When college students return to their hometowns this summer, a new kind of student will take over the UNC Charlotte campus.
They won’t be working toward degrees in architecture or psychology, but the topics they’ll learn about will be just as varied. For the 14th year, UNCC will host more than three dozen summer camps for about 900 of the area’s school-age children.
Summer Camps on Campus has become a popular source for families interested in exploring new interests or continuing old ones for their children.
“The program has grown pretty significantly over the years, and we’ve had a lot of support from the community and parents who send their kids year after year,” said Lesley Snyder, director of Extended Academic Programs.
This summer, 42 camps will be held on campus from June through August. Cool School camps, for rising first- through fourth-graders, are geared toward hands-on learning and activities for the young camper. They range from puppetry fun to solving mysteries inside a time-travel machine.
This summer, Cool School’s 16 camps will also include the new SharkMANIA camp, a weeklong study of underwater creatures that ends with a field trip to the Sea Life Aquarium at Concord Mills mall.
Fifth- through eighth-graders can sign up for 49 Minor camps: 18 camps that offer something for every interest, from MEDCamp – the opportunity to learn about medical careers – to Roving Reporters: Charlotte Sports Tour, a series of behind-the-scenes tours of the region’s sports arenas that includes the chance to interview local athletes.
Niner Academy, for rising ninth- through-12th graders, prepares high schoolers for college life with camps like College Bound: The High School Student’s Toolbox and Leadership Institute, a weeklong program that teaches public speaking, team building and civic leadership.
It offers “the kinds of things that they’ll encounter once they’re in college and growing up in their adult careers,” Snyder said of Niner Academy’s offerings.
Popular programs like robotics, which runs in conjunction with the university’s College of Engineering, are offered for Cool Schools, 49 Minor and Niner Academy camps.
Snyder said students would see many of last year’s camps on the schedule, but all with a new twist.
“We try to change up topics every year to keep it fresh for people who are coming back year after year,” she said.
Brand-new camps will include SharkMANIA for Cool School campers and Electronics 201 for 49er Minors.
Camps range from half-day to full-day, with prices from $150 to $230. Each camp will accept up to 24 students. Waiting lists are available for most camps that fill up early.
Most instructors are K-12 licensed teachers or administrators, many of them Teacher of the Year finalists. Other instructors include professors and graduate and doctoral candidates.
New this year will be the requirement that all camp counselors be college students with proven leadership abilities.
“All of the counselors will be 18 or older and enrolled in college so they can act as mentors for the students they supervise,” said Snyder.