May 2012

Summer Vacation - Lowcountry Camps Offer Creative Outlets for Kids

Author: Debbie Szpanka

Ah, it’s summer. Remember the freedom you felt as a kid walking out of school on the last day of the year? There was nothing like it. Together, with our classmates, we used to count down the days until summer break and dream of what we would do during those hot, hazy, sun-drenched days. Truth be told, many of us desperately miss that time when our years were broken up with summer breaks and we had unstructured time to sleep in, hang out in shorts and flip flops and just meander through the day.

Now, as parents, this block of unstructured time can be as stressful to us as it is exhilarating for our kids. How do we fill these months? How do we juggle work schedules, search for activities and use this time in a constructive yet creative way? How do we give our children opportunities to create memories, hone hobbies and form new friendships in a supervised, safe and structured environment?

Several camps in the Lowcountry offer options, giving your children fun and educational ways to explore free time. These camps and sessions also give parents peace, knowing that your kids are safe, supervised and stimulated. Best of all, these camps and day programs allow kids to experience the magic of summer while keeping their minds moving forward to next year and beyond.

Lowcountry camps give children several all-day programs as well as offering a concentrated focus on activities ranging from sports to spiritual growth.

All summer long: comprehensive camps
If you need coverage for your children during the full workday, there are several summer sessions including Beaufort County’s Parks and Leisure Services (PALS) Summer Camp Program, Island Recreation Association All Day Summer Camp and local Boys & Girls Clubs’ Summer Programs.

The summer camp offered by Beaufort County’s Parks & Leisure Services is a 9-week program, starting June 18 through August 17. Camp hours begin at 7: 30 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m. Cost is $325 for the summer and special rates are available for those children who qualify for free or reduced lunch. There are two locations in Bluffton, the Buckwalter Regional Park and the Bluffton Recreation Center on Ulmer Road, and seven locations in the greater Beaufort area.

Amy Matthews, office and marketing manager for Beaufort County PALS, said besides the athletic opportunities, arts and crafts and talent/fashion shows, campers also have an opportunity to go on weekly field trips to water parks, movies, local restaurants and bowling alleys.

“We don’t have to advertise our program because we fill up so quickly,” Matthews said. “We design our camp so the children have a place to build their character, make new friends and have fun, summer memories. With the number of return campers, we feel assured the kids are having a fulfilling summer.”

Hilton Head Island’s Recreation Association, known to most as “The Island Rec Center,” also has an all-day summer camp available to students in kindergarten to eighth grade. The fee is $125 a week, which also includes weekly field trips. A “Challenge Camp” is also available for special needs children.

Leah Arnold, who coordinates Island Rec’s Summer Camp, said, “There’s no down time at camp; we offer such a wide range of activities so the campers can work on their sports, talents and life skills all summer long.”

In addition to the regular spectrum of activities, the summer camp teaches lifelong activities such as cooking and computers. Arnold also said guest speakers frequently visit camp to introduce students to other topics such as science and stars.

Local Boys & Girls Clubs also offer summer sessions. On Hilton Head Island, the session runs from June 11 through August 3. The summer session costs $350, and you can also pay by the month or the week.

Laura Vogel, assistant director of the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, said if a child takes advantage of all the activities offered at the club, the worth of the summer program would be upwards of $8,000 a child.

“The club has so many wonderful partnerships with our island neighbors and organizations that we are able to offer programs in sailing, boat rides, job shadowing, book club, tennis, golf, robotics, chorus, dance, gardening, and so much more.”

Cayenne Green, a 15-year old who has been going to the club for nearly a decade said her favorite part of the summer program is the trip to Disney World. In the past, club members just paid for the transportation. “I probably would have never been able to go to Disney World without the Club,” Green said. “Now, I have been four times.”

