Virtual Summer Camps offer Campers a Safe Summertime Option

. June 5, 2020.
Ann Arbor Art Center Artbox
Image courtesy of the Ann Arbor Art Center Facebook.

Summer camps are a fundamental learning experience for many students. But as the coronavirus pandemic rages on in Washtenaw County, institutions are rethinking how camps are being held. This has caused some institutions to make the change from in-person camps to virtual ones.

A number of area organizations have modified their summer camps, making the safe transition to virtual over in-person experiences. There is a wide variety of camps available, which makes finding the right selection for you and your camper a little easier.

Below is a list of Washtenaw County groups hosting virtual summer camps for students.

Ann Arbor Art Center

The Ann Arbor Art Center made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person camps this summer. However, that is not stopping the art center from getting kids interested in art and creativity.

“ArtBox: Summer Camp Edition” is an at-home art kit designed for campers between the ages 5 and 12. Over the summer, a total of six different themed ArtBox kits will be available for purchase. Changing themes include Focus on Color, Amazing Animals, and Tiny Wonders.

Each ArtBox will also feature instructions on how to log into three unique virtual camp sessions with an instructor throughout the week. All camp sessions are held remotely through Zoom. A single week ArtBox is $85, with a 50% discount for each additional box purchased. This virtual camp is available to order at annarborartcenter.org.

117 W. Liberty St, Ann Arbor. 734-994-8004. annarborartcenter.org.

Ann Arbor Rec & Ed

Ann Arbor Rec & Ed is in the process of moving its camps to a virtual format. Summer camps include art, dance, theater, STEAM, sport, and culinary activities. These camps will provide students with interactive projects, activities, and chances of learning to all campers. If there is something your camper is interested in, the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed probably has a camp for it.

Registration for virtual camps will be available online starting June 8. For more information go to aarecedcamps.com.

1515 S. 7th St, Ann Arbor. 734-994-2300. https://www.a2schools.org/reced.

Ann Arbor YMCA

The Ann Arbor YMCA is offering “Camp-in-a-Box,” a remote, at-home camp experience for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Each box contains educational activities and games for campers to complete throughout the week. These mini-camping adventures cover a variety of topics, including Superhero Academy, The Magical World of Disney, and Safari Adventure.

Each “Camp-in-a-Box” session also includes a virtual supplement, where campers can interact remotely with YMCA staff throughout the week. The cost to participate is $55 for members and $75 for non-members. 

Additionally, the YMCA is providing a “Sports in Society and Culture” virtual camp for students from ages 9 to 12. Campers will learn about the societal impacts that iconic sport figures have had throughout history. This interactive camp will include sports trivia and discussions. Prices sit at $25 for members and $35 for non-members.

Those interested in registering for either virtual camp experience can do so online at annarborymca.org.

400 Washington St, Ann Arbor. 734-996-9622. Annarborymca.org.

The Creature Conservancy

“Virtual Zoo Camps” is one way that The Creature Conservancy is adapting its summer camps strategy. This will allow children to continue to learn about nature and the animals all around us. Camps are available for students in grades 1 through 6. These week-long camp sessions consist of half hour Zoom chats for five days. Craft kits of three themed activities will also be included with the camp, and are available for pick-up.

Campers will learn about an array of animal related topics, from animal classifications to the differences between invertebrates and vertebrates. Registration costs $75 per camp and is available to online.

4940 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-929-9324. thecreatureconservancy.org.

Emerson School

Emerson School is hosting seven individual weeks of virtual summer camps beginning on June 22 and running through August 14. The wide variety of camps offered include Permaculture Gardening Skills, Creative Writing, and Quarantine Cooking. Emerson offers camps for students K-8, and most virtual camps will be conducted through Zoom.

Fees range between $65-90, and registration is currently open at emerson-school.org.

5425 Scio Church Rd, Ann Arbor. 734-665-5662. emerson-school.org.

Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College is offering a selection of virtual summer camps for students ages 8 to 18 that largely focus on coding and animation. Various camps include Code Master Javascript, 3-D Animation, Introduction to Drones for Youth, and Game Animators Unity. Most camps are five sessions (Monday through Friday) and cost $239-325.

Registration is available now on washtenaw.augusoft.net.

4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor. 734-973-3543. wccnet.edu.

Wild Swan Theater

Does your camper want to be a theater star? Look no further than Wild Swan Theater. Although they had to cancel their in-person summer camp, Wild Swan Theater has turned their camps into virtual stages for everyone to share. Registration for online camps will be announced soon! Keep an eye on when to register here.

Additionally, Wild Swan Theater also offers a chance for campers to write their own plays. With the Wild Swan int he Wings classes, students 8 and up will be able to write their own plays. You can even send your play into the theater for feedback from a professional.

Towsley Auditorium 4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor. 734-995-0530. wildswantheater.org

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Looking for a camp that’s sweeter than most? Zingerman’s Bakehouse is offering a selection of dough-licious virtual baking camps for kids. Campers will learn how to bake various treats during three, 1.5 hour sessions throughout the week.

After registering, participants will receive a grocery list to pick up the required ingredients for the camp. The camp will be held via Google Meets, and the class size is limited to 12 campers. 

The cost to participate is $90 for the three sessions. The first week of camps starts on June 15. Registration is available online at bakewithzing.com.

3711 Plaza Dr, Ann Arbor. 734-761-2095. zingermansbakehouse.com.