Students lead children’s summer camps

The end of the school year is approaching as the start of summer creeps closer. Faculty and student-parents often contemplate programs or activities for their children while they are out of school. The answer is closer than many might think.

The Northern Kentucky University Early Childhood Center will be offering its annual summer program for school-aged children 6-14 years old.

The camp, beginning on May 28 and ending on Aug. 9, will be divided into two sections; the Vikings, ages 6-9, and the Nomads, ages 10-14.

Summer camp coordinator Amanda Johnson has been hard at work planning and scheduling various events for this year’s program.

“There is a lot in store for the children this summer,” Johnson said. “We are hoping to bring both fun and learning into the program, making it an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the campers as well the staff.”

All camp counselors are NKU students, some of whom are pursuing degrees in education and have acquired much experience working with children.

“I cannot think of a more rewarding and fun way to spend a summer than to be a camp counselor,” Samantha Mackenzie, senior biology major, said. “The last three summers were well spent [being involved in the summer program].”

There are a variety of field trips planned for the campers. Returning counselor Daniel Hagedorn, senior history major, enjoys taking adventures with the campers.

“I think the changing atmosphere emphasizes their growth,” Hagedorn said.

The Nomads will be visiting the Heritage Village Museum, a recreated 1800s community in Sharonville, Ohio containing 13 historic buildings. They will also have the chance to explore the Louisville Mega Cavern, an underground adventure that emphasizes geology, mining, recycling and green building technology.

The Vikings will be visiting Jane’s Saddlebag Historic Site located near Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, Ky. The trip will offer a “hands-on” educational experience complete with live farm animals at a petting zoo, 100-year-old barns, 1700s-style flatboats and original, restored saddlebags.

Highfield Discovery Garden in Cincinnati is another planned adventure for the Vikings. The children will be able to explore the natural world, with a goal to allow an engagement of delight through the senses while exploring the two-acre garden.

Johnson has developed weekly themes for the camp, switching things up to maintain the interest of the children.

There will be a career week, where the campers will explore different career fields while visiting departments on NKU’s campus.

A week will be designated to art exploration, allowing campers to put their creative minds to use with clay, water colors, wires and jewelry making. They will be exposed to new materials and will have the opportunity to learn more about media that suits their individual interest.

There will also be a drama week. Campers will have the chance to learn about all aspects of production [dialogue, costumes, props, backdrops and filming]. The children will be able to create and perform their own skits.

“As a mom and a teacher, I think our summer camp offers the best balance of fun opportunities for fun, learning and friendship,” Early Childhood Center Director Melanie Caldwell said. “Kids come back year after year.”

Caldwell said that parents appreciate that “we are reasonably priced” and that their children are kept safe and their brains are kept stimulated.

Camp registration is now open and spots are quickly filling.

For registration information or further details contact Julie Christmann, Early Childhood Center office manager, by phone at (859) 572-6338, by email at or in person on the first floor of MEP, room 147.