Inside JCPRD: A plethora of camp choices are available for today’s kids

    By David Markham

For me personally, “summer camp” always meant scout camp.

JCPRD Camp Kids at Big Bull Creek Park

I spent five consecutive summers during my youth at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Mo. My mom still likes to tell the story of how each year after ten days of camp in the Ozarks, I would come back sunburned, dirty, and covered with bug bites (and sometimes poison ivy), but always happy and excited to tell of all the great experiences I’d had. Those were good times!

Gotta say though, I do envy kids today and all the great camp choices they have. Wish I’d had the option of summer camps focusing on nature, art, theater, computers, biking, photography, and much more.

Online today at is our 2020 Summer Camp Guide which lists more than 80 camps offered this summer for ages three through 18. The guide will be mailed tomorrow to past participants, and should be available in print form in Johnson County libraries Friday. Online camp registrations will begin at 6 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 27. In-person registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the JCPRD registration office located in Building D in Antioch Park at 6501 Antioch Road in Merriam. Most of our camps do not accept registrations by phone.

In response to patron input, we’ve made a concerted effort this year to lessen the time between when the catalog is available to view and when registration begins.

Camp registrations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and several camps will undoubtedly fill quickly, so don’t delay or you may find your first choices unavailable.

As in past years, our camps range from full-day programs to partial-day programs serving a variety of interests. Most full-day camps offer weekly sessions with start dates from June 7 through July 27, while other camps begin throughout the summer. This year’s camps take place at 24 locations throughout the county. For the convenience of working parents, most full-day programs provide supervision and self-directed activities from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

New camp offerings this year include: theater camps Under the Sea!, Play in a Day, and TIP Summer Tech Academy; computer camps eSports, and Game Design Biz; Meadowbrook Natureplay Preschool Camp, Outdoor Basics, Photo Adventure Camp, and 68’s Indoor Sports camps in baseball and football.

If the camps in the Camp Guide aren’t enough, several additional camps – consisting mostly of sports camps at our Okun and New Century fieldhouses – will be listed in our May through August My JCPRD Activities Catalog, which will be online March 20 and be available in print the week of March 23.

As I remember my long-ago summer camp days fondly, I hope today’s kids take advantage of their many camp options and create lasting positive memories for themselves.