BY MEGAN FURST
Wolf Park • wolfpark.org/summer-camps
Wolf Park, an education, conservation and research facility located in Battle Ground, offers Summer Science and Art & Enrichment camps for children of all ages.
Two-day camps are arranged for grades K-8 and vary by theme, date and age group. For example, children in grades 4-5 will explore ecosystems, and children in grades K-1 will learn about the wonders of wildlife in their backyards and beyond.
Education and Advocacy Director Christopher Lile says, “Wolf Park’s summer camps provide a unique opportunity for youth to connect to the rich history of Indiana’s wildlife. Campers learn about wildlife conservation, animal husbandry and how to become wildlife advocates through engaging games, crafts and activities.”
There also are opportunities for teens ages 14-17 to be wildlife advocates in an 8-week volunteer program geared for those interested in pursuing a career in wildlife. An additional opportunity, called Junior Keeper Camp, is a 2-day experience that introduces youth to the field of wildlife conservation where campers will carry out daily keeper duties at Wolf Park.
Lastly, new this summer is Art & Enrichment Camp for grades K-8. Campers will use their artistic skills through nature and conservation-themed projects. The projects will serve as enrichment for several of the animal ambassadors throughout Wolf Park.
“All youth programs focus on empowering the next generation of conservation champions — their voices are essential to ‘Save Wolves, Save Wilderness,’ ” Lile says.
Dance Moves & Gymnastics (DMG) • flipdmg.com/camps
Dance Moves & Gymnastics, also known as DMG, is on Meijer Drive in Lafayette and offers several different summer camp options.
Dance Director & Marketing Manager Kaitlyn Williams says, “DMG is the place to be for summer camps, starting at age 18 months with Mommy and Me camps though school-age children.”
Three-day camps feature different themes including princess, adventure island, jungle gym and Olympic dreams. One-day Mommy and Me camps also are themed and geared for toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old.
“We have dance, gymnastics and baton twirling with fun performances. Come help us celebrate 40 years of DMG this summer,” says Williams.
For youth interested in cheerleading or baton twirling, campers have the opportunity to perform at a Lafayette Aviators baseball game at Loeb Stadium. Registration for all DMG summer camps begins in April.
Greater Lafayette Commerce Robotics in Manufacturing
Organized by Greater Lafayette Commerce and in partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs, Robotics in Manufacturing Camp provides week-long day camp sessions to area students in grades 1-8. Sessions vary by location and grade, but all focus on educating youth about the applications of new technology in modern manufacturing.
Workforce Development Director Kara Webb says, “Robotics in Manufacturing Camp is a great summer activity for campers in our region. Campers develop and grow in their knowledge of coding and programming in a fun environment with robotics, 3D printers and more. We bring in local industry at the camps as well.”
A typical day at camp rotates children through stations that build upon what they learned the day before. Stations will cover EV3 robots, Sphero robots, littleBits, 3D printing, Scratch coding software and more. It’s a great way to get hands-on with manufacturing skills and processes while meeting local manufacturers.
“Campers get to engage with local manufacturing and logistics employers to learn about what is created and produced in their backyard, and what careers they have in the industry,” Webb explains. “I’m always fascinated by how creative and innovative the campers are!”
Civic Youth Summer Theatre • lafayettecivic.org/camps
Civic Theatre in Greater Lafayette hosts a number of camps serving youth interested in choreography, singing, acting, musical theatre, improvisation, design and performance. This summer, Civic Theatre has planned the following camps: Choreography; Theatre Intensive; Rising Stars Camp: Moana’s Island Vibes; Out of the Box; and Curtains Up Camp: Disney’s Moana, Jr.
“Summer camps with Civic Theatre are incredible opportunities for kids to develop performance skills and theatre knowledge in a fun and team-focused environment. The most beneficial takeaways the campers have shared have been the friendships, sense of accomplishment and self-confidence gained from working together towards a common goal,” says Julie Baumann, director of education and outreach.
As an example, the Curtains Up Camp will prepare camp participants for a final, full-scale production of “Moana, Jr.” with lights, sound and costumes. Technical crew members are also needed for this production. Interested teens should email Julie at email@example.com for possible tech crew openings. Positions include set construction, sound board operators and backstage crew members.
