homepage logo

Summer youth programming available — with adjustments

By Staff | May 26, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Sea School educators will offer a variety of activities over Zoom for virtual camps in June.

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, some island entities have already committed to providing summer programs for youths, while others are still deciding on whether to provide any.

As of last week, the Sanibel Sea School and the Children’s Education Center of the Islands were accepting registrations for summer camps. Other typical island providers, like The Community House and city’s Sanibel Recreation Center, had not yet decided if they would be offering programming.

Churches that usually host Vacation Bible School have opted not to.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the beginning of summer into an uncertain and atypical one for families, and those entities set to offer camps have adjusted their programs in light of the situation.


PHOTO PROVIDED The Children’s Education Center of the Islands is taking registrations for its Summer Nature Camp.

Starting on June 1, the Sanibel Sea School will offer a series of virtual “Island Skillz” camps that include both weeklong options and la carte sessions as part of the organization’s phase I reopening.

To ensure the safety of staff, campers and the community, there will be no in-person camps. It will make an announcement by June 15 on if it will offer in-person camps during July and August.

“Safety is our number one priority for all of our programs, so we feel that it is necessary to remain distanced until we absolutely know it is safe to engage in person,” Operations Manager Nicole Finnicum said.

For June, the virtual options will consist of four weeklong camps for ages 6-13 on Monday through Friday from 10 to 11 a.m., with the themes of sea turtles, dolphins, manatees and sharks. Educators will offer activities over Zoom, including games, scavenger hunts, drawing tutorials and marine science.

“We’re excited to still be able to engage with our campers through Zoom in a meaningful way,” Education Programs Manager Shannon Stainken said. “Our Island Skillz camps will have the same fun and learning as our regular camps and will be a great space for summer camaraderie for our campers.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Sea School educators are ready to explore and learn with kids virtually.

Additionally, for those families that cannot commit to a weeklong option, the Sanibel Sea School will offer a series of sessions that campers can register for – la carte – called “Live, but Distant.”

They will be offered twice daily during the week, with each session being one hour. They will entail knot tying, sea creature-themed drawing, macrame and shell jewelry tutorials, kitchen chemistry and more. The sessions can be purchased with a one-month subscription for $150, with unlimited access.

For families who registered early for the camps that had been planned, their options are:

– Roll their tuition over to 2021 and guarantee a spot next summer, with no tuition increase.

– Apply their tuition to the new virtual offerings, with options to donate a portion of the remaining balance or receive a refund.

– A full refund of their tuition.

For more information or to register, visit sanibelseaschool.org/sanibel-camps or email info@sanibelseaschool.org.


The Children’s Education Center of the Islands plans to offer exciting explorations, awesome adventures and delightful discoveries for youths during its Summer Nature Camp, which will run from June 8 through July 31 for ages 1-5. The center specializes in curating camps for curious kids.

It also is making adjustments to its summer programming in light of COVID-19.

“The Children’s Education Center of the Islands is implementing new procedures and protocols due to COVID-19,” Executive Director Kerra Pike reported. “We are taking all of the necessary precautions to keep our children, families and staff safe during this time.”

The camp programs are designed and led by preschool environmental educators, who bring their knowledge of science, nature and animals on each adventure. Some of the weekly themes families can choose from include “Cooking with Nature,” “Argh! Pirates!,” “Puddle Stompers,” “Water, Water Everywhere” and “Hands on Habitat.”

“Whether your child is a budding ecologist, future veterinarian or an outdoor explorer, CECI’s camps offer a unique summer experience,” she reported.

For more information or to register, visit www.childrenseducationcenter.com/register or 239-472-4538.