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Registrations still being taken for array of summer programming

By Staff | May 25, 2018


For families looking for something for their children to do over the summer, the city of Sanibel and some island organizations still have openings available for a variety of programs and camps.

The Sanibel Recreation Center, along with BIG ARTS and the Sanibel Sea School, are still taking registrations for weekly themed programming in June and July. There are options for children entering kindergarten up through teenagers, with the activities focusing on a range of subjects and interests.

In addition, there are programs for older youth to gain community service hours.


The Sanibel Recreation Center is offering weekly camps from June 4 to July 27 for elementary and middle school students, with options available for the first time for those entering kindergarten as part of a pilot program. There is also a Counselor In Training Program for students entering high school.


“Right now, we still have openings in all of the weeks,” Recreation Director Andrea Miller said.

Held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the center, they will include activities like swimming, arts and crafts, athletics and a variety of games. As part of the registration fee, breakfast and lunch will be provided daily. Campers should bring water, a swimsuit, towel and sunscreen daily.

“It provides a safe structured environment for the kids to be in during the summer when school is not in session,” she said. “We also try to introduce them to a variety of activities, depending on their age.”

Kindergarteners and first-graders can take part in Wildlife Explorers, learn how to play pickleball, participate in Lego workshops, join a junior chef program and more. Third- through fifth-grade youth can go fishing or snorkeling, learn to play golf, or take part in arts and crafts, among other things.

For the middle-schoolers, there is paddleboarding, archery, scuba diving, kayaking and more.


“Our goal is to kind of provide a sample,” Miller said.

Opening the summer programming to students entering kindergarten is a first.

“We were receiving feedback from parents and guardians on the island looking for care for their children. For a working parent needing consistent care every day, that was kind of a niche that needed to be filled,” she said. “So we’ll see how that goes.”

Every other week, the children will go on field trips to places like Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Zoomers Amusement Park, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, Sky Zone and such; there is no additional fee.

Every Friday is “Fun Friday” with a special event scheduled, like a reptile show or obstacle course.


The camps cost $132 for members and $171 for non-members per week with early registration. The cost per week is $157 for members and $206 for non-members after the early registration passes.

Financial assistance is available for qualifying families.

The weekly camps and early registration deadlines are as follows:

– Week 1 (June 4-8): May 29

– Week 2 (June 11-15): June 4

– Week 3 (June 18-22): June 11

– Week 4 (June 25-29): June 18

– Week 5 (July 2-6): June 25

– Week 6 (July 9-13): July 2

– Week 7 (July 16-20): July 9

– Week 8 (July 23-27): July 16

In addition, the CIT Program is open to students entering ninth and 10th grade.

A junior level personal development and leadership opportunity, it is for teens who are interested in volunteering with children in a recreational day camp setting. Through the program, they can gain work experience and their compression-only CPR certification, along with any community service hours.

“Our goal is for kids to start to gain some work experience in a structured environment,” Miller said.

The cost per week is $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

For more information or to register, call 239-472-0345 or visit www.mysanibel.com.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel Captiva Road.


BIG ARTS is offering its BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp for first-graders to fifth-graders, which will run weekly from June 11 through July 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The cost is $175 per week. There is also a program for middle- and high-schoolers to enjoy classes, volunteer or a combination of both.

“All six of our weeks are actually still open,” Camp Director Erin Peter said.

“We’re the only one on the island that specifically caters to visual and performing arts,” she added. “Our campers will participate in four classes a day – pottery, and arts and crafts, as well as music and theater – so they really spend their whole day immersed in the arts.”

The children will create art projects that correspond with the week’s theme and participate in classes taught by professional instructors. Each weekly session will conclude with a short program on Friday, where the artwork is exhibited and the campers put on a performance, combining music and theater.

This summer’s weekly themes are as follows:

– Superheroes Assemble (June 11-15)

Participants will unleash their inner superhero, deciding on a name and super power, then designing their superhero costume. The students will join forces to save the world of art, music and theatre.

“What would their outfit look like and why? They’ll design their own mask and accessories,” Peter said. “There will be trivia based on superheros from comics and movies.”

– Futuristic Fun (June 18-22)

Participants will decide what they think the future will look like. With a little paint, a dash of glitter, a bit of glue and lots of imagination, the students will design the future of their wildest dreams.

– Welcome to the Jungle (June 25-29)

Participants will explore the animal kingdom. From the king of the jungle, to those furry friends found in the forest and the cuddly creatures who live in their own homes, they will learn all about animals.

“Different parts of the world and the different animals that live there,” she said.

