Most of my favorite childhood memories involve the time I spent at summer camp. Whether I was meeting international counselors who helped shape my view of the world or goofing around with my friends after lights out, I always had a memorable time at camp. Luckily for the youth of Columbus, there are so many wonderful opportunities to explore this summer. Camps have changed in the last decade or so, becoming more specialized and inclusive, meaning that there is literally a camp for every kind of kid out there. Does your child come home from school each day with doodles scattered through their notebooks? Check out an art camp. Do they never stop talking about Minecraft? There’s a camp for that too! Or are they just looking for a traditional sleep-away camp where they can make friendship bracelets and life long friends? Because Columbus has plenty of those camps to choose from. Here at Columbus Navigator, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to all things summer camp, and we’re so very excited to share it with you.
Metro Parks Summer Camps
Columbus Metro Parks offers a variety of Summer Camp options for kids from Pre-K through Grade 12. This year, there are two different types of camps available. Traditional Day Camps are for campers grades K-6, and are less structured and offer more free time. Campers are able to be registered for multiple weeks and before/after care is offered. The Nature Adventure camps are more specialized not only by topic but by age as well. Campers can also register for multiple weeks, but no before/after care is provided.
City of Columbus Summer Camps
Columbus Recreation and Parks Department have tons of camps taking place this summer. Sports, arts, recreational, and educational camps are all available for your child to participate in this summer. Ages range from 3-18 can choose from a multitude of camp adventures taking place from June through August. The Spring/Summer Guide also highlights many classes and courses that are available not just for youth, but for adults as well and is available for download through the link above.
Boy Scouts Summer Camp
Boy Scouts in Central Ohio have 5 different camping opportunities to choose from this summer. Some are residential and some are day camps, but all provide scouts with a chance to experience a myriad of summer activities, including “climbing, archery, BB shooting, slingshots, handicraft, the pool, nature.”
Girl Scouts Summer Camp
Like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts summer camps are a chance for scouts of all ages to have a traditional camp stay. At Camp Kenjockety, young women can participate in fishing, hiking, crafts, cooking, mapping and so much more. For both scouting programs, be sure to contact your Troup Leaders, as camps are organized and scheduled by them.
Camp Lionheart is truly a unique camp experience. Specializing in youth who have dealt with the loss of a parent, sibling or caregiver, Lionheart allows children experiencing these traumatic events the chance to heal and recover with peers and professionally trained staff. This week-long camp boasts all of the activities of a traditional camp, including hiking, swimming, and arts & crafts, all while “incorporating structured grief and trauma-informed group counseling sessions with trained, licensed professionals.”
Nestled in the beautiful Hocking Hills, Camp Wyandot has both day and overnight camp options. Focusing on nature, sleepaway campers stay in traditional camp cabins at night, while exploring Ohio’s hills and waterways by day. Located in one of the most bio-diverse regions in the United States, Camp Wyandot forests, meadows, lakes, and rivers all waiting to be explored by campers. Ages and dates for camps vary, with options from June through August.
Camp Swoneky is an overnight camp run by The Salvation Army that provides an exciting outdoor adventure for campers ages 7-13. From archery to swimming to disc golf, Swoneky has a little bit of everything, perfect for campers who want to have an exciting and full week at camp.
Ohio 4 H
Through the Ohio State University, Ohio 4 H is able to provide tons of camp experiences for kids. Offering Sea Camp, Science Camp, Leadership Camp, Sports Shooting Camp and so much more, Ohio 4 H focuses on teaching campers responsibility, independence, teamwork, and creativity. Age ranges and dates for camps vary.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Oty’Okwa Summer Camp
Since 1942, Camp Oty’Okwa has worked with the belief in mind that working with children “in small, family- oriented groups away from their home environment could produce positive results that could last a lifetime.” And 70 years of success may just prove their point. At Oty’Okwa, campers ages 6-14 spend their week camping, hiking, learning about nature and spending time with their peers. The camp also works with parents to plan and personalize schedules and activities for campers with a variety of special needs, including learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, behavior or mood disorders and Autism.
Bold Columbus Camp
Life should be bold. And so should camp. At Bold Columbus, campers from ages 9-12 will gain valuable leadership skills all while participating in hands-on learning experiences. Hosted by Battelle Darby Metro Park, Bold Columbus nurtures and builds character through tons of special programs, including team games, writing & reflecting, talent shows, capture the flag, lip-sync battles and the camp classic, Capture the Flag. The camp runs daily from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is offered in 4 sessions throughout the summer.