Camps to spotlight skills, train talents and focus on fun
Nearly 2,000 children and teenagers each summer kayak, skim board, paddle board and play and learn in the waters around the Lowcountry, thanks to Outside Hilton Head. Outside Hilton Head has offered water-based outdoor and environmental educational programs since 1979. It offers several one- or two-day summer sessions, which immerse children into Mother Nature’s local playground, complete with coastal ecology lessons, outdoor skills and fun.

Mike Overton, owner of Outside Hilton Head, said many of its camps are located on its private 30-acre chain of islands behind Daufuskie Island.

“When the kids land at Page Island, we often hear, wow, this is just like the island on the Survivor show,” Overton said. “Our summer camps are a great way to introduce kids to the history, culture and nature of the Lowcountry in a really fun way.”

If you want to stay landlocked and horse around all summer, the Moss Creek Equestrian Center offers a three-day-a-week program for children ages five through 12. “Horsing Around Days,” is a half-day program, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8: 30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents and visitors have participated in this barn-based camp to introduce kids to the equestrian lifestyle.

“We offer kids an opportunity to make new human and horse friends while learning how to care take of horses. The camp activities include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts throughout the barn and learning the basic of horsemanship,” said Cathy Stangroom, trainer at the Moss Creek Equestrian Center.
If your child is dreaming of a dance or theatrical career, check out the summer sessions at The Bluffton School of Dance and Performing Arts. The school has creative ways to trigger the theatre talent in dancers ages 3 to adult. “Camp Make Believe” introduces little stars, ages two to six, to theatrical performance and dance in a weeklong camp.

“Each week we have a theme such as mermaids, jungle safari, princesses and more. The kids come dressed in that theme and we have dance class, storytelling and arts and crafts which express that theme in different art forms,” said Dawn Rosa, owner of The Bluffton School of Dance. “At the end of camp, they transform all they have learned into a performance for their parents.”

Summer sessions are also available for toddlers, pre- school students, elementary school students, teenagers and adults. Dance classes are offered in ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop.

If you want to open your child to the world of performing arts in a professional theatre setting, The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is also offering several performing and visual art camps for children ages four through 17. One theatre camp introduces students to the various facets of live performance from Broadway choreography to hair and make-up for the stage. The Arts Center also offers a selection of courses for the visual arts.

Finally, summer can be a time of spiritual renewal for adults and their children. Many local churches offer vacation Bible school and other opportunities to strengthen a child’s or teenager’s spiritual expression during their time off.


Island Rec Summer Camps
Ages: 4-13
Time: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
June 11-15: “Slime, Grime, & Goop”
June 18-22: “I Like to Move It Move It”
June 25-29: “Creepy Crawlies”
July 2-6: “Stars & Stripes”
July 9-13: “Go Green”
July 16-20: “Camps Got Talent”
July 23-27: “Camp Holidaze”
July 30-August 3: “Go For the Gold”
August 6-10: “Blast to the Past”
August 13-17: “Peace Out”
Cost: $125 per week / $30 one-time registration fee
(843) 681-7173

Island Rec Challenge Camp for Children with Special Needs
Ages: 4-15
Time: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dates: June 11- July 27
Cost: $30 per week
(843) 681-7273

Island Rec Seahawk Youth Basketball Camp
Hilton Head Island High School
Ages: Grades 4-8
Time: 9-11:30 a.m.
Dates: Monday-Thursday; July 23-26
Cost: $60 (843) 681-7173

Island Rec Golf Camp Sponsored by British Open Pub
Old South Golf Links
Ages: 6 & up
Time: 9-11:30 a.m.
Dates: June 12-Aug. 14
Clinic: Tuesdays
Time: 10:30 a.m.-Noon
Cost: $25/per day, includes clubs, drinks & snacks

Camp: Thursdays
Ages: 7 & up
Time: 1-5 p.m.
Cost: $65/per day & includes clubs, drinks, snacks, USGA Rule Book, 2 hours of both instruction & course play
(843) 785-5353

The Sandbox Parents Night Out, Kids Night In
Ages: 3-9
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Dates: Wednesdays June 13-August 29
Cost: $30 per child (siblings and Sandbox members, $20 per child) (843) 842-7645

