GET READY FOR SUM­MER CAMP

Lots of fresh choices, recreation and fun trips still avail­able; Naples Zoo a new op­tion

RSWLiving - - Features - BY DANA MIR­MAN Dana Mir­man is a free­lance writer and tele­vi­sion pro­ducer.

Lots of fresh choices, recreation and fun trips still avail­able; Naples Zoo a new op­tion

South­west Florida is home to an ex­cep­tional ar­ray of sum­mer camp op­por­tu­ni­ties. Whether young­sters are in­ter­ested in art, an­i­mals, the­ater, kayak­ing, sports, science or just hav­ing fun, there is a South­west Florida sum­mer camp de­signed to en­rich and de­light young­sters. Camps for kids with spe­cial needs, spe­cialty and pri­vate pro­grams are also widely avail­able.

Eric Meyer, di­rec­tor of South Breeze Day Camp in Naples, says, “Chil­dren need a safe place to try new ac­tiv­i­ties, have fun, and to so­cial­ize with their peers. A good camp pro­vides the per­fect set­ting for chil­dren to ac­com­plish those goals.”

Here is a spot­light on some camp op­tions across the South­west Florida re­gion (check web­sites for start times and de­tails):

AL­LIANCE FOR THE ARTS (FORT MY­ERS) Lee County’s des­ig­nated arts or­ga­ni­za­tion. Three camp op­tions in­clude a mini camp for 4- and 5-year-olds, an­other camp for first through sixth graders. Mid­dle and high school­ers have their own camp, the Mu­si­cal Theatre In­ten­sive, in partnershi­p with Broad­way Palm Din­ner Theatre. Weekly themes from in­sects to space to elec­tric­ity. Fri­day per­for­mances, ex­tended care avail­able. artin­lee.org

CAP­TIVA IS­LAND YACHT CLUB (CAP­TIVA) The pop­u­lar Ju­nior Sail­ing Camp as­signs a sail­boat and kayak to campers. Op­ti­mist Pram, Sun­fish or Laser sail­boats are used, de­pend­ing on age/skill lev­els. Ev­ery­thing for in­struc­tion is pro­vided un­less oth­er­wise noted. cap­ti­vaiyc.net

BONITA CEN­TER FOR THE ARTS (BONITA SPRINGS) Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude painting, draw­ing, car­toon­ing, clay, wheel throw­ing, cook­ing, dance, mu­sic, the­ater and more. The Bonita Springs­based camp of­fers age-spe­cific groups for chil­dren be­tween the ages of 4 and 18. Groups of 15 stu­dents or fewer, of­fer­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ized at­ten­tion. Morn­ing and af­ter­noon ses­sions avail­able, or stay all day. Schol­ar­ships avail­able. art­cen­ter­bonita.org

NAPLES ZOO (NAPLES) In­au­gu­ral camp ac­tiv­i­ties align with the Naples Zoo’s mis­sion, en­cour­ag­ing kids to de­velop an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for con­serv­ing and car­ing for wildlife. Campers go “be­hind the scenes” at the zoo, en­joy­ing an­i­mal en­coun­ters along with arts and crafts, games, ac­tiv­i­ties and more. Camps are struc­tured as week­long ses­sions and are sep­a­rated into two age groups, one for ages 5 to 7 and an­other for 8- to 12-yearolds. Themes will in­clude Art Sa­fari, Zoo by De­sign and Nur­tur­ing Na­ture. Ex­tended hours avail­able. napleszoo.org

SANI­BEL REC CEN­TER (SANI­BEL) Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude ten­nis, horse­back rid­ing, golf, kayak­ing, fish­ing, sports, swim­ming and snor-

kel­ing. Also weekly field trips. Free break­fast and lunch, in­clud­ing Fri­day pizza days. Trans­porta­tion is in­cluded. mysani­bel.com

SANI­BEL SEA SCHOOL (SANI­BEL/CAP­TIVA) Each week has its own theme and ac­tiv­i­ties, such as surf­ing, art­work, jour­nal­ing, beach time, sein­ing and snor­kel­ing. Camps are small, the camper to teacher ra­tio is less than 6 to 1. Most weeks are geared to­ward campers 6 to 13, al­though age-spe­cific weeks for stu­dents as young as 4 and as old as 18 are an op­tion. sani­belseascho­ol.org

LEE COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION Many camp­sites fill quickly, so regis­ter early. A $5 dis­count for reg­is­ter­ing at least two weeks be­fore a ses­sion. Spe­cialty camps for na­ture and wildlife, life­guard­ing, health and fit­ness and more. Field trips, games, arts/ crafts, speak­ers, sports, swim­ming and more. lee­gov.com

BIG ARTS CEN­TER (SANI­BEL) From the great out­doors to outer space, tea par­ties to pi­rate ships, the seven-week BIG ARTS Sum­mer Arts Camp of­fers chil­dren from kinder­garten through fifth 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. bi­garts.org

IMAG­I­NAR­IUM SCIENCE CEN­TER (FORT MY­ERS) All camp ses­sions in­clude fun and ed­u­ca­tional hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties, games, crafts, spe­cial guests, and ex­hibit ex­plo­ration. In­no­va­tive cur­ricu­lum in­te­grat­ing science, the arts and hu­man­i­ties, in­spires and en­cour­ages learn­ing. Camps for first through sixth graders, and each ses­sion di­vided into two classes based on age. i-sci.org

SOUTH BREEZE DAY CAMP (NAPLES) Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude team sports, the­ater, arts and crafts, science and na­ture. A low camperto-coun­selor ra­tio. Direc­tors were pre­vi­ously with the Hamp­ton Coun­try Day Camp in East Hamp­ton, New York. Fre­quent spe­cial events in­clude car­ni­vals and wa­ter slides. Held at St. John Neu­mann in Naples. south­breeze­day­camp.com n

Sani­bel Recreation Cen­ter camps pro­vide field trips and out­door fun.

Naples Zoo campers will de­velop an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for wildlife. Al­liance for the Arts (be­low) of­fers per­for­mances, themed ac­tiv­i­ties.

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