Well, it’s the middle of May and there’s no maybe about it, summer will be upon us in no time. As final exams and end-of-year programs are held at school, kids are in the final stages of work mode, ready to slip-n-slide into summer. Visions of slumber parties and somersaults off the high dive into a pool where they shall prune themselves for hours on end are on the minds of many young people right now. Other kids can’t wait to test their limits in extreme sports and intensive robotics camps. The kids are ready, but the larger question is, parents, are you ready?
If you’re working and haven’t nailed down the specifics on what your child will be doing during the daytime this summer, it’s time to put a plan into action. For many, options like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and a variety of programs held at local parks, churches and community centers provide childcare at affordable prices. Depending on the group, Sarasota County may even provide lunch for the children and field trips and special water days are generally the norm at these facilities as well.
In Sarasota County, there are an abundance of specialty camps to accommodate interests and budgets of local families who may just want something for a week or two during the summer months. If you have a budding scientist in your home, who cannot wait to create new concoctions out of items found in your pantry or perhaps the garage, you may want to look into the Mad Science camps happening through the Sarasota County Parks and Rec throughout the summer. Mad Science camps focus on machines, astronaut training, robotics, and more. If you have a child who is a lover of all things beach, sand, water and sun, then the Sand Sculpture Camp held at Siesta Beach might interest you. And sticking with the same theme, skim boarding, surfing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing camps can also be found throughout the county. A Junior Lifeguard Camp helps to shape the next generation of responsible lifeguards keeping our beautiful beaches safe. And, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium offers a variety of great marine-related camps too, including an Aqua Kids and Marine Sleuths series. Sarasota Scullers offers a popular rowing camp for grades 6-12 where no rowing experience is required but the fundamentals will be taught.
For sports buffs, a deluge of options is available and the short list includes tennis, swimming, rowing, skateboard, archery, bowling, volleyball and much more. Local “jumping” venues offer fun summer programs and many schools hold athletic camps that offset hefty costs by utilizing team coaches and students as instructors.
Sarasota has a variety of unique camps that utilize the fun and artistic qualities the city is known for. You can catch Zoo Camp at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, or capture your inner American Idol star status at Music Compound. Revered venues like Florida Studio Theater offers acting and improvisational camps for all ages and usually end the week with a performance to the delight of parents and family members. Circus Summer Camp held by Sailor Circus provides a characteristically Sarasota experience, teaching young performers circus artistry, tumbling, trapeze and low wire maneuvers.
Suncoast Science Center offers amazing classes focusing on hands-on creativity using state-of-the-art equipment. Campers can learn about resistors, transistors, circuit boards and more in the Fab Lab, generating a love and appreciation for all things engineering. And, if your child has an appreciation toward the arts, a variety of art camps are offered, including a unique experience this year offered by local artist, Catherine Thomas, who is offering ten sessions this summer for ages 8-12 at the Snug Harbor Art Center in Sarasota.
Whatever your plans for the summer, don’t forget that an abundance of watermelon, family nights at the ball park, and an occasional ice cream dinner should be on your to-do list also. Camps are great, and often necessary to accommodate work and vacation schedules and, thankfully, Sarasota County has us on camp overload with creative and unique options. Here’s to summer folks; it’s right around the corner!
Photos: Band Camp by John Perry on Flickr, commercial use allowed. Other photos commercial use allowed by pixabay.com