Inside JCPRD: Time to start thinking about summer camps!

JCPRD summer camps offer unique experiences for ages 3 to 18.

By David Markham

I know it’s only January, but have you thought about what you’d like your child to get out of summer camp this year?

JCPRD’s programmers and camp directors have already put a lot of thought and planning into this year’s camp offerings.

“I want children to try new things, to discover new interests, to learn how to work and play together, and to feel safe and loved by our amazing staff,” said Children’s Services Manager Jennifer Anderson.

“We want children to learn something new, meet new friends, challenge themselves, get connected with nature, and make memories,” added Outdoor Education Manager Andrea Joslin. “There are so many camps to choose from, really something for every kid. Camp is a great investment for a child to have something active, fun, social, and educational for the summer.”

“My number one objective for summer camp is to create an experience where kids not only have fun, they meet new people and form friendships,” said Recreation Assistant Misty Town.

“I want kids to have a unique outdoor experience learning a new skill or further developing an activity or skill they already enjoy,” added Outdoor Adventure Specialist and Certified Challenge Course Manager Lysa Holladay Dvorak.

Outdoor exploration and education are a common theme throughout many of JCPRD’s camps.

Online listings for JCPRD’s 2022 summer camps will be available for viewing at beginning Jan. 15, and registrations for summer camps will start one week later at 6 a.m. on Jan. 24. Be sure to create an account prior to registering. Printed copies of the 2022 Camp Guide will be mailed and available after Jan. 24 at all JCPRD facilities and Johnson County libraries.

Camp offerings include full-day programs and partial-day programs serving a variety of interests. Most full-day camps offer sessions beginning weekly from June 6 to Aug. 1. 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. Other camps start throughout the summer and around the county with programs offered for ages three through 18.

A total of 90 different camp programs are being offered this year, and range from fine and performing arts, nature, science, leadership, sports, and many more! There are four entirely new camps for 2022, as well as lots of new topics, ideas, and locations at many existing JCPRD camps. New offerings include: Page to Stage Camp, Roald Dahl Creative Drama Camp, TRAC Sailing Camp, and TRAC Jr. Biologist Camp. Watch for a number of additional summer camps which will be listed in JCPRD’s May through August program information, scheduled to be online beginning March 18.

With a myriad of summer options out there, what makes JCPRD camps unique?

“What’s great about JCPRD summer camps is our ability to offer a robust variety of activities,” said Recreation Coordinator Lisa Eagle. “Animals, archery, chess, cooking, field trips, LEGO, robotics, and more. Campers have the opportunity to try new skills throughout the summer. The working parent will feel at ease knowing their child is having a memorable experience this summer.”

“The instructors’ ability to be creative,” Town added. “At Sweet Summer Creations, one minute we’re having relay races with canned biscuits, and the next the instructor is using her best Italian accent to teach a lesson on edible fishbowls. There was so much laughter and it was beautiful to see.”

Have fun and make new friends at JCPRD summer camps.

“TimberRidge offers a hands-on experience for a variety of different outdoor skills to youth ages 11 and up,” Dvorak Holladay said. “Our site offers many different outdoor opportunities allowing them to explore nature and hopefully develop a lifetime passion for adventure in the outdoors. We also have some of the best fishing opportunities in the area, and we incorporated some biological sampling techniques into our camp last year.”

“Kids love the opportunities to do something different than what they can do at home and school,” Joslin added. “They get time to explore, use their imagination, and often say, ‘It’s like school, but fun!’ We have also had kids say, ‘At school I don’t have many friends, but at camp I am the cool kid!’”

“I wish people knew how much our staff truly care about these kids and their families,” Anderson said. “They put their heart and soul into their programs because they love ‘their’ kids!”

There’s also a lot for parents to love about JCPRD camps, and it may not be what you think.

“Parents like knowing that their children are safe, happy, and engaged,” noted Anderson. “This is critical for working parents!”

“Parents like the face-to-face contact at check-in and check-out,” Town said. “They also enjoy seeing all the projects the kids make.”

“Their kids are tired when they get home, are disconnected from electronics, are learning, and are having fun,” Joslin said.

Remember, summer camps are consistently some of JCPRD’s most popular offerings of the entire year. The sooner you sign up, the more choices will be available.