Resource fair to feature summer camps for kids

Resource fair to feature summer camps for kids

If you’re already in panic mode about what to do with the kids this summer, this event is for you.

Everything you’ve wanted to know about Champaign-Urbana summer camps will be available at a “Summer Enrichment Extravaganza” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Urbana Middle School, 1201 S. Vine St., U.

The I-Parents initiative at the University of Illinois is sponsoring the resource fair, held for the first time last spring. It drew about 100 parents, and organizer Anne Robertson is hoping for a bigger crowd this year.

“It’s not just for Urbana parents. It’s for the entire community,” said Robertson, director of the UI Office of School-University Research-Relations and a parent of four children.

This is the time to register, as many programs fill early. Some park district programs are already full, she said.

More than 30 organizations will be on hand with information on a multitude of camps — yoga, swimming, team sports, science, art, music and theater, and everything in between. Click here for a list of agencies, with contact information, that are scheduled to participate.

Participants include the public libraries, Champaign and Urbana park districts, Parkland Community College, Girl Scouts, Savoy Recreation Center, Orpheum Children’s Museum, 4-H and multiple programs from the University of Illinois.

Among the offerings are a rock and roll camp and just about any sports camp you can think of at the UI, from baseball and basketball to tennis, gymnastics or swimming.

University Laboratory High School offers a college-enrichment summer camp, including a “Mathematics and Robots” session where middle-school students can build and program robots using Lego Mindstorm kits and laptops. Girls interested in math or engineering can attend camps sponsored by the UI’s Women in Engineering program.

At the Orpheum Children’s Museum, young environmentalist might like the “Stuffbusters!” camp at the Children’s Museum, where they will learn what happens to all the old X-Boxes and iPods and design their own earth-friendly products.

And Camp New Hope in Mattoon offers programs for children with developmental disabilities.

Camps help children stay active, keep teens engaged and safe, and enrich their academic and social skills, organizers say.

Programs are available for ages kindergarten through 12 and for a variety of budgets. Scholarships are also available.

Even if parents hunt for programs online, the resource fair will give them a chance to talk to the people running the camps and find out what best suits their child, said Lila Moore, program coordinator in the UI’s Center for Education in Small Urban Communities. The park districts alone have scores of programs for children of many different ages and interests, she said.

I-Parents is a collaboration of several UI programs, led by the College of Education. Its mission is to improve the lives of area children by pulling together resources for parents and families.

News-Gazette file photo: Nathan Andsayer and Nicole Hoetker, make a mini composter at the 2007 "Recycle, Rethink" camp at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in Champaign

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