This summer, well-respected professors from the computer science and biology fields will visit campus. However, these professors will not be lecturing college students; they will be joining youth from grades 2 to 7 at the annual Kids College summer camp.
When Caroline Wenzel ’05 and Sarah Mantell ’06 first discussed the importance of day camps in the community a few years ago, the two slowly began to realize that there were almost no camps in which children could simultaneously play and gain an educational experience. The program, which started with only a handful of campers, has now expanded to host more than 50 campers each week. “Our goal is to provide a place for children to learn and have fun in the summer,” says Wenzel.
The Kids College program runs from July 5 to Aug. 6, and lasts weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each week, campers embark on a themed adventure to maintain or improve academic skills while out of school. Throughout the summer, campers participate in a wide variety of activities such as painting works of art, studying the lives of Native Americans, and shooting off rockets. Visiting faculty, along with a number of guest artists, present the curriculum.
This year, visiting teachers include Adam Farrell, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Solar, who will stop by during Space and Technology Week to share the story of how he went from being a 9th grader with a science fair project to the CEO of a company. Kristy Kenyon, associate professor of biology, will visit during Zoology Week, when campers will work with animals and learn all about the animal kingdom. Kenyon will teach campers about the life cycle of frogs, and kids will be able to watch as tadpoles grow into frogs.
Activities are not limited to the college campus, however, and each week includes a fun and interactive field trip. Zoology Week includes a trip to Seneca Park Zoo, where campers will see exotic animals, as well as a trip to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, to see animals indigenous to the Finger Lakes in their natural environment. During Space and Technology Week, a night trip to the observatory to see the stars will be held. Other field trip locations include the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse; Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, and Rose Hill Mansion in Fayette.
For the younger crowd, the Colleges are proud to offer Kinder Camp – for children entering grades 1 and 2. Kinder Camp runs through Aug. 6. As in the Kids College, campers participate in a variety of daily activities, outdoor games and sports. Each week offers an exciting theme, so whether a camper is crusading as a knight in shining armor or panning for gold as a prospector, there is always a fun-filled day in store for Kinder Campers.
This year, themes include H2-Oh!!, which promises “water, water everywhere, but none of it to drink,” Castles and Dragons Week, giving kids the chance to build a castle and learn about the mysterious Merlin, and Wild, Wild West Week, when campers will learn about Native Americans and Western cowboys.
Kinder Camp also includes a daily swim in Bristol pool, snack time, and reading time. The program is designed to keep kids in constant interaction with fellow campers and their environment with weekly trips in and around Geneva. Some field trips destinations this year include the Corning Museum of Glass, where artistic talent will be explored, Taughannock Falls, and Roseland Waterpark.
“I think it is important to offer this opportunity to children because it is important for children to enjoy learning and to understand that a traditional school is not the only place to learn,” says Wenzel.
Alternatively, the Colleges also offer Day Sports Camps. Lacrosse, golf, soccer, basketball, football and tennis are being offered this year. Athletes from the ages of 7 to 14 will learn new skills and further developing old ones. Head coaches from the Hobart and William Smith athletics department will act as the directors for each week-long program, and provide one-on-one assistance to each camper.
For more details and registration information concerning the Colleges’ summer camps, please contact the Office of Conferences and Events at (315) 781-3103 or visit http://www.hws.edu/offices/conferences/