Wild About Horses • wildabouthorses.net/summer-camp-2018
Wild About Horses Equestrian Center, located in West Point, was established in 1998 by Pam Bowen Gibson. She focuses on teaching the fundamentals of a balanced rider through horsemanship, partnership on the ground, kindness and respect for horses.
Her summer camp program, going on 24 years now, includes two lessons per day in this week-long camp. The week concludes with a Friday afternoon horse show, open to camper families and friends. Children ages 7 and older are welcome and are encouraged to bring a change of clothes and boots.
Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
lafayette.in.gov • columbianparkzoo.org
McAllister Center Summer Camp: Children ages 6-12 are welcome to the McAllister Center each summer for day camp full of fun activities. Campers go on field trips to the City of Lafayette’s aquatic facilities and parks. They’re also able to visit the movie theater and bowling alley.
Registration is available in weekly sessions, and there are discounts for households with multiple campers. Before and after care services are included in the weekly fees, and a junior counselor program is an option for 13-14 year-olds.
Columbian Park Zoo Camp: Zoo day camp programs are planned for children ages 3-14 with a variety of themes and schedules. Zoo Cub mini-camp is organized for children ages 3-4 in three-day sessions. Preschoolers experience hands-on animal encounters, games, crafts and other activities. Children also enjoy supervised outings to zoo exhibits.
Learning Adventures Camps are offered to three different age groups: ages 5-7, ages 8-11 and ages 12-14. The learning camps highlight nature-based topics alongside hands-on activities and animal
encounters. Behind-the-scenes tours are a popular addition to zoo camp as well as games, crafts and STEM activities.
The campers in the oldest age group get an inside look at what it’s like being a zookeeper. This unique week-long day camp has been offered at the Columbian Park Zoo for over a decade, and it’s perfect for those interested in animal-related careers. Campers work alongside staff zookeepers and gain experience with public speaking in front of small groups of zoo visitors.
West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
West Lafayette Wellness Center Summer Camp: After celebrating its one-year anniversary since opening, the West Lafayette Wellness Center is ready to host campers for a second summer. Children ages 6-11 participate in this day camp for one-week sessions. Campers get to make a splash in the indoor pool, participate in both indoor and outdoor sports and games, create crafts, go on field trips and enjoy special guest speakers.
Lilly Nature Center Camp: In addition to the camp held at the wellness center, the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department is also hosting a new summer camp at the Lilly Nature Center off Lindberg Road. Children will explore a new, nature-themed day camp for each week-long session. Session themes cover such topics as insects, wildlife, plants and geology.
Head Camper Program: Area teens ages 13-15 are invited to apply for a new Head Camper Program at the West Lafayette Wellness Center. Participants will gain leadership skills and work experience in a day camp setting. Head campers have to undergo an interview process and must be responsible, enthusiastic, reliable and be willing to serve as role models to the younger campers.
Boiler Kids Camp • purdue.edu/recwell/sports-and-programs
After a two-year hiatus due to Purdue’s COVID-19 policies, Boiler Kids Camp is returning this summer at Purdue RecWell. Youth ages 5-12 register for week-long sessions.
Activities include rock climbing, swimming, arts and crafts, cooking, games and visits to on-campus landmarks. Before and after care services are included, and both RecWell members and non-members are welcome.
YMCA – Camp Tecumseh • camptecumseh.org
Located on the banks of the Tippecanoe River in Brookston sits Camp Tecumseh. There are a variety of camp options for kids ages 5-12, including overnight, equestrian and day camps as well as adventure trips.
Summer day camps are themed, week-long sessions full of planned activities that include games, horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses, fishing, nature adventures and more. With more than 600 acres to explore through trails, lakes and pools, there’s opportunity for a new adventure every day in this faith-based environment led by expertly trained counselors.
YMCA – Straight Arrow Day Camp • lafayettefamilyymca.org
The YMCA hosts the Straight Arrow Day Camp just outside Lafayette at Camp Treece for weekly sessions during the summer. Camp sessions are themed with related activities that include swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses and team building.
Campers are divided into age groups: Preschool Camp for ages 3-5, Regular Camp for ages 5-9 and Youth in Action overnight camp for ages 10-12. Straight Arrow Day Camp also offers a Junior Counselor Camp for youth ages 13-15.
Bus transportation is provided for pick-up and drop-off from the YMCA. Additionally, a pick-up and drop-off site is available at West Lafayette Elementary School. ★