OSU SLIYS: Summer Linguistic Institute for Youth Scholars
SLIYS is a very specialized camp. Focusing on foreign language, SLIYS is for high school students who want to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for foreign language and culture. SLIYS is divided into 3 different sessions, increasing in difficulty as they move through the summer. This camp can be attended as a commuter or as a residential camper. Campers choosing to stay at the camp will have housing and meals provided on campus at the Ohio State University.
Columbus Academy “Summer Experience”
Through the weeklong day camps at Columbus Academy’s Summer Experience, campers can partake in programs dedicated to academics, as well as arts & sciences and athletics. Columbus Academy is also one of the only summer camps in Columbus to offer “a ‘Family’ division that includes Caregiver and Young Child, Grown-Up and Child, and Adult/Senior programming at convenient times for all.”
CSG Summer Programming
Columbus School For Girls offers an expansive list of programs, workshops, and camps for boys and girls over the summer break. Students from grade Pre-K through 12 can engage in meaningful programs, from robotics to fitness to fashion. For older students, Test Prep, Leadership Camps, and College Essay Writing workshops can help prepare them for college and beyond.
Ohio State Sports Camps
OSU has an incredibly comprehensive Sports Camp program. Covering just about every sport offered at the university, student-athletes of all fields will have the chance to work with some of the best instructors around the country to improve their athletic skills, as well as their personal ones.
Columbus Crew SC Camps
No matter what the skill level of your child is recreational or competitive, they can benefit from a week on the pitch at one of the many Columbus Crew SC soccer camps! From immersive residential camps to focused skill set camps, Columbus Crew has every aspect covered. Camp times and dates vary.
Capital Sports Camps
With camps for softball, girls and boys basketball, volleyball and girls soccer, the Capital University Sports camps are a complete athletic experience. Each camp has specific age requirements, but campers in grades 2-12 can find something to learn at these crusader camps!
Chiller Ice Rinks Camps
Do your kids need a break from the summer heat? Chiller has camps that run throughout the Spring/Summer at both the North and Dublin Chiller locations, focusing on both hockey and ice skating.
Science & Technology
Columbus Zoo And Aquarium Summer Camp
Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has the perfect summer camp for your child! With chances to work directly with animals and learn about not only the creatures but the environment they exist in, campers can take away a meaningful experience of animal care and conservation. Camps have a variety of durations depending on age (Pre-K through Grade 10) and before and aftercare is available.
Like their website says, “When school is out, COSI is in!” Campers grades K-8 are invited to participate in a week-long, science-based adventure. Local scientists will interact with campers as they participate in hands-on learning at COSI. They even have a Wizarding School camp, where kids can learn all about the science behind the fictional spells and potions.
Classroom Antics Tech Camps
From game design to stop motion animation to Minecraft to Youtube, Classroom Antics has a variety of Tech Camps this summer for kids ages 7-14. Half-day and Full-day options are available and lunch is provided. Camps run from June 5 through August 4, but be sure to register early, as there are only 12 spots available for each camp.
Lego Robot Camp
For Lego lovers ages 5-16, Lego Robot Camp is a great way to get kids interested in robotics in a fun and exciting way. By using the latest technology, including 3D Printers and Lego Mindstorms EV3, campers spend their time building Lego Bots, culminating in an epic bot battle. They also learn how robots solve real-world problems. Camps are offered at various locations around Central Ohio.
Arts & Music
CCAD Summer Workshops
If your child is between Grades 1-12, they can participate in some of the unique summer workshops offered at Columbus College of Art and Design. These half-day workshops are focused on a variety of art forms, including drawing, painting, digital media and even fashion. Camps run throughout the summer and CCAD encourages students to participate in multiple focuses.
Creative Strings Workshop Youth Program
Run by violinist Christan Howes, Creative Strings Workshop if for string students ages 10-18. With great faculty and guest instructors, young string players will have the chance to study many kinds of music, including “fiddle styles, blues, rock, world music, and jazz”. The workshop does take place from July 1 until July 5, so be sure to check for holiday conflicts before registering.
Capital University Winds and Percussion Camp
Young adults in grade 7-9 can participate in Capital’s Winds and Percussion Camp on the University’s campus in Bexley. Directed by renowned local composer James Swearingen, campers will have the opportunity to take part in an amazing concert band, guided by award-winning educators and surrounded by musically enthusiastic peers. At the end of the camp, a concert will be performed for free, which is open to the public and often attended by both family members, community members, and educators!
