When it comes to summer camps in Southern Maryland, children and teens have a smorgasbord of opportunities. From the traditional outdoor activity camp to a creative arts camp, kids and their parents may have a hard time choosing just one.
One young man in St. Mary’s County turned his camp experiences into a stepping stone toward his future career as a pediatric physical therapist. The summer before Leland Thomas, now a college student, was entering high school, his mother said he couldn’t sit around the house all day, so he became a volunteer junior counselor at Camp Greenwell.
“[The camp] put me in the right direction,” said Thomas. “The camp really showed how much I liked kids. It’s an all-inclusive camp so we get a whole variety [of kids], some with Down syndrome. When we bring them all into one camp it’s beneficial to all involved. Nobody’s going to judge you, … we’re just going to have fun.”
Having fun at Greenwell might in-clude horseback riding, kayaking, crafting or just hanging out, said Hunter Stempin, who, after last summer, can’t wait to get back to camp again. “A day at Camp Greenwell was relaxing,” said the eighth-grader. “That's how everything was. If it was going down to the beach, or doing arts and crafts, or even a game of soccer, it was always relaxing.”
A number of Southern Maryland camps are inclusive like Greenwell, in-cluding Charles County’s Lions Camp Merrick, which provides week-long residential camp experiences for deaf and blind campers and children with diabetes, ages 6 to 16, said Wayne Magoon of the Lions Club.
Camp Merrick offers adventures such as high ropes, a climbing wall, archery, swimming and canoeing, said Magoon. His daughter, Heather Zeolla, overcame her fear of heights as a counselor at the camp and also went on to earn a college degree in deaf studies.
“It’s a really great place for [deaf children] to get to be in an environment where others communicate in their language,” said Zeolla.
Water activities feature heavily in most summer camps, but Calvert Marine Museum’s Boat Building camp puts a unique twist on things as campers actually make their own small craft from wood, get in it and launch it, said Sherrod Sturrock, the museum’s deputy director.
As Sturrock says about the museum’s camps for children entering first through eighth grades, “There is a lot of ‘meat’ in these camps.” Besides making a boat, other camp options include a “Shark Attack” camp, “Pirates and Scalawags” camp, and a new “Environmental Institute” for middle-schoolers.
Elsewhere, more than 100 summer enrichment programs for students ages 5 to 18 will be part of the College of Southern Maryland’s Kids’ and Teen College in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, said College of Southern Maryland (CSM) camp coordinator John Terlesky.
“We will offer 290 classes between the three campuses from June 18 to August 16,” said Terlesky.
Some of the new options at CSM include “Growing Like a Weed” (for ages 5-6); “FX Science: Behind Special Effects” (11-14); “Camp Glee” (11-14); “Passion for Fashion” (8-10 and 11-14); and “Junk Yard Warriors” (11-14). The La Plata Campus will continue offering the Summer Youth Camp, which includes swimming and various athletics activities.
As Leland Thomas discovered many years ago, there’s no reason for a child or teen in Southern Maryland to be sitting around bored over the summer with so many options available. ✦
Southern Maryland Summer Camps
13480 Dowell Rd., Solomons
Week-long art and nature day camps for preschoolers to high-schoolers.
Calvert County Parks & Recreation Camps
205 Main St., First Floor, Prince Frederick
Offering a wide range of options, from adventure camp to teens’ camp.
Calvert Marine Museum Summer Camps
14200 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons; 410-326-2042 http://www.calvertmarinemuseum.com/education/education-youth-summer-camps.php
Four camp programs for children in K-8.
Calverton Summer Adventures
300 Calverton School Rd., Huntingtown
Eight-week-long summer camp serving children 5-18 in week-long, theme-based programs.
Summer day camp for children and teens ages 7-15 who are grieving the death of someone close. Will be held at two locations this year.
Camp St. Charles
15375 Stella Maris Dr., Newburg
Co-ed camp with the goal of providing a religious and educational environment in a way of life that is truly Christian.
Charles County Department of Community Services Camps
101 Catalpa Dr., Suite 100, La Plata
Offering many summer camp programs for children, from gymnastics to sports.
9035 Ironsides Rd., Nanjemoy
Co-ed day and overnight camps for kids 5-18; swimming, horseback riding, climbing wall, arts and crafts, and more.
Lions Camp Merrick
Riverside Rd., PO Box 56, Nanjemoy
Week-long residential camping experiences for deaf and blind children, and children with diabetes,
PowerSkates Advanced Figure Skating Camp & Building Blocks Morning Skate Camp for Tots
Capital Clubhouse, Waldorf; 301-932-4348
Superior Hockey Camp
Capital Clubhouse, Waldorf; 301-399-5595 http://somdsabres.org/news2.php?news_id=86026 or http://www.superiorhockey.net
The Southern Maryland Sabres Ice Hockey Club sponsors this camp, including ice instruction, off-ice conditioning and video review each day.
Tightline Basketball Summer Camp
Featuring Coach Todd Fong, Columbia Union College NCAA Division II Head Coach & former CSM Head Coach.
Waldorf Action Martial Arts Camp
2760 Crain Hwy., Waldorf; 301-645-1650 http://wama.cmasdirect.com/site/view/62575_2008WAMAKarateSummerCamp.pml
For ages 7-13; camp emphasizes having fun while learning about the martial arts.
St. Mary’s County
Rosedale Manor Ln., P.O. Box 198, Hollywood
301-373-9775; http://www.greenwellfoundation.org/ index.cfm?Content=84#greenwell
Inclusive camps include horseback riding camp, adventure camp, fishing camp and kayak camp.
Mattapany Day Camp
NAS Patuxent River
Week-long day camps for children of active duty military, DOD civilians and contractors.
Sotterley Plantation Mini Camps
Sotterley Ln., Hollywood
Time-traveling: A 1914 Farming Life. Travel back to the year 1914 during one of three short camps.
St. Mary’s County Recreation & Parks
Patuxent Building, 23150 Leonard Hall Dr. Leonardtown; 301-475-4200 x1800
Choose from recreational camps, sports camps, specialty camps and therapeutic recreation camps.
St. Mary’s Ryken Summer Camp
22600 Camp Calvert Rd., Leonardtown
The Summer Knights program includes Academic Success; Athletic; Freshman Focus; and Middle School Pathways.
St. Mary’s Ryken High School
Fine Arts Camp
Chorus, “pop” vocals, decorative arts, modern dance and ballet, and comedic acting; distinguished faculty. Ages 10-13.
Historic St. Mary’s City, Survivor 1661
Visitor Center, 18751 Hogaboom Ln.
St. Mary’s City
Plantation Mini-Camp. Can you survive the New World? Learn to build a fence, sew a haversack, search for hornworms, cook a meal and more.
Note: Many other organizations offer summer programs for youth, including private dance studios, martial arts academies, churches, schools and day care providers. Check around your area for all the options.