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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 sleepaway camp where they can make friendship bracelets and life long friends? Because Columbus has plenty of those camps to choose from.
Not all summer camps will be coming back due to COVID-19, but those who are hosting kids this summer have made changes and taken safety precautions to keep the children safe while they have a little fun. Be sure to check with each program to see their specific COVID-19 guidelines.
Metro Parks Summer Camps
Columbus Metro Parks hasn’t opened up all of their programming yet due to COVID-19. Typically, they offer a variety of Summer Camp options for kids from Pre-K through Grade 12. You can check the link above, or follow Metro Parks on Facebook or Instagram for any updates regarding their summer camp programs.
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. To ensure the safety of participants and staff, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is offering a modified summer camp experience again this year. You can visit columbus.gov/recparkscovid19/ for the most up-to-date information about department programs and their status.
Boy Scouts Summer Camp
Boy Scouts in Central Ohio have a few different summer camp options to choose from. Some are residential and some are day camps, but all provide scouts with a chance to experience a myriad of summer activities.
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. There are both residential and day camp options available.
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, Space 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.
OSU SLIYS: Summer Linguistic Institute for Youth Scholars
SLIYS is a very specialized camp, and this year it will be held virtually. 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.
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.
CSG Summer Programming
Columbus School For Girls is teaming up with IDEAS Summer Camps to offer a list of programs, workshops, and camps for boys and girls over the summer break. Students from grade Pre-K through 8 can engage in meaningful programs, from technology to game development.
Ohio State Sports Camps
OSU typically has an incredibly comprehensive Sports Camp program. Covering just about every sport offered at the university. Due to COVID-19, they’ve cancelled all camps through Spring 2021, so you’ll need to keep checking their website for updates.
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.
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.
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. There are in-person and virtual camp options.
Arts & Music
Columbus Museum of Art Summer Workshops
The Columbus Museum of Art offers workshops for students grades 1-8. The workshops include a variety of topics, but all focus on helping kids grow through creativity and imagination. Camps are half-day or full day depending on age.
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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