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Art&Seek Jr: 8 Awesome Summer Camps
by Therese Powell 12 May 2015

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

I was at a social gathering the other night and ran into one of Rose’s teachers. While we were chit-chatting about the weather, the potato salad, or some other yard party tête-à-tête she threw out the comment, “well you know, there are only 17 days day left in the school year.” Her comment reminded me this time of year teachers count down the end of the school year with the same amount of glee as a kid ticks off the days until Christmas. These last few weeks before school lets out for summer teachers everywhere are blissfully day-dreaming about a summer vacation spent by pools and umbrella garnished girly drinks. You can see it in their eyes–“Only 17 more days…”

Meanwhile, “only 17 more days” has a completely different significance to parents. It means we only have a few more days to figure out what we’re going to do with the kids for 12 weeks (yes, it’s 12 weeks, I counted).

You might be a little sheepish you let time get away from you. Believe me, I get it. The organized mom-petitors have been bragging all over Facebook for months now about all the stimulating and educational camps they booked for their little chalupas and now you’re all in a dither because you’re afraid you’ve missed the boat on the cool camps. Well, fear not.  There are a whole slew of summer camps still out there (check out the kids and family category on the Art&Seek calendar for ideas).  Here are a few worth checking out.

Put on a play this summer with the Junior Players. Photo: Junior Players

Put on a play this summer with the Junior Players. Photo: Junior Players

Junior Players  offers fantastic theater camps and best of all, they’re free!  Their Discover Theater camps are open to kids 7 to 14 from the residential neighborhoods near participating Dallas recreation centers. During the two-week sessions professional artists from the Dallas community work with the students in daily two-hour classes. Kids learn about the various aspects of performing and theater arts specifically. Children will play theater games, learn improvisation techniques and develop a presentation for The Festival of Plays, a culminating production at the end of the camp.

Another option for budding thespians are the Art Centre Theatre camps.  Located in West Plano, this theater school  has a wide variety of theater camps for all ages. Kids can learn a craft and then put on a show. Some of the musical theater camps include Alice the Musical, Into the Woods, or Suessical. Of, if they’d like to find out about the nuts and bolts of putting on a show, give the Broadway Camp a whirl.

Learn to be a rock star at the Girls Rock Dallas summer camp. Photo: Girls Rock Dallas

Learn to be a rock star at the Girls Rock Dallas summer camp. Photo: Girls Rock Dallas

Stage West’s Summer Conservatory is a camp designed especially for older kids interested in pursuing a career in theater.  Teens and young people ages 14 to 22 receive training from industry professionals in the areas of acting, singing, dancing, on-camera study, scenic design and technical theatre. The three-week program culminates in a world premiere production, preparing students for the real world of theatre and film. Each participant gets to take part in a professional photo shoot, and take home a complete disk of agent-ready head shots.

Girls ages 8-17 wanting to hone their musical skills should check out  the Music Camp presented by Girls Rock Dallas. Qualified volunteers will instruct campers in guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and vocals. Campers form bands and learn how to write original songs together to perform live at a music venue in Dallas for the camp’s showcase. Girls will also have the opportunity to attend a variety of life-skill and technical workshops. There is financial assistance for those who qualify.

Try your hand at a wild job at the Trinity River Audubon Center.  Photo: TRAC

Try your hand at a wild job at the Trinity River Audubon Center. Photo: TRAC

For little campers who love the great outdoors Camp Cedar Hill at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center at Cedar Hill is just the ticket. Kids 6-12 can spend 8 weeks exploring the canyon through art, technology, animal encounters and more. My favorite is Week 3, where little explorers get to pack their binoculars, notepad and camera and search for animal habitats in the canyon.

Campers ages 11-14 can spend the week at the Trinity River Aububon Center getting their hands dirty and learning what it takes to have a Wild Job. Youngsters can find out about wildlife rehabilitation and animal care, learn how to be a hiking and river guide, or take a shot at restoring habitat. Experts in the field will be on hand to answer questions and to guide them in having fun.

Explore the science of flight at an Eagle Aviation Camp. Photo: American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum

Explore the science of flight at an Eagle Aviation Camp. Photo: American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum

Looking for something a little different for your STEM kid? Try one of the Eagle Aviation Camps at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Flight Museum. Kids in 3rd through 8th grade will meet aviation professionals, tour facilities, perform experiments and activities and learn what it takes to be an aviator. My favorite is the Flight Adventure Camp where children in the 3rd to 5th grade learn how to read weather and navigation instruments and then perform flight simulations through extreme conditions.

And speaking of different, the Craft Guild of Dallas is also offering boatloads of unique camps for your munchkins this summer. Be sure to check out their Glass Art, Warm & Cold Camp. In this week long camp students ages 8-12 learn about such techniques as glass fusing and mosaic design to create a variety of glass pieces including window ornaments, a fused glass dish, and wearable jewelry. Class sizes are limited to 8 students so act now if you’re interested.

As we all know, time and camp registration waits for no one, so get the little kiddles signed up tout de suite.