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Islands get ready for Summer Camp

By Staff | May 7, 2010

Sanibel Recreation Center is one of several organizations offering a wonderful program this summer when school lets out. Emily Schnars, Alix Zandra, Alison McMenany, Aldo Ramirez, Dylan Kropp and Mario Garcia show off some of the fun to be had in the "cool pool".

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Summer camp means different things to children. For some it’s a chance to learn a new craft, sport or activity. But, for most, summer camp gives the opportunity to make new and lasting friendships and memories.

And whether your child is a science guru, budding artist or pint-sized future Olympian, here on the islands there are summer day camps for most needs and interests.

For the on-the-go child, The City of Sanibel’s Recreation Center features swimming, kayaking, martial arts and skateboarding. Got a mini Monet in the household? BIG ARTS is featuring a palette of art-related activities and courses for children who are interested in the arts. And young scientists have the chance to explore the lives of mollusks through interactive programs at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater will also have their annual summer school program sometime this summer. During the program thespian hopefuls will have the chance to learn on-stage skills and create a performance at the end of the program. Details about this camp will be published in the Islander as they develop. For more information, call the Schoolhouse Theater at  472-8930.

But whether you choose to send your child to one or all of the different summer camps offered on the islands, they share one common thread – authenticity. The organizations running the camps want children to learn in a real way about science, art and athletics.

“What we want to do is make mollusks come alive for kids,” said Kathleen Hoover, the Public Relations Manager for the Shell Museum. “So, instead of it being a picture they see in book, it’s a creature they can imagine building the shell. No matter what we do — whether we’re creating puppets or building a Fourth of July float — scientific learning is always built into every activity.”

BIG ARTS staff will be offering campers a chance to do a broad range of activities from creating pottery to learning how to Irish dance.

And, this year, BIG ARTS is offering an expanded program. Camp will be held Monday to Friday this year instead of Tuesday to Friday. Natalie Cunningham, BIG ARTS program director pointed out the new schedule should help parents better plan their schedules and allowinstructors work more with students.

The program offers a diverse schedule of classes and activities. Campers can learn how to create a necklace in one session and Irish dance in another.

Jaime Knaub, the Irish dance instructor, is excited to return for a second year. She said a number of last year’s students enjoyed the dance form so much they signed up for additional lessons at her school. Knaub said campers love the movement and energy in Irish dancing.

“You start to dance almost immediately,” she said.

And Knaub encourages the campers to check out the class. “We’re hoping to show that there’s a whole art form out there that’s very dynamic,” ahe added.

Dancing is not the only way young islander can expend energy this summer.

Dave De Fonzo, the Rec Center program coordinator for youth, said there are many opportunities for children to be fit, have fun and learn new skills.

"The City Rec Dept is once again pleased to offer its summer day camp program for 2010 for the second consecutive year with no price increase,” De Fonzo said.  “The program covers a wide variety of all-inclusive activities that keeps the kids hoppin’ daily from 8-5 p.m.  Summer Rec is a great option for campers with working parents."

The Islander has compiled a list of upcoming summer camp programs and schedules.


BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp For Kids Begins June 28


Two programs are available, both Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 28 through August 13, 2010.

Children entering grades K through 5 in the fall will be offered activities on a rotating schedule including painting, pottery, music, drama, and movement. Arts and music appreciation, weekly projects, and interactive stage productions encourage interest and wonder in the arts. For grades K through 5, tuition is $115 per week; if reserving three or more weeks, the cost is $100 per week.

The fine arts apprentice program for middle and high school students provides an opportunity to be an instructor or just take classes. Courses include fused glass, mosaic, acting and improvisation, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, and metalsmithing. Volunteer opportunities are also available. Call for middle school tuition information.

BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp is supported by L.A.T. Foundation and Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank. Tuition assistance is available.

