Fun in the Summertime

Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Princeton

From Nature to STEM, Area Camps Offer an Abundance of Options

By Laurie Pellichero

While it might still be cold and wintry outside, summer will be here before we know it. Now’s the time to start thinking about where to send the kids to camp – and make those reservations before they fill up. Here is just a sampling of the many options right here in our area, each unique in its own way.

ACTIVE

Camp Shriver – Special Olympics New Jersey
1 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Way, Lawrenceville
609.896.8000; www.sonj.org

What began as a fun backyard summer camp known as Camp Shriver has grown into Special Olympics, a global movement that has been changing lives and attitudes for more than 50 years.

Each summer, the Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Complex in Lawrenceville continues this tradition with its own Camp Shiver, a four-week sports camp experience in July for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages. The participants make new friends, enhance their sports skills, learn new sports, and attend educational sessions on health and wellness. The camp offers a range of options, including Day Camp, Twilight Camp, Unified Development Camp, and sessions at Rowan College at Gloucester County. All sports and education training sessions are led by qualified sports specialists, camp counselors, and volunteers.

Photo courtesy of JCC Abrams Camps

JCC Abrams Camps
148 Cedarville Road, East Windsor
609.606.7070; www.jccabramscamps.org

JCC Abrams Camps has been serving the greater Princeton Mercer Bucks community for more than 50 years. It was founded on and celebrates the principles of Jewish values, culture, and traditions. Executive Director Wendy Soos says “joining the JCC Abrams Camps is like joining a second family. Campers and families leave transformed from this memorable experience.” Their new, expanded campus now serves Middlesex and Monmouth counties as well with air-conditioned bussing at centralized stops. Offered between June 24 and August 16, the day and teen travel camps (pre-K through 10th grade) promise to “take youth and teens on a magical journey of self-discovery in a place where they can feel safe, respected, and loved.” The Camps’ highly trained and compassionate staff enables each camper to grow in an atmosphere which promotes self-esteem, positive values, and good sportsmanship. The extensive list of activities includes aquatics, creative and performing arts, teamed sports, outdoor adventure, STEM and nature, Camp Idol, Camp Traditions, and more. It is their belief that campers of all ages and diverse backgrounds will walk away from their summer camp experience with their lives significantly impacted from learning life skills and making new friends in a warm, nurturing environment.

Photo courtesy of Princeton Recreation Department

Princeton Recreation Department
Teen Travel Camp
380 Witherspoon Street, Princeton
609.921.9480; www.princetonrecreation.com

Offered from the end of June through the beginning of August and run by the Princeton Recreation Department, Teen Travel Camp is seven one-week sessions of daily adventures open to students entering grades six through 10 in September 2019. The trips are daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise noted, with staff onsite for drop off at 8:30 a.m. each day. A sample week might include Fireball Mountain Laser Tag in Wrightstown, followed by time back at Community Park Pool on Monday; Six Flags Great Adventure on Tuesday; a trip to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden on Wednesday; Thursday at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pa.; and ending the week on Friday with fun on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. A variety of different venues are offered throughout the summer.

ART AND STEM

Arts Council of Princeton Summer Programs
102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton
609.924.8777; www.artscouncilofprinceton.org

Be creative and have some fun this summer! The Arts Council of Princeton offers a wide range of programs with the goal of making art experiences meaningful, instructive, fun, and accessible for all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. From June 24 to August 30 they will offer 10 weekly options of arts camp programming for ages 5-16. The weekly sessions are intensive pursuits of wide-ranging visual arts from drawing and painting to sewing, digital filmmaking, pottery techniques, and STEAM projects. Camps and art studios are divided by ages 5-9, 10-12, and 13-16, and are designed to engage students and enhance their experience through individualized attention. In addition to offering multiple weeks of camp, the Arts Council of Princeton also provides flexibility in your summer planning with both before-care and after-care options. Located in downtown Princeton at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, campers will enjoy having access to state-of-the-art studio spaces, the perfect setting to nurture and stimulate creativity. All rooms are air-conditioned and studios are fully stocked with various mixed-media supplies sure to inspire one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

centertec summerTEC Summer Camp
Oxford Valley Mall, 2300 East Lincoln Highway, Langhorne, Pa.
800.705.8715; www.centertec.com

Now in its third year, this immersive summer camp STEM program is open to children ages 5 to 16 who will be grouped by age and skill levels in weekly day camp sessions offered June 10 through August 30. Campers will learn to build, program, and fly drones and robots and learn to program computers, all while exploring virtual reality and making new friends. centertec features a learning system that teaches students how to code through the activities they already love: games and stories. Campers will learn the fundamentals of programming and design through their intuitive visual programming language without the frustrations of traditional syntax. The goal is to provide every child with a solid foundation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) thinking abilities to prepare them for 21st century degrees and careers. No prior is experience is needed. The weekly camps run Monday through Friday, with drop off from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and pick up time from 4 to 6 p.m. Lunch and snacks are included.

EDUCATION

Hun Summer Session
American Culture and Language Institute
The Hun School, 176 Edgerstoune Road, Princeton
609.921.7600; www.summer.hunschool.org

The Hun Summer Session offers 30 credit and enrichment courses serving students from ages 10-18. As part of the Hun Summer Session, students looking to improve their English comprehension can enroll in the American Culture and Language Institute (ACLI), a highly-regarded language immersion program. Balancing English instruction and cultural enrichment, ACLI is designed for international students wishing to improve English language skills while enjoying American culture and history. Students will enjoy student-centered instruction in small classes, experienced teachers knowledgeable in student issues in cultural transition, experiential trips to sites like New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, and friendships with multicultural peers. All program components are available for day students including the weekday classroom instruction, local trips, and trips to historical sites. Activities like soccer (football), table tennis, basketball, and fitness training are also provided. This year’s programs run June 17 through August 9. The Hun School also offers sports camps including instruction and play in baseball, rowing, and basketball.

