Camp nearby this summer

Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A camper at a Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast's camp last year enjoys one of the staples of camp — swimming.

This summer, thousands of children across the United States will head off to camps.

Today’s camps may not be exactly like those that today’s parents or grandparents attended, but they still have a common denominator — fun.

“Camps are constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of today’s families,” said Peg Smith, chief executive officer for the American Camp Association. “And yet, in essentials, camp is very much the same as it was 150 years ago. Kids still have authentic, life-changing experiences.”

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According to the American Camp Association, the concept of camp began in 1861, so it celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

But camp doesn’t have to be in another state or even another area — the camp experience can be head right here in Hampton Roads.

Even overnight camps are in the local area. Campers at the Suffolk Unit 4-H Junior Camp at the Airfield 4-H Educational Center in Wakefield get the experience of an overnight camp with the comfort of being relatively close to home.

“Camping has always been a part of 4-H,” said Danielle Jones, Extension agent for 4-H youth development in Suffolk. “They gain the life skills they need to become contributing citizens of society.”

Jones said campers with 4-H learn leadership skills as well as many camp standards like swimming, fishing, arts and crafts and more.

But more up-to-date classes at 4-H camp also include computers and robotics, Jones said.

Find out more about local camps below.

The city of Suffolk is holding “Discover Your Future” teen summer camp at East Suffolk Recreation Center from July 18 to Aug. 19 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Teens have the chance to participate in sports, games, campus tours, community service projects, guest speakers and more. There is a one-time registration fee of $25 and a weekly fee of $25. Participants must be rising sixth- through 10th-graders. Registrations are being accepted now at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 514-7244.

Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting its popular summer camp in Whaleyville. Young people will enjoy arts and crafts, games, special events and more. The program will be held at the Whaleyville Community Center, 6213 Whaleyville Blvd., from June 27 through Aug. 19 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a one-time registration fee of $35 and a $240 fee for the entire summer, or payments or $60 every two weeks. Field trips are extra. For more information, call 514-4501.

Visit Australia with the Suffolk Art League’s Art Camp Stay-cation. The camp will be held Aug. 8-12 and costs $45 for Suffolk Art League members or $50 for non-members. Children will spend a fascinating week exploring the Land Down Under through a variety of art mediums and will take home all their creations. Ages 6 to 9 will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and ages 8 to 12 will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call 925-0448.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will hold a variety of camps throughout the summer. From June 27 to July 1, campers ages 6 to 11 can participate in Art Sampler Camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Art experiments may include painting, sculpture, weaving, music, theater, poetry and photography. Cost is $200, including lunch. Theater Camp will be held Aug. 15-29 for ages 6 to 14. No audition is necessary for this camp, which teaches theater techniques from around the world and ends with a short play. Theater camp is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $200 for ages 6-11 or $225 for ages 12-14, and includes lunch.

The 4-H Camp will be held July 18-22 in Wakefield. Children ages 9-13 may apply. The cost is $195. This is an overnight camp. Activities include riflery, theatrical arts, journalism, archery, fishing, evening campfires and more. Apply at 440 Market St. between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 514-4337.

Paul D. Camp Community College is holding its 2011 Kids College for rising second- through 12th-graders. Classes are held on weekdays through Aug. 12. Participants have about 60 classes from which to choose, including categories like the arts, hobbies, science, tennis, SAT preparation, public speaking, financial literacy, career exploration and more. For more information, call 569-6700 or 569-6062.

The Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast is offering all girls in grades kindergarten through 12th the opportunity to participate in resident camps in Franklin and day camps in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Residents camps start at $300 per week, and day camps start at $110 per week. Financial assistance is available. Weekly sessions run through Aug. 26. Camp programs include outdoor adventure, horseback riding, cooking and performing arts. For more information, visit

Isle of Wight County’s Historic Resources Division is holding several camps throughout the summer. From July 25-29, campers can learn about the history of ham in Isle of Wight County, including a field trip to a smokehouse. From Aug. 8-12, campers can learn about the Boykin’s Tavern’s roles in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and War of 1812. Both camps are $100, are for rising fourth- through sixth-graders, and are from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily.