There is no shortage of Champaign-Urbana area camps and other special activities for kids in the toddler-to-tween range, but if you’ve got a young teen, you’ve probably experienced the summer programming void. True, you’re not likely to find the same variety of week-long, half- or all-day camps for your older kid as you will for the younger ones, but there are still some great options for keeping them occupied this summer. (Keep in mind: if your child is older than 12, he or she might be able to actually earn a little money this summer through some good ol’ fashioned corn detasseling.)
The following is a list of area activities that welcome kids in the young teen range. As always, be sure to leave a comment if there’s anything we’ve forgotten:
Champaign Park District (Click to access the current Funformation guide for information on the programs listed below )
- Junior Lifeguard Academy (Ages 11-15)
- Cavalier Fencing Camp (Ages 8-14; beginners OK)
- Arrowhead Lanes Bowling Camp (Ages 8-17)
- Tennis (All ages and skill levels)
- The Wonderful World of Babysitting (Ages 11-15)
- Photography for Teens (Ages 14-18)
- Anime & Manga Drawing Lessons (Ages 12+ for black and white, ages 14+ for color)
- Teen Beginning Ballet (Ages 11-16)
Urbana Park District Counselors-in-Training Program In this program, your 13- to-16-year-old can volunteer with the park district’s summer camps; the goal is to train your child to one day apply for camp counselor positions. Hours are 15-20 per week from June 2nd-Aug. 1st.
CU Community Fab Lab Summer Workshop Camps: Do you kids love to make things? How about do they love Minecraft? Sign them up for summer workshops at the CU Community Fab Lab!Registration is now open, and camps are available for ages 8 through adult for everything from an introduction to the lab (Camp FabLab!) to building Paper Automata, to Wearable Electronics to Robotics to Minecraft. If your kids are mini-makers, they will Love the Fab Lab.
College for Kids is a summer tradition for many families in Champaign-Urbana, and it’s with good reason. They offer enriching and engaging classes in many subject areas such as arts, science, theatre, writing, and computers in a safe and fun environment. Many of the classes are offered for kids entering 5th-8th grade, and despite registration opening on May 1, there are still plenty of offerings for your tweens/ early teens. Have a Divergent Fan? College for Kids has a Choose Your Own Faction class. What about a budding environmental biologist? They offer Pond & Prairie class. Want to try out Kung Fu? Classes are filling up, so visit the Parkland website to learn more and to register now. Classes are offered June 16-26 and/or July 7-17 . Monday-Thursday, 12:15-2:15pm and/or 2:30-4:30pm.
The CCFP offers a few camps for kids up through grade 8. Your shutterbugs can attend Kids’ Camera in Nature offered at the Salt Fork Center, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, Wednesday, July 2 or Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Thursday, July 3, with both sessions offered from 1-4 p.m. The sessions are for children who have completed grades 4th-8th and are $10 per child. The program will help them explore nature through a camera. Kids should bring a digital camera if possible. A limited number of digital cameras are available on-loan for kids who do not have access to one. Kids will have the opportunity to participate in photographing insects for citizen science programs such as the Lost Ladybug Project and Beespotter. Each child will receive a CD of their favorite photos from the day.
**Thinking ahead for next year: The CCFPD offers a Counselor in Training program for kids ages 11-17. The application deadline was in mid-April. But, if you are one that likes to plan ahead, keep this in mind for next summer!**
Are you a middle or high school student who likes to write? Would you like to learn new techniques and experiment with fun, cutting edge technology? Consider the U of I Summer Young Writers Camps. Held at Urbana High School July 21-25, 2014 from 10:00am-3:00pm (snack and lunch included). Registration for the camp has been extended to June 1st. Check out their website for more information.
Pretty much if your tween or teen plays it, the U of I has a summer sports camp or clinic for it. Check out their website for a full list of offerings, times, dates and camp specific information.
Fighting Illini Head Coaches offer a variety of Summer Sport Camps. Co-Ed camps are offered in Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming, and Tennis. Additionally, exclusive camps for boys and girls are also offered. The Boys camps are Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Track & Field, and Wrestling. The Girls camps are Basketball, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Track & Field, and Volleyball. Team Camps are available in Basketball, Football, Volleyball and Wrestling.
Tap In Leadership Academy: Summer Enrichment Program is a multicultural six-week program for students entering 5-12 grade. Housed at the McKinley Foundation on University of Illinois campus, each week, scholars explore a different culture/world area through hands-on learning facilitated by university professionals. Please go to their website for more information, including dates of the academy.
Illinois Summer Youth Music
ISYM is not a day camp; students are housed in the Illinois Street Residence Halls on the University of Illinois campus. ISYM is a preeminent music camp in the Midwest, and it’s here in our backyard. With phenomal facilities, instructors, and not to mention the fun of staying the dorms, if your tween or teen loves music, this is the camp experience for them. Please check the website for registration information, as some sessions are now closed depending on what instrument you play. Camps run June 15 – 21, June 22 – July 28, July 6 – July 12 and are for junior high and high school students.
Dates: July 13– July 19
Ages: open to academically talented girls who will enter grades 9 through 12 in fall 2014. – See more at: https://www.chambanamoms.com/2014/02/17/2014-champaign-urbana-summer-camps-guide/#sthash.lYO368wR.dpuf
Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (GAMES) at the University of Illinois. Open to academically talented girls who will enter grades 9 through 12 in fall 2014, this camp is now Full. However, if you want to plan ahead for summer 2015, visit their website and let them know you want your girl to attend in 2015.
4-H Memorial Camps, Monticello (residential camp): Five days or three days of fun and adventure in the out-of-doors. Champaign County and non 4-H children welcome. Visit their website for camp dates, fees, and openings. For children ages 8-16.
Soccer Planet is offering summer camps for your soccer crazy middle school and high school aged kids this summer. They have camp options up through age 18. Visit their website for more details.
Stephens Family YMCA offers several camps that go up to age 14.
Ages: students entering 5th – 12th grade – See more at: https://www.chambanamoms.com/2014/02/17/2014-champaign-urbana-summer-camps-guide/#sthash.lYO368wR.dpuf
Vacation Bible School (or other summer camps at your place of worship) Check with your place of worship (or a welcoming local congregation); they may seek or welcome “big kid” volunteers to help make the week’s activities run smoothly.
Rachael McMillan teaches sixth and seventh grade history at Campus Middle School for Girls. She also tutors at The Reading Group and serves as the education coordinator for Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer in downtown Champaign. She is totally in love with her Chambana life, which she shares with husband Scott, third grader Jack, second grader Kate, and super smiley baby William.