For further information or to register for Summer Arts Camp, to purchase tickets, to sign up for workshops, or to become a member, stop by BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road Sanibel, call 395-0900, e-mail info@BIGARTS.org, or log on to www.BIGARTS.org 


Shell Museum’s summer camp


This year’s camp program will offer something of interest for everyone. Dave Horton will be back by popular demand with an expanded offering. Campers will create a 3-D paper mache version of their mollusk cartoon character.  During week two children will discover the interdependent relationships of the many creatures in the ocean biome.  Learning about the food web will help them discover why some mollusks are meat eaters while others filter nutrients through the water or dine on plant life.   The third camp was added after an enthusiastic educator and philatelist, Don Pattison, visited to explore the Museum’s interest in the subject of shell stamps and their value as teaching tools.  Shells will be linked with lessons in world geography and math.  The children will design their own stamps which will be displayed in the Museum lobby. The final camp, Sea Life Marionette, will allow campers to bring their puppets to life in movement and song as they create marionette puppets and perform a play “Under the sea.”  Registration is required.  For additional information, call Diane Orvis Thomas at 395-2233.

Given the overwhelmingly positive response last summer, the Museum is bringing back the “Kids Play — Parents May . . .” program.  Children are treated to shell and under the sea adventures while parents have the opportunity for a quiet brunch, walk on the beach or shopping adventure.


Camp Schedules


Mollusk Cartoon Camp – With Cartoonist Dave Horton


Create three-dimensional mollusk cartoon characters! Paint an under-the-sea banner!  Featured under-the-sea characters will be stuffed, painted, and mounted on wooden rods with strings.  Participants are invited to share their creations with the community by joining the Shell Museum’s float on Sanibel’s Fourth of July parade.


Date:  June 21 – 25                              Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Ages: 6 – 12                                        Cost: $65          




Camp Mollusk follows the ocean’s food web


Follow the food web in the “footsteps” of mollusks. Explore the wondrous and unique world of molluscan teeth and radula.  Discover how their teeth are adapted for scraping or cutting food.  Learn how some gastropods use their radula and acidic “spit” to drill holes in their prey. Investigate a group of mollusks that use a radular tooth as a venom-carrying harpoon. Find out how clams and their relatives filter large amounts of water to obtain their food. 


Date:   July 5 – 9                                  Time:  9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Ages:  7 – 12                                       Cost:  $65       




Mollusks, Shells, and Stamps Camp


Learn about what it means to be a philatelist or stamp collector. Discover which countries have shell stamps.  Choose your favorite mollusk and create your very own shell stamp. Your prize shell stamp creation will be displayed in the Museum’s lobby.


Date:   July 12 – 16                              Time:  9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Ages:  8 – 12                                       Cost:  $65   




Sea Life Marionette Camp – Sea Creatures on a String


Read about the creatures of the sea.  Create your own sea creature marionette puppet.  Partner with another camper to write and perform an under-the-sea skit using your newly created marionettes.


Date:   August 2 – 6                             Time:  9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Ages:  6 – 12                                       Cost:  $65        




Kids Play – Parents May . . .


Resort Day Camp


Dates: July 20, 22, 27, 29                      Time:    9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m


August 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26.


Cost:     $15/day/child


Register for the Resort Day Camps by mail or phone with Diane Thomas dothomas@shellmuseum.org, 395-2233. Reservations must be made by Monday or Wednesday for the following day. 


Rec Center to hold summer camp program


The City of Sanibel has started registration for Summer Camp. The nine- week summer program will again be available for purchase in one week increments. Summer Camp runs from June 21 though Aug. 20.

Summer Camp is a great opportunity for kids to experience a large variety of all inclusive activities such as Golf, Tennis, Kayaking, Fishing, Clay Art, Skate Boarding, Martial Arts, Swimming and more. Summer Camp runs Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost for one week of Summer Camp is $85 per child for members and $105 per child for non-members. Children must have completed Kindergarten and be entering first grade in the fall of 2010 to attend summer camp. Financial assistance is available for this program. Registration is also available on line at mysanibel.com. For more information, contact the Rec Center at 472-0345.


Junior Sailing Summer Camp to set sea at Captiva Yacht Club


This summer camp is open to children ages eight to 14 in all skill levels. Campers are requird to take a swim test. 

Session 1:  July 12-22.  Session 2:  July 26-Aug. 6.  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

At completion kids will know how to sail single-handed and will be certified in powerboat safety. Each child is assigned her or his own boat for the session. Registration is $600 per session ($300 per week). To enroll or for additional information, contact Chris Heidrick at 579-0660 or Chris@SanibelInsurance.com