ELKHART — Hands-on learning activities? Check. Weekly camp themes? Check. Field trips and games? Check.
The Elkhart Education Foundation’s Summerscape Day Camp returned this month providing students with all those things and more throughout the summer.
The program features dozens of themes that vary from week to week.
Students can learn everything from robotics to theater, horseback riding to sewing and knitting.
The day camps are staffed by certified teachers and junior counselors in high school and college.
Most camps provide field trips and all camps offer hands-on project-based lessons at age-appropriate levels, organizers said.
“We want students to choose camps that they’re interested in that they might not have the opportunity to experience during the school year or at home,” said Summerscape director Jeannie Hawkins. “Each week we have approximately six new camps that start. The camps are designed to provide the students with more innovative experiences rather than school-based.”
Any child who has completed kindergarten through sixth grade is invited to participate in the nonprofit’s day camp program.
Campers do not need to be Elkhart residents.
Ashley Boling Molyneaux, the foundation’s director, said the day camp currently has students from nine school districts and out of state enrolled.
On Tuesday, students were involved in robotics camp and children’s theater camp, ran by Premier Arts.
“I really enjoyed learning about Lego robotics,” said camper Hayden Hartman, who will be a seventh-grader at Elkhart Christian Academy this fall. “We got to design our own designs with Legos and we’ll be able to make them move.”
Other campers said they enjoyed the social atmosphere of the camp and being able to interact and develop friendships with peers from different schools.
“I like that I was able to make new friends from people that don’t go to my school,” said Christian Mehl, who’s going into the third grade at Mary Daly.
“This is better than being at home,” said Maya Nelson, who will be a third-grader at Pinewood. “If I were at home I’d just be watching TV and here I’m with friends, having fun and learning.”
Boling Molyneaux said she realized the need for the day camp after searching for years for a mix of educational and flexible programs for her children.
“Summerscape is the perfect answer for discerning parents who want their kids engaged intellectually and enthusiastically with fun learning opportunities throughout the summer,” said Boling Molyneaux. “When I moved back to Elkhart in 2016, I literally had nothing like this where I could enroll my children while my husband and I worked throughout the summer, so we created exactly what young families and working parents needed.”
The day camps are held weekly between now and Aug. 2, excluding the week of July 4. Half- and full-day programs are available for $95 and $165 per week, respectively.
In addition, before- and after-care services are provided from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day for an additional cost.
Summerscape will be at North Side Middle School, 300 Lawrence St. in Elkhart.
To register online visit OneCityOneMission.org/camp or call 574-334-7430.