Horsin’ Around Days of 2012
Moss Creek Equestrian Center
Ages: 5-12
Time: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Dates: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Cost: $85/ day or $240/session
(843) 816-7830

Camp Make Believe
Bluffton School of Dance
Ages: 3-6
Time: 9 a.m.-noon
Dates: June 11-15 / July 30-August 3
Cost: $160 per week
(843) 815-2619

Bluffton School of Dance
Tiny Dance Classes
Ages: 2-2 1/2
Time: 10:30-11 a.m.
Dates: July 16-27 Tuesdays and Thursdays
Cost: $50 for two-week program (843) 815-2619

Bluffton School of Dance
Pre-School Dance Classes
Ages: 3-4
Dates: July 16-27 Tuesdays and Thursdays
Time: 11 a.m.-noon or 5:30-6:30 p.m. (843) 815.2619

Bluffton School of Dance Experienced Dancers Dance Classes
Ages: 8 & up
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Dates: July 16-27
Tuesday: Ballet and Jazz
Wednesday: Ballet and Tap
Thursday: Ballet and Hip Hop
Cost: $60 for one class / $100 for 2 classes / $130 for 3 classes (843) 815-2619

Coastal Discovery Museum Ocean Adventures
Mitchelville Beach Park
Ages: 7-11
Time: 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Dates: June 13
Cost: $45 for members / $60 for non-members
(843) 689-6767 ×223

Outside Hilton Head DAY Camps for Kids Offered early June through August

Skim Camp!
Ages 8 and Up
Days: Mon-Fri, (10AM-12PM), Tuesday, 9-11AM.
Price: $75. Includes equipment and Instructor.
Learn the basics and build a foundation in the area’s fastest growing and most exciting beach sport!

Discovery Days
Ages: 7 to 10.
Days: Tues & Wed., 9am-noon
Price: $95
An engaging camp for young adventurers that combines environmental education with kayaking and lots of FUN! Activities revolve around interpretive beach walks, marsh paddles and games.

Ages: 11 to 14
Days: Tues. & Wed., 9am-noon.
Price: $95
Older campers will learn the basics of kayaking while developing an understanding of the natural world through hands-on study of coastal ecology. An emphasis on FUN makes this camp very popular.

Kids Water Fun Day!
Ages 7 and Up.
Days: Friday mornings, 9am-noon.
Price: $55
A 3-hour program that is simply a blast!

Page Island Teen Expedition Overnight Camp
Ages: 12 to 15
Join our experienced staff for 3 days and 2 nights of Adventure learning on secluded and private Page Island. Kayaking, fishing, crabbing, tubing, team building initiatives and games during the day…and at night, tent camping, campfires, night sky exploration and things that glow in the dark!
For more info on ALL of Outside Hilton Head’s Summer Camps, call 843.686.6996 or visit

Youth Group Tennis Lesson
Chaplin Park
Ages: 5-6/ 7-9/ 10-12
Time: 3:45-4:45 p.m./ 4:45-5:45 p.m./5:45-6:45 p.m.
Dates: Tuesdays & Thursdays, May 8-24
Cost: $75
(843) 681-7173

HH Prep Sizzlin’ Summer Camps
Sports, Arts, Learning for all ages and interests
Cost: varies according to camp
(804) 441-3745

IDEA Studio
Weekly Art Summer Camps starting June 18
Times: 9-12pm or 1-4pm
Cost: $175 per week/ child
Contact: Ginny Taylor, 843.342.5439 or
Location: IDEA Studio, 21 Matthews Dr., Suite 2, Sutler’s Square
IDEA Studio will be offering a variety of unique & creative art summer camps for kindergartens through 6th grade. The studio offers instruction in various art mediums including drawing, painting, pottery, stained glass, jewelry making and more. Different Weekly themes throughout the summer include “Art Around the World,” “I’m a Famous Artist,” “Celebrate Red, White & Blue,” and “Let’s throw clay!”

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