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05/01/2014 at 3:25pm

Summer CampSummer Camp Sign-Up Time

Summertime is just around the corner, and before you know it? Wham! School is out and vacation begins. If you are looking for a fun, well-supervised camping experience for your son or daughter, with perhaps a special interest or skill emphasis, then you have hit the jackpot. There are so many organizations offering various weekly sessions that just about any interest or need can be fulfilled. To make it a bit easier, we have put together a brief overview of some the programs that will take place in our island community this summer.

Bay Oaks Traditional and Specialty Summer Camp

Youth Program Coordinator Sarah Mayher knows the value of the Bay Oaks program. "It works for every kid on the island. I came here 20 years ago with all my friends. I loved it as a kid, and I want to make it something the kids nowadays can love, and I think we do that. We have the arts, the environment, sports - just about everything a kid could want." She adds, "I really can relate to them. I was a Bay Oaks kid."

Bay Oaks Traditional Summer Camp consists of 9 one-week sessions beginning on June 9th, with last session ending on August 8th, for children ages 6 - 13 years old. Drop-off time can be as early as 7:30 AM, with the structured programs generally running from 9 AM to 4 PM. Latest pickup time is 6 PM. The infamous "Messy Day", pool, beach and kayak days are some of the most popular activities, along with a field trip scheduled every Thursday.

There are several week-long 'Specialty Camps' offered as well. For more information about these and the traditional camp sessions, call Bay Oaks at 239-765-4222 or sign up online at

Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Summer Camp

It is impossible not to get excited about marine science when you talk with Joanne Semmer, President of the Ostego Bay Foundation and founder of this multilayered and proactive organization, whose mission is to "promote the understanding, preservation, and enhancement of our unique marine environment through education, research and community involvement."

In addition to the many ongoing programs and classes offered at the center, the science center conducts weekly camping sessions in the summer for children ages 6 - 15 years old who want to learn more about local marine life. The camp's state certified teachers lead the kids on boating and beach trips where they learn about things like sea grass communities, mangrove tangles, and bird nesting areas. For more information, call 239-765-8101 or download an application at

Edison Sailing Center at the Mound House

This one-week sailing camp, which will be held the week of July 7 - 11, is returning again to the Mound House. Stephanie Webb from the Edison Sailing Center says this is, in large part, due to islanders Art and Denise Monahan and their continued advocacy for youth sailing programs.

"In an effort to reduce the impact on the preserved property, we will offer a sailing program and tuck in a little STEM education 'disguised' as fun activities that relate to sailing: wind power, sail area, simple machines, etc.," Webb said about this year's camp.

For more information, call 239-454-5114 or send an email with your questions or comments to

Chapel By The Sea Vacation Bible School

Every summer, the folks at Chapel by the Sea offer a week of fun and fellowship for children who have completed Kindergarten through 5th Grade.

Miffie Greer, on the committee that oversees the program, says this year's camp will give the children a place to "have a good time and make new friends". Each day from June 23rd to June 27th, from 9 AM to Noon, the campers will hear a parable from the Bible that teaches a moral lesson, and the activities for that day will enhance the children's understanding while having a lot of fun with crafts, play acting, music and such.

For more information, call Chapel by the Sea at 239-463-3173.

British Soccer Camp at Bay Oaks

The Fort Myers Beach Soccer Club has teamed up with Challenger Sports to offer this exciting week-long camp July 28th - August 1st, where every child will be coached by a member of Challenger's elite team of British soccer coaches.

In addition to a daily regimen of foot-skills, moves, juggling, tactical practices and daily tournament play, this program weaves lessons on respect, responsibility, integrity, leadership and sportsmanship into the daily routine.

For children from ages 3 - 14, space is limited and parents are encouraged to sign their kids up online in advance at For more information, contact local soccer mom Beth Cherry at

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