This year's summer camps in Delaware will allow students to participate in everything from swimming to spelunking.
The Delaware City School District's School Age Child Care program provides daytime camps for families with working parents. The program's weeklong camps, running from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Aug. 1, accommodate three age groups: elementary school, grades 5-6, and grades 7-8.
Around 200 students typically participate in the elementary school camps, with 35 and 10 in the other two camps, respectively.
Karen Jackson, director of SACC programming, said the elementary school summer camps have a different look and feel than the regular programming during the school year.
"We want to make sure the kids are engaged in learning and being physically active, but really want them to have fun," Jackson said. "We don't want them to feel like they're still in school."
Every day starts with a flag ceremony, with announcements from camp counselors and songs. "It's really a camp atmosphere," Jackson said. "Even though we do use the school buildings, it doesn't have the school feel."
Each week, students can choose from three themes: physical, arts or exploration.
Some of the physical activities include baseball, golf and net sports. The arts courses include crafts, fine arts, pottery and signing. The exploration classes include science, journalism and detective work.
Regardless of the theme, the camps feature one guest speaker per week and two field trips.
Already this summer, students have seen the new Africa exhibit at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, took a swim at Mingo Park, and visited the Anthony Thomas chocolate factory.
Other field trips will include COSI, the Olentangy Indian Caverns, hikes in area parks, ice skating, roller skating, the Works Museum and the Ohio History Museum.
Weekly guest speakers will include a volcanist and a farmer who raises llamas.
The fifth- and sixth-grade camp has many of the same activities, but includes more-involved tasks such as writing stories, organized challenges at the pool and researching mythical heroes.
A pilot ecology summer camp for seventh- and eighth-grade students also is being offered this summer. The three-day-a-week camp is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Grant designed to give students job skills.
The camp consists of learning about biology, botany and invasive plant species. Students have been spending time in the wetlands learning how to eradicate invasive species such as honeysuckle and wild mustard.
Students bring their own lunches to camp, but morning and afternoon snacks are provided.
"We say that if the kids fall asleep in the car on the way home, we've done our jobs," Jackson said. "And if you see a Delaware school bus driving around this summer, just know it's our kids having fun."
For more information, call the district SACC office at 740-833-1853.