Friday, June 4, 2004

Summer camps grown
beyond arts, crafts

By Lauren Bishop
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Today's campers have a much more specialized list of choices. Here are snapshots of just a few in Greater Cincinnati.

Spa Camp for Girls

TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion, 6200 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash

Ages: Entering grades 7-9

Dates: June 21-25, July 26-30 (day camp)

Cost: $230 child member, $270 child nonmember

Info: (513) 985-6731,

TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion developed the spa camp three years ago. It wanted to provide a program for "tween" girls who are hungry for information about nutrition, health and beauty but who are still too young to get summer jobs, says Deb Riggs, the Pavilion's general manager.

"It's not always about looking good on the outside, it's feeling good on the inside," says recreation coordinator Dana Maidenberg.

The camp was so popular after its first year that the Pavilion expanded the day by two hours, and many girls are now asking for an overnight spa camp.

Monster Garage Camp

Pleasant Vineyard Ministries, 1259 Swann Beatty Road, Camden

Ages: Completed grades 7-11

Dates: July 4-July 9 (overnight camp)

Cost: $340

Info: (937) 452-3347,

Camp director David Maynard came up with the camp to pique the interest of older kids who are fans of the Discovery Channel show, Monster Garage, which revamps vehicles.

This year, kids will spend each morning stripping down a beat-up van and converting it into a paintball tank with the help of a professional welder and a mechanic. Afternoons will be filled with typical camp activities, such as swimming.

YMCA Roller Coaster Camp

Whitewater Rafting Camp

Ages: 12-16

Dates: Roller Coaster Camp, July 26-30 and Aug. 16-20 (day camp); Whitewater Rafting Camp, June 23-25 and July 21-23 (overnight camp)

Cost: Roller Coaster Camp, $375 members and $425 non-members (includes transportation, park admission and some meals); Whitewater Rafting camp, $190 members and $235 non-members

Info: M.E. Lyons YMCA, (513) 474-1400; Dearborn County YMCA, (812) 926-6262;

Strong-stomached teens who sign up for the Roller Coaster camp will strap themselves in at rides at Paramount's Kings Island, Coney Island, the Beach Waterpark and Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

Kids who attend the Whitewater Rafting Camp will spend three days and two nights in Fayetteville, W.Va., where they'll raft the Gauley River.

The first sessions of both camps will be based out of the Dearborn County Y and the second sessions will be based out of the M.E. Lyons Y, although the camps are open to members of all Cincinnati-area Ys (as well as non-members).

"We had a committee this year trying to come up with some new and exciting camps for the kids," says Barbara Hauser, director of communications for YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. "One of our main goals is to let people know we're not just about pools."

RoboBlast Robotics Camp

Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus, 3254 E. Kemper Road, Sharonville

Ages: Entering grades 3-8

Dates: Aug. 9-13(day camp)

Cost: $100 for grades 3-4; $150 for grades 5-8

Info: (513) 238-0540;

iSPACE (the Interactive Science, Space and Aeronautics Center for Education) decided to offer a robotics camp after parents pleaded for one, says executive director Linda Neenan. A $10,700 grant from the Cleveland-based Martha Holden Jennings Foundation will help iSPACE purchase robotics kits and materials.

Campers will be divided into three teams and given a mission based on their ages: To design a robot that will launch a rocket to rescue stranded astronauts. They'll launch the model rockets at a family night at the end of the camp.

Meador's Fitness Camp

Meador's Fitness Center, 426 Main St., Lawrenceburg.

Ages: Grades 6-12

Dates: July 12-16

Cost: $75

Info: (812) 537-4309

Meador's Fitness Center owner Heather Carota was searching for a camp that would spark kids' interest in fitness. So her camp offers hip-hop classes, kickboxing and yoga, as well as information on nutrition.

"I kind of wanted to provide something so you wouldn't necessarily have to be sports-oriented or necessarily coordinated," she says.

McAuley High School camps

6000 Oakwood Ave., College Hill

Ages: Various

Dates: Various

Cost: $35-$75

Info: Assistant principal Connie Kampschmidt, (513) 681-1800, Ext. 1125;

New this year is a Knit and Fit Camp (June 7-11, $50), which combines knitting lessons with a different fitness activity daily for fifth- through ninth-graders. CSI: McAuley Camp, Scrapbook Camp and Web Page Design Camp are back.

"There are tons of sports camps out there, but this will add some diversity to children's lives," Kampschmidt says.

Animal Science Camp

Great Oaks Institute of Technology Live Oaks campus, 5956 Buckwheat Road, Milford

Ages: 9-13

Dates: June 7-11

Cost: $75

Info: (513) 612-3636;

This is the second year that Great Oaks has offered its Animal Science Camp, in which students use the same lab that high schoolers in Great Oaks' animal science and management program use, says Great Oaks spokeswoman Jean Ciancio.

This summer, campers will take field trips to farms, learn how to care for small and large animals and do computer research.

"They're interested in their own pets and learning how to care for them," Ciancio says.


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