As summer approaches and the unusual school year comes to an end, parents may be dreading trying to plan activities for their kids in the next few months. Unlike last year, summer camps around Corvallis are finally opening — with expected COVID-19 mandates, of course.
After a year of virtual learning and social isolation, day camps may help prevent your kid from sitting on the couch all summer long. Whether your child is interested in sports, science, arts, or acting, there’s camps for everyone to enjoy.
One of the biggest day camp organizations in Corvallis, Kidspirit Youth Program at Oregon State University, is hosting multiple day camps throughout the summer. Kidspirit is a fun, education-based camp, aimed at helping young children thrive. At Kidspirit Summer Day Camps, kids will participate in fun games and creative arts, all while learning about the world around them. Kidspirit Summer Day Camps is offering six different, two week camps throughout the summer. Each session has different themes, such as superheroes or ‘private eye’ detectives, with dress-up days each Friday.
Kidspirit is also offering multiple sessions of their Gymnastics Camp and outdoor Archery Academy. Both of these camps are open to beginners and more advanced kids looking to build their skills. Still nervous about in-person activities? Kidspirit is holding one last session of their online, virtual Cooking Academy where kids will develop their confidence in the kitchen and cook delicious meals for their whole family to enjoy.
For the summer, Kidspirit camps are continuing to operate under OSU’s COVID-19 guidelines. After operating in-person day camps for many months now, Kidspirit director Karen Swanger is confident in the camp’s safety measures.
“We have been cleaning all year long so we know exactly how to do everything…we’ve got it down now!” says Swanger.
Along with increased sanitation, Kidspirit is maintaining mask wearing, social distancing, and smaller groups of kids. Even with these strict safety protocols, Kidspirit is making sure that kids still feel a part of a summer camp and are socially connected to each other through engaging activities.
Although these camps come at a price, Kidspirit offers many scholarship opportunities for families in need of assistance. This year, Kidspirit has also partnered with the Albany Public School District to send kids to camp free of charge; any child from the Greater Albany School District gets a completely free session of camp.
Oregon State University
OSU is hosting a variety of science-oriented camps throughout the summer for kids of all ages.
At Summer STEM Academy, elementary schoolers can attend Lego Robotics Camp to build their own working, moving machine completely out of Legos or Coding Camp to learn the basics of computer science.
Middle schoolers can attend iNVENT camp where they get to become inventors for a week, working with a panel of OSU students to design, engineer, and market their brand new invention.
High schoolers can attend NW Cyber Camp to learn all about the world of cybersecurity or the OSU Summer Transportation Institution — a free, educational camp about how to create transportation systems.
At camps such as Mountain to Sea Adventure Camp, teens will learn archery skills, no-trace hiking, river paddling, and tide pool exploration. At other camps, like the Smart Cycling Bike Camps, kids will get to ride down bike trails and all across Corvallis, while learning basic bike safety, maintenance, and repair.
Corvallis Parks and Rec. Recreation Coordinator, Lacey Moore says she is “super excited” to have campers back this year and was particularly excited about the Rock Creek Explorers Camp — a week-long outdoor day camp where kids will get to learn all about animal habitats and the biology of watershed creatures at the Rock River Campground. Kids will get to work with guest instructors from the Marys River Watershed Council, the Environmental Center, and other nature-oriented organizations in the Valley.
In coordination with Corvallis Parks and Rec.,the Majestic Theater is also hosting a three week long, outdoor Summer Theater Adventure Camp at Bruce Starker Arts Park. At this camp, kids will learn the basics of acting, singing, dancing, and technical theater by performing Broadway musicals or Shakespeare’s classics. Plus, at the end of the camp, young actors will get to make their own costumes and sets to put on a showcase performance for their friends and family to enjoy.
Act fast! Many of the camps through the Corvallis Parks and Recreation department are filling up quickly and space is limited due to COVID-19 guidelines. The department is actively working on opening more camp options but in the meantime, there are still many camps with open seats.