Capital University Creative Arts Camps
Creative Arts Camps are a unique experience for 14 to 17-year-olds focusing on two fields. Film Production and Creative Writing camps allow students to get an in-depth look at what a career in various creative arts fields looks like, with hands-on experience in screenwriting, filming, live readings, and much more. Campers will stay in the residence halls and meals will be included in the cost of the camp!
Columbus Museum of Art Summer Workshops
The Columbus Museum of Art offers workshops for students Pre-K through Grade 8. The workshops include a variety of topics, but all focus on helping kids grow through creativity and imagination. Funky weeks like Quantum Creativity and Magical Makers are sure to keep young artistic minds enthralled. Camps are half-day or full day depending on age.
For the tiniest campers at the JCC, Camp Yeladim is a half day camp for ages 2 to 3 years 8 months. Music, art, nature, Israeli culture and swim are just a few of the awesome activities your little ones will get to be a part of at Yeladim. Camp runs from 8:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m., two, three or five days per week.
Kids aged 3 years, 9 months through Kindergarten can experience 3-5 days of summer camp fun. The staff, experienced in Early Childhood Education will provide campers with fun themed days such as Water Fun, Mini Maccabees, and Carnival! Appropriate snacks are provided. This camp is only a half-day.
This day camp is for campers grades K-3. At Camp Chaverim, the kiddos will have the benefit of a flexible camp schedule, as they are allowed to attend 3 or 5 days per week for two weeks! All of the usual camp activities will be packed into the day, ensuring that the campers will be asleep in no time after songs at camp closing each night. For second and third graders, camp won’t always end at 4 p.m., as they have field trips and are invited to attend one special late night at Camp Hoover.
Camp Hoover is situated on a quiet 30-acre area near the Hoover Reservoir. Campers grades 4-8 can have a traditional sleep-away camp stay including activities such as “games, flag pole routine, camp challenges, snacks, traditional and specialized activities (chugim), lunch, swim, waterfront activities, games, and closing circle”
Camp Ayre is a unique camp experience in Columbus. At one of two locations, either JCC East or JCC Hoover, special needs campers ages 5-22 are invited to participate in an immersive and exciting camp experience. The camp has a 1:3 staff to camper ratio ensuring that all participants will be safe while having a camp adventure they will remember for a lifetime.
Lacrosse, Cooking Camp, Engineering and Theatre camp are just a few of the options available through the JCC’s Specialty Camps. Campers from K-8 can find the perfect summer camp option to explore their passions. Camps are offered at various dates throughout the summer and campers are encouraged to attend more than one!
J Sports Camps
For campers entering grades 4-6, the JCC has a variety of amazing sport camp programs. From basketball to soccer, campers will have the chance to work with professional instructors in the morning, while enjoying a fun and active afternoon of camp activities.
Counselor in Training
Counselors in Training or CIT’s have an opportunity to make a big impact on the younger kids at JCC Summer Camps. Open to young adults entering Grade 9 or higher, this program helps teens learn responsibility while having a great time. Not only do CIT’s learn about job training and resume building, they also have a chance to become CPR and First Aid certified through the American Red Cross.
Ohio State Summer Camps
Ohio Supercomputer Center Summer Institute
This two-week residential program gives gifted high school students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a STEM environment.
Youth Summer Music Programs
The Ohio State University Music Department encourages students with a passion for music to participate in a multitude of summer workshops. Some programs focus on specific instruments or areas of focus, while others are larger bands, orchestras or choirs. Programs are available for students grades 4-12.
MD Camp 2019
This intensive, three-week residential camp is designed specifically for juniors, seniors and recently graduated high school students to get an inside look at what it takes to become a healthcare professional. MD Camp “aims at increasing the number of physicians who are underrepresented in medicine and who elect to practice in underserved areas.”
YMCA Summer Camps
YMCA Day camps are a ton of fun Monday-Friday throughout the summer. A variety of exciting themes are being offered this year where kids of all ages can explore, learn, and create. There are specialized camps for sports and the arts, and activities vary based on YMCA location.
YMCA’s Camp Willson is the quintessential American summer camp experience. From outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking and canoeing to traditional camp activities like arts & crafts and talent shows, this sleepaway camp is an experience young campers will never forget. Camp Willson offers a full eight-week camp schedule, with many different types of camps for kids aged 7-17.
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