Organizations, churches prepare for summer camps

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For many kids, summer vacation is more than a trip to the beach. It’s also a time to attend a summer camp with opportunities to participate in everything from outdoor activities to building LEGO creations and studying the Bible.


“It gives kids the opportunity to be outside for the summer and to learn new activities and new skills that a lot of them never have the opportunity to learn,” said Steve Kuhn, director of day camps at the Carlisle Family YMCA.


Kuhn said day camps are held at the YMCA throughout the summer for children in different age groups, and four residence camp sessions are held at Camp Thompson in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, where children camp, learn various crafts and participate in recreational activities like swimming, mountain boarding, archery, canoeing and paddle boarding. In addition, children can also participate in activities like fishing, archery, mountain biking, digital photography and kayaking at the New Frontiers Day Camp near Possum Lake in Lower Frankford Township.


Douglass Fitzgerald, owner of Bricks4Kidz franchises in Carlisle and Mechanicsburg, said it is important to make learning fun.


According to Fitzgerald, Bricks4Kidz is a franchised company based in Florida that has more than 500 locations worldwide. It offers an after-school program and summer camps, all based on learning through play with LEGO Bricks, for elementary children ages 5 to 12.


“It’s a STEM-based (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) program,” he said. “It meets all the Common Core standards.”


Fitzgerald said children study specific topics, and then work in teams to build motorized LEGO creations associated with those topics.


“Five weeks ago, we built a caterpillar,” he said. “We learned all about caterpillars and their life cycle, from egg all the way through to the caterpillar emerging from the chrysalis into the butterfly, all with LEGOs.”


He said children are excited to learn because they love playing with LEGO bricks.


“As soon as we bring out the LEGO kits, it’s total focus,” he said. “We match the learning element with this LEGO brick that they love. Not only are they getting to build this thing we talked about, but they’re retaining that knowledge because they’re building a robotic one. It goes a long way to immersing them in the learning.


“They use gears and axles, and those sprockets and gears work together,” he added. “They’re learning robotics and math, mixed with science … While building things, they’re also learning patterns and teamwork. They’re not just sitting with a pile of LEGOs and playing. We focus on a camouflaged learning style.”


Fitzgerald will offer seven summer Bricks4Kidz camps, starting in June, through the Carlisle Parks and Recreation Department at the Stuart Community Center in Carlisle. Each camp will run three hours, and day and evening sessions will be available.


Topics will include Super Hero Academy, Angry Birds Camp, Remote Control Mania, Chima Camp (where children build an obstacle course and race Speedorz) and Mining and Crafting (based on the Minecraft video game).


In Shippensburg, children will have an opportunity in June to experience Camp Krislund without leaving home.


Camp Krislund, of Madisonburg, will bring a traveling day camp to The Presbyterian Church of Shippensburg, 12 S. Prince St. Hosted by the Shippensburg and Middle Spring Presbyterian churches, the camp will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, June 23, to Wednesday, June 25, and feature games, songs, crafts and Bible study.


Children will be at Camp Krislund from Thursday, June 26, to Friday, June 27, where they will participate in activities like swimming, hiking, ziplining, campfire gatherings and worship.


The camp is for children who have finished kindergarten through sixth grade, and cost is $25.


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