Lawrenceville Summer Scholars
The Lawrenceville School
2500 Main Street, Lawrenceville
609.620.6683; www.summerscholars.lawrenceville.org

Held at The Lawrenceville School from July 7 to 27, Lawrenceville Summer Scholars provides an educational summer program designed to engage emerging innovative leaders, breakthrough thinkers, and imaginative problem solvers. The classes challenge middle school and early high school students to learn in new ways, experience active inquiry and discussion-based classes, and the skills to develop a commitment to personal, environmental, and community responsibility. The limited enrollment and low student-to-teacher ratio ensures that each student receives individual attention in order to flourish in a safe and supportive environment. The faculty encourages scholars to learn and grow, to trust in their abilities, and to believe in themselves so that they all reach their full potential. The school day balances class time and outdoor fun, but in all activities, students will be encouraged to think critically, problem solve, collaborate, socialize, and discover their passions in order to leave the program with 21st century skills.

NATURE

Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Camp

Lucky Dog Camp
24 Elm Ridge Road, Pennington
609.658.3958; www.luckydogcamp.com

Located on Overlooked Farm in Pennington, Lucky Dog Camp offers summertime adventures for children ages 4 to 11. The farm consists of 40 beautiful acres surrounded by protected and preserved open space. Owner Melita Wright said she came up with the concept of Lucky Dog Camp over 20 years ago, when her four children were younger. She said she was searching for a camp that reminded her of her summers as a kid. “Summertime to me means playing outside all day long, exploring the woods and streams, and relaxing in hammocks, playing in sprinklers, running through the fields with my dogs, and building forts with my brothers. I wouldn’t come inside until my mom rang the bell to come in for dinner. I wanted to recreate that for my children.” Wright has combined her training as an elementary and early childhood teacher with her love of animals and created a place for kids to just play in a safe and seemingly unstructured environment. The camp is small and intimate with a high counselor/camper ratio, so the children can feel like they are playing all day as one big family. Lucky Dog gives kids an opportunity to play the old-fashioned way, outside, in a relaxed setting. There are trails to hike, the Stony Brook to explore, and fields to investigate. It is home to three dogs, seven retired horses, two donkeys, two barn cats, and chickens. This year’s day camp is offered in three sessions: one week from June 24 to 28; two weeks from July 8 to 19; and two weeks from July 29 through August 9.

Photo courtesy of Rambling Pines

Rambling Pines Day Camp

174 Lambertville Hopewell Road, Hopewell
609.466.1212; www.ramblingpines.com

Now marking its 44th summer of fun, Rambling Pines offers a plethora of programs for preschool, grade school, and teen campers. The family-owned day camp is located on 225 acres of fields and woods in the Sourland Mountains. It features four heated swimming pools, air-conditioned interior spaces, and plenty of activities for every child’s likes and abilities. Just a few of the activities include aquatics, athletics, creative arts, performing arts, boating fishing, horseback riding, Red Cross swim lessons, archery, and outdoor education. Rambling Pines is dedicated to the success of each child. Its owners and staff think that camp is an essential part of childhood, a place where children can make lasting friendships and mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. Door-to-door transportation is available from the surrounding area, and lunch and snacks are provided.

Photo courtesy of The Watershed Institute

Watershed Nature Camp
Watershed Academy
The Watershed Institute
31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington
609.737.3735; www.thewatershed.org/camp; www.thewatershed.org/academy

Watershed Nature Camp has provided a fun mix of nature, science, play, and community for more than 45 years. The camp takes place at The Watershed’s 950-acre nature reserve, which features wildflower meadows, the serene Stony Brook, Wargo Pond, and acres of sheltering forests. Every day, youngsters will explore, engage, and experience the wild, natural world around them. Some of the campers’ favorite activities are hiking the trails, building shelters, meeting critters, and cooling off in streams. Older campers can experience even greater adventures — including cookouts, camping, and day trips. The camp offers weeklong sessions July 8 through August 23, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. High school students may be interested in The Watershed Institute’s Counselor-in-Training sessions.

Also offered in the summer, the Watershed Academy offers immersive courses in environmental science, engineering, and architecture. Topics include field science, clean water, green architecture, and climate change, as the students work alongside professors and professionals through hands-on activities, engaging in scientific techniques and actual conservation projects.

Terhune Orchards — Summer Camps on the Farm
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton
609.924.2310; www.terhuneorchards.com/summer-camp

Terhune Orchards welcomes children ages 7 through 12 to enjoy a unique, fun-filled week of summer camp on the farm. As a 200-acre working family farm, Terhune Orchards provides exciting, educational, and rewarding opportunities for campers. Campers will engage in hands-on activities in five one-week sessions that provide an understanding of how a farm operates. Campers can also explore Terhune Orchards’ beautiful surroundings, streams, nature trail, and fields, and get a closer look at its resident wildlife and barnyard friends. In addition to working in the Children’s Garden, campers will explore the farm, and harvest and sample the crops in season. Wagon rides are also a part of the camp experience. The activities and crafts blend learning, doing, and fun. Campers spend time both outside exploring the farm as well as inside engaged in activities in the Amish-built barn. Terhune Camps are certified by the State of New Jersey Youth Camp Standards. Be sure to register early, as space is limited.