– Spirit Week (July 9-13)

Every day is an opportunity for participants to show off their camp spirit. The days consist of Fun Hat Monday, Wacky Sock Tuesday, Holiday Hump Day, Pajama Thursday and When I Grow Up Friday.

“Spirit Week is a chance for every day to be a whole new theme itself,” Peter said.

– Got Talent (July 16-20)

BIG ARTS Summer Camp’s version of “Got Talent,” with a twist. Participants can show off their special talent, which may range from creating some type of artwork to saying the alphabet backward.

“That week is a chance to discuss what they think their personal talents are, and what they can learn from each other’s talents,” she said.

– Pack Your Passport (July 23-27)

Participants will go on an adventure around the globe. They will explore the pyramids of Egypt, check out the masterpieces found at the Louvre in France, and more – all without ever leaving Sanibel.

In addition, middle and high school students can take part in two apprentice programs.

For the first half of the summer, from June 11-29, they can volunteer for the full day or the half day assisting the younger campers and staff. In doing so, they will collect community service hours.

“It’s a chance for them to have a little more responsibility,” Peter said.

The second program takes place during the second half of the summer, from July 9-27. It involves participating in advanced classes like drawing, painting and sculpting with unconventional materials.

Apprentices may volunteer for hours, participate in classes or do both.

“We like to keep it flexible for them,” she said, noting that the combination option is the most popular among the participants. “Then they’re sort of getting the best of both worlds.”

Like the camps, the apprenticeship programs run weekly.

“All six weeks we have volunteer opportunities,” Peter said.

To volunteer is free; the classes are $100 per week.

For more information or to register, call 239-395-0900 or visit www.BIGARTS.org.

BIG ARTS is at 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.


The Sanibel Sea School offers programming for various age groups on marine-related topics. While island skills camps for the younger children are full, there are options for teenagers still available.

“We have teen camps that have some availability,” Director of Education Nicole Finnicum said.

It is the topics of the programming that set them apart from traditional summer camps.

“They’re just really field-based, so we’re spending a lot of time outside exploring the ocean and the environment in general,” she said.

The following camps are still taking registrations:

– Have Paddleboard, Will Survive (June 11-15)

Open to children ages 13-18, the camp costs $400 per person.

“We will teach them basic paddleboarding skills and then teach them survival skills along the way,” Finnicum said, adding that there is an overnight expedition on Thursday included with the camp.

“We’ll paddleboard out to Picnic Island and we’ll stay the night there,” she said.

– Wahine Toa (June 18-22)

Open to girls ages 13-18, it costs $400 per person.

“It’s the same exact thing as the other camp, just all females,” Finnicum said, referring to Have Paddleboard, Will Survive. “It’s a great way to empower young women.”

– Florida Wilderness Camp (July 9-13)

Open to youth ages 15-18, the camp costs $500 per person.

“We’re going to focus on, basically, wilderness camping skills,” she said, noting that there will be a paddling component to the camp and participants will receive certification in wilderness first aid.

“They’re going to put their wilderness skills to the test and do an overnight camping expedition at Deep Creek Preserve near the Peace River,” Finnicum added.

– Canoeing the Caloosahatchee (July 23-27)

Open to ages 13-18, it costs $400 per person.

“They are, literally, canoeing down the Caloosahatchee River for the week,” she said.

Participants will be taught basic canoeing skills, then be driven to LaBelle to begin their journey.

“They’re going to be paddling from LaBelle all the way back to Sanibel, which is about 50 miles down the river,” Finnicum said, adding that the youth will camp out along the way.

The Sanibel Sea School is also offering a Belize expedition from July 30 to Aug. 8 for ages 15-18.

“Our focus for this one is a coral reef expedition,” she said. “We’ll be snorkeling along the Belize Barrier Reef throughout the week. We’ll also be exploring the rainforest.”

The cost is $2,700 and includes flight, lodging food and educational programming.

For parents of younger children, island skills camps are available in August for ages 6-13.

“We have three weeks in August that are still open,” Finnicum said. “They’re our general skills camps with a marine biology theme, so each week we’ll be exploring whatever the theme of the week is.”

The dates and themes are as follows:

– Kingdom of the Kings Crown Conch Week (Aug. 6-10)

– Play That Fiddler Crab Week (Aug. 13-17)

– Sea Cucumber Week (Aug. 20-24)

The cost is $320 per week.

For more information or to register, call 239-472-8585 or visit www.sanibelseaschool.org.

The Sanibel Sea School is at 455 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.