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Plenty of summer activities for youths

By Staff | May 28, 2019


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, as well as the Sanibel Sea School and The Community House, are taking registrations for programming from June to early August. There are options for youths entering kindergarten up through teenagers, with the activities focusing on a range of subjects and interests.

In addition, some island churches are providing Vacation Bible School.


The Sanibel Recreation Center will offer its Summer Day Camp, a nine-week traditional camp, from June 3 to Aug. 2, running Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; camp will not be held on July 4.


The program is offered to children entering kindergarten through eighth grade.

Campers will participate in activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, athletics, and a variety of games. As part of the registration fee, breakfast and lunch are provided daily to the participants.

Campers should bring water, swimsuit, towel and sunscreen.

The cost per week is $157 for members and $206 for non-members. Register in advance and receive the “early bird” rate; the early bird rate per week for members is $132 and $171 for non-members.

The camp weeks are as follows:


– June 3-7: Registration was required before May 29 for the early bird rate

– June 10-14: Register before June 4 for the early bird rate

– June 17-21: Register before June 11 for the early bird rate

– June 24-28: Register before June 18 for the early bird rate

– July 1-5: Register before June 25 for the early bird rate

– July 8-12: Register before July 2 for the early bird rate

– July 15-19: Register before July 9 for the early bird rate

– July 22-26: Register before July 16 for the early bird rate

– July 29 to Aug. 2: Register before July 23 for the early bird rate

Financial assistance is available to qualifying families.

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

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.


The Sanibel Sea School offers camps for various age groups on marine-related topics. Island Skills Camps are available for the little ones, with paddleboarding, reef snorkeling and more for teens.

“Something that makes us different is we’re a completely field-based institution,” Shannon Stainken, education director and ocean advocate, said. “The majority of our camps are outside at the beach.”

The programming has weekly themes.

“And all of them surround marine science,” Stainken said.

Week-long residential summer camps, the Island Skills Camps are run out of the main campus on Sanibel and the Sundial Resort & Spa, as well as out of the Canterbury School in Fort Myers.

“All are open to the public,” she said of signing up.

The camps are scheduled from early June to late July or early August.

The majority of the offerings are day camps for ages 6-13 that run Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also half-day camps for ages 4-6 – or “Sea Squirts” – that run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Based on the theme, there’s different activities throughout the day,” Stainken said.

But, all campers get to surf every day after lunch, and a surf paddle race is held every Friday.

“We teach the basics of surfing,” she said.

There are also programs for the older teens in the family.

“We have a few different paddleboarding camps throughout the summer,” Stainken said.

“Have Paddleboard, Will Survive Week” is a co-ed option, while “Wahine Toa Week” is for the girls only. Both include learning to paddleboard, taking trips around Sanibel and an overnight campout.

“We have two weeks of Keys Coral Reef Week,” she said.

The overnight camping expeditions are open to ages 11-12 and 13-15, separately.

“We take the group of kids down to Big Pine Key and we camp out. Our campsite is right on the water,” Stainken said. “You get to get up close and personal with a lot of sea creatures.”

The Sanibel Sea School is focused on pushing outside of the comfort zone.

“We understand that the ocean can be a scary place, especially for kids, but we also understand it can be an empowering and special place,” she said.

For more details or to register, visit www.sanibelseaschool.org/sanibel-camps or call 239-472-8585.

The Sanibel Sea School’s main campus is at 455 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


Home to the Culinary Education Center of Sanibel, The Community House will offer for the second season in a row the Kids Summer Cooking Classes and Camp, with Resident Chef Jarred Harris.

“We had a very good response last year,” he said.

Participants will learn the culinary fundamentals.

“They learn different techniques and kitchen safety in a team setting, but in a professional kitchen,” Harris said. “The kids like to cook, and they’re participating with other kids who love to cook.”

Open to ages 8-14, the first camp is set for July 29 to Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Monday will cover kitchen orientation and learning to make breads, soups and salsas, while Tuesday will cover how to make pizza and different pastas – even mozzarella cheese – from scratch.

Wednesday will be the first “team challenge,” which will entail dividing the participants into groups and then giving them similar but different recipes to make, such as different flavors of cupcakes.

Harris noted that the theme will be Italian lunch.

The winning team is awarded prizes.

“They’re culinary utensils, aprons, hats, things like that,” he said.

Thursday will focus solely on desserts, with participants learning to make everything from tuiles cookies and cream puffs, to French macaroons. Friday will be the second and final team challenge.

“It’s strictly desserts,” Harris said of the theme.

Also open to ages 8-14, the second camp will be held on Aug. 5-9 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Participants will learn to prepare and cook international cuisine from around the globe.

“This is like a tour around the world,” he said.

Monday will be Thailand, with the theme being fresh ingredients and flavor.

“I basically want to teach them that fresh is best,” Harris said.

Tuesday is India and the theme is spices and herbs, with participants learning to cook flatbreads and vegetarian, plus some meat, dishes. Wednesday will be China, with the theme of rice and noodles.

“Learn how to cook, learn to make noodles,” he said.

Thursday will be France and the theme is cookies, cakes and pasties.

“It’s going to be a popular day,” Harris said.

The week wraps up with the continent of Africa and a coco and spice theme. Participants will learn about the countries and spices and dishes from different regions, such as south, west and central.

“And different things that come from Africa that they probably didn’t know about,” he said.

The registration fees are $50 per day or $250 for a week, which includes lunch.

The deadlines to sign up are July 19 at noon for week one and July 26 at noon for week two.

“Cooking is a skill that you carry with you through life forever,” Harris said, adding that if children show interest in cooking it is an opportunity to support and develop that passion at a young age.

For more information or to register, visit www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net or 239-472-2155.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


Sanibel Community Church will host its free Vacation Bible School on June 3-7.

Open to preschoolers through completed fifth-graders, it will be held from 4 to 7:15 p.m.

The week-long program will include interplanetary fun with recreation games, science, crafts and music, along with Bible stories and dinner provided.

For more details or to register, contact Holly Patton-Roark at 239-472-2684 ext. 122 or holly@sanibelchurch.com.

Sanibel Community Church is at 1740 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church will host its Vacation Bible School on June 10-14

Open to ages 5-12, it will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Parish Hall at the campus.

Free and open to islanders, visitors and children from the surrounding communities, Youth Leader Meghan Warner and Parish Nurse Wendy Warner will lead the week of learning, singing and activities.

The deadline to sign up is June 7.

For more information or to register, call 239-472-2173 or visit saintmichaels-sanibel.org.

St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church is at 2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.