homepage logo

Summer’s almost here

By Staff | May 20, 2015

Day camps for students in Sanibel and Captiva start in June. Survival skills, art and performance, birding and sailing are some of the programs offered. Spencer Richardson (left) and Jesse Woodhull will work summer camp at the Sanibel Sea School. CRAIG GARRETT

Just like that, summer break is around the corner. There is a wealth of options for meaningful activities for the very young through high schoolers, including a new program at the “Ding” Darling Refuge, traditional summer camp at BIG ARTS, outdoor learning at the Sanibel Sea School, sailing at the Captiva Yacht Club, and the city’s cluster of fun and learning at the recreation center, or a mix/match combo for the those seeking a parade of choices.

The Sanibel Sea School has two locations this year, with the Sundial Resort & Spa opening a small drop-in location for Sundial guests. An Island Skills Camp is new this summer, mainly for 6-13 year olds, with two weeks included for 4-6 year olds. The premise of the project is there are certain things every island kid should know, like how to throw a cast net, which species of fish live in Gulf and bay waters, and how to ride a surfboard. Each week is centered on learning about a local sea creature, with related island skills, games, crafts, and water activities added to the mix. Campers spend the vast majority of time at the beach or in the water.

Sea School teen programs will include Have Paddleboard, Will Survive Camp, an expedition to Andros, Bahamas, an expedition to the Florida Keys, and the CIT Program. Scholarships are available to qualified campers to offset the costs of camp.

“We’re so excited about our ninth year of summer camp,” Sanibel Sea School director of operations Leah Biery said. “It’s my favorite time of year at Sanibel Sea School and it seems like every summer is better than the last. This year, campers can look forward to the excitement of snorkeling under the full moon, raft-building competitions, and surfing in the Gulf every day. We’re also offering stand up paddleboarding camp for the first time ever, which will make so many new adventures possible with our teen participants.

“We never want cost to prevent students from learning about and falling in love with Sanibel’s ecosystems, so scholarships are always available to those in need. All you have to do is ask.”

BIG ARTS summer camp

From the great outdoors to outer space, tea parties to pirate ships, BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp for nearly 40 years has offered a summer full of creativity. Summer Arts Camp offers children from kindergarten through 5th grades hands-on activities on a rotating schedule that includes daily visual and performing arts. The program for middle and high school students provides an opportunity to volunteer to earn community service hours as an instructor’s apprentice and/or take classes. Activities include photography, painting, filmmaking, glass fusing, jewelry-making, dance, and drawing.

This year’s themes are:

* Week 1 (June 15June 19): Lego Your ART Out!

BIG ARTS is calling all wee designers, potential builders, and inventive Lego enthusiasts for a week of camp that will give you the building blocks for a bright summer.

* Week 2 (June 22June 26): Natures Wonderers

This week campers will discover their own colors as they reflect on the true beauties of nature.

* Week 3 (July 29July 3): This Land was Made for You And Me

This week is all about celebrating our independence.

* Week 4 (July 6July 10): Alice in Wonderland

You’ll go this way and that way and every way around, until you find BIG ARTS the morning of July 6. Join us as we celebrate a classic tale, and even hold our very own mad tea party.

* Week 5 (July 13July 17): To Infinity and Beyond!

While things on earth are amazing, the cosmos are out of this world! Come design your own spaceship and adventure to the moon this week.

* Week 6 (July 20July 24): Eureka! The Inventor’s Camp

Be inspired by some very famous inventors, while creating your own inventions!

* Week 7 (July 27July 31): Arrg Matey! The Pirate Life for Me!

Hunt for buried treasure as you make your transformation into a true pirate.

* Week 8 (Aug 3Aug 7): Around the World in 5 Days

Get ready to become an adventurer.

* Week 9 (Aug 10Aug 14): When I Grow Up

What do you want to be when you grow up? BIG ARTS is here to send you down your path to success.

BIG ARTS also offers a Fine Arts Instruction and Apprentice Program for middle and high schoolers. Spend all day in fine arts instruction, or do a half day of instruction plus a half day of volunteering. Earn community service hours while you learn about the arts-and have a lot of fun in the process.

Sign up for all 9 weeks, or pick just the ones that fit your family’s schedule.

This year’s advanced art classes:

* June 15-19: Glass Fusing

* June 22-26: Print Making

* June 29-July 3: Photography

* July 6-10: Acrylic Painting

* July 13-17: Drawing: Negative/Positive Space

* July 20-24: Scene Design: Model Making

* July 27-31: Film Production

* Aug. 3-7: Clay

* Aug. 10-14: Film Production

* 9 a.m.3 p.m. MondayFriday

* Middle/high schoolers: $80/week

Sanibel Recreation Center

Running June 8 through Aug. 21, the 11-week day camp features activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, athletics and a variety of games. Special guests along with an enhanced field trip itinerary will also be a part of all the action. Summer camp will be available for purchase by the week. Campers should bring swim suit, towel and sunscreen daily.

The program is one of the island’s oldest, offering a variety of activities like tennis, golf, horseback, riding, swimming and team sports. It’s also one of the more affordable programs, which brings a broader grouping of kids to the camps.

Summer Camp is offered to children entering grades first through eighth grade and will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all days. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day. Register in advance and receive the “Early Bird” rate. Financial assistance is also available to qualifying families. For more information, call the Recreation Center at 472-0345.

J.N. “Ding” Darling Refuge

Nature Explorers summer camp

* June 15 19; June 22 26; July 6 -10; July 13 17, 2015

* Monday Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

* For Lee County students who have completed 4th, 5th or 6th grades

* Day Camp Cost & How to Apply: The day camp cost is $50 per student (students can ONLY participate in 1 camp session).

* The Nature Explorers Day Camp is a camp that is intended for middle school students (students who have completed 4th, 5th or 6th grades) to reconnect with nature. This camp is designed to teach students about wildlife observation, wildlife photography, archery, fishing, kayaking and much more. Many students today are unsure of their nature connection but the Nature Explorers Day Camp will provide a safe, fun and supervised environment where students can explore the wonders of nature.

Exposing kids to nature and the wonders of wildlife makes this program different than most others, said Becky Larkins, Ding education ranger coordinating the new program. Availability will be an issue, however; most of the slots have been pre-filled by underprivileged kids. Check with the Ding for availability.

“We’re going to have a blast,” Larkins said. “Especially with the younger (ones). I love that age group, and the way their minds work. I’m very excited.”

Captiva Yacht Club junior sailing camp

The club will use Optimist Prams, Sunfish and Lasers, International Class sailboats, in their upcoming Junior Sailing Camps-for kids 8 to 15 of all experience levels. Membership in the Yacht Club is not necessary for participation — session 1, from Monday June 15 to Friday June 26 and session 2, from Monday July 13 to Friday July 24.

“CIYC will use the US Sailing Association’s curriculum at our Junior Sailing Camp. In a few short weeks, campers can graduate from learning on Optimist Prams to sailing Olympic racing class Lasers,” Lead Instructor Marshall Long said.

Camp will be held at the CIYC, next to ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Drive.

Beginning sailors will learn to rig and sail their own Optimist Prams, which are single-handed sailing dinghies approved by the International Sailing Federation for youngsters. The original Pram was designed in 1947 by Clark Mills of Clearwater, Florida, a member of the Optimist Clubs of America. Mills designed a small, stable, responsive boat that could-back then-be constructed for $50. This low cost opened opportunities in the sport to many children.

Once campers master the basics of sailing, they can graduate to Lasers. These competitive racing boats — sturdy, simple to rig and sail single-handed — are very fast. The 13-foot Lasers became an Olympic class in 1996 and are raced all over the world.

It is important for young people to learn how to harness the power of the wind and experience the joy of controlling a sailboat. It’s a sport they can enjoy all through their lives, Yacht Club officials said.