer is a good time for children to explore something they may be interested in, but with a shorter time commitment.”

Camps can also help students keep their skills sharp so they are ready when school starts again in the fall. “They help with what is called the ‘summer slide’, when students can lose ground with learning. Students can maintain some of that if they’re enrolled in great educational programming through the summer – programs that are interesting, fun and educational,” explains Shannon Fugate, Executive Director of the Baum School of Art.


Moravian Academy runs a number of subject-based programs so students can explore their interests outside of the traditional classroom. Among some of the school’s offerings are a popular Space Camp, which has been extended to two week-long sessions for 2013; Grossology, a “study of really weird and disgusting things for students age 8-12,” explains Carla Snook, Director of Communications at Moravian Academy. The school offers “The Magic of Writing” targeted at middle schoolers, and also popular language immersion camps. “We’ve done Spanish immersion for students entering grades 1 and 2. Students do other activities like swimming and crafts, but the teachers speak Spanish to them the whole time. For 2013 we’re also offering a French immersion camp,” Snook said.

Other programs for 2013 include math, drama, athletics and a “Week with the Masters,” an arts program where students are exposed to various great artists and famous pieces of art. Camps are open to students in grades pre-K through 12. A complete list of camp information, including age and grade levels, is available at the school or through their website.


Student athletes can stay in shape, keep up their conditioning routine, or try out a new sport at an athletic camp. Muhlenberg College offers McHoops, three one-week basketball camps for boys and girls ages 7-15 (June 24-28, July 29-August 2, and August 5-9),  a one week women’s volleyball camp for girls in grades 9-12 (July 11-14) and a volleyball camp for younger students in grades 4-8 (July 22-26). Each camp includes both team and individualized instruction, with the goal of developing well-rounded players and increasing self-confidence on the court.


Artistically-inclined students can choose from a variety of programs – from drawing and painting to theater and music. “In our programs we don’t just teach art – we teach students a way to see the world around us. It’s so important from a very young age to expose children to the various ways of learning and expressing themselves, especially because access to arts programs is limited in schools,” Fugate says. The Baum School offers 8 weeks of art camps throughout the summer. Campers can choose from drawing and painting, mixed media and sculpture, jewelry and metalsmithing, and, new for 2012, Fashion Academy for ages 12-17.

“The instructors who teach the fashion design courses will teach this, and each week will be a different Fashion Week, concluding with a fashion show,” says Laurie Siegfried, Baum’s Director of Communications. Baum is also teaming up with the Wildlands Conservancy for an Art in Nature camp and the DaVinci Center for the Dexter Baker Science of Design Camp. For these programs the students spend half the day at Baum and the other half at the other facility, which gives them the opportunity to examine a subject from different disciplines.

Performing Arts

For the performing artists, Muhlenberg College is holding Camp Imagine, a theater camp, from July 2-27, and Community Music School has a full schedule of private instruction, ongoing ensembles, and a Children’s Chorus program, among many others. To tie it all together, Downtown Allentown’s arts organizations are once again offering the CityArts Cultural Camp for Kids. “We have a wonderful arts hub in the downtown, and this is a partnership between the Miller Symphony Hall, the Baum School, Repertory Dance Theater, Community Music School, and the Civic Theatre of Allentown. This camp is a great way for kids to experience the inner city and the arts.  Kids can explore different arts disciplines and say, ‘I want to move forward with this’,” said Clarke. The campers learn about all forms of the arts, concluding with a showcase for families at the end of the week.

Camp programs offer kids the chance to meet students from other schools. “There’s a lot of interaction and a lot of exciting things taking place,” says Ann Mindler, Assistant Head of School at Moravian Academy. “It’s enriching, and nice to have something kids can have fun doing.”

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram