Published: June 01, 2007
Reaching new heights
University summer camps offer lively learning
BY TOM LAVISThe Tribune-Democrat
There will be less chance of a summer brain drain as area colleges and universities are bent on sharpening the skills of children during the vacation season.Pitt-Johnstown, St. Francis University in Loretto and Mount Aloysius College in Cresson are offering classes with subjects ranging from exploring Africa to robot design for children ages 4 to mid-teens.Pitt-JohnstownPitt-Johnstown is offering its Learning Enrichment and Recreation Network program with LEARN 2007.The day camp for students entering grades 3 through 8 will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 9-13 on the Richland Township campus. Classes are “Explorations of Africa,” “Fun and Fabulous Fitness,” “More than Moccasins,” “Generation M” and “The Impressive Impressionists.”The cost of the camp is $169 per child, and registrations will be accepted until June 22.Bob Knipple, Pitt-Johnstown’s director of outreach and professional services, said this program leans toward the academic side of summer camps.“This is the 26th year for the program, and I expect we will be seeing second-generation students soon,” Knipple said. “We have about an 80 percent return rate each summer.”It is common for parents to call a week after the camps end to plan their vacations for the following year, he said.Another special program at Pitt-Johnstown is the Junior Naturalist Outdoor Adventure Camp for ages 8 through 12, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 25-30. The program is designed to cultivate an active lifestyle and love for nature through participation in outdoor sports, conservation education and environmental enhancement.“Last year was the first time we offered the adventure, and it was incredibly successful,” Knipple said.By building a foundation of trust with the campers, mentors encourage children to go outside their comfort zones.Knipple said the popularity of television shows such as “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” have spawned an interest of facing physical challenges.A few of the activities will have campers rappelling down the side of a building, traversing a gorge and learning wilderness survival.The cost of the camp is $279 per child.Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the deadline is Friday. The program is offered in conjunction with American Adventure Sports.Other activities include fresh-water snorkeling, using maps and a compass, orienteering, wilderness trekking, leave-no-trace camping principles, CPR familiarization, canoeing and water safety/rescue.“Last year, some students expressed fear of heights and water, but with the encouragement of their peers and team leaders, they overcame all fears,” Knipple said.Information: 269-2099 or visit www.upj.pitt.edu/outreach.