Left to right, Quinn Callahan, 10, Clara Brady, 8, Asha Rountree, 10, and Lizzy Brady, 10, prepare to rock climb at the Rock About Climbing Adventures Camp in Reimer's Ranch Wednesday July 13, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando

Clara Brady, 8, scampers up the rock face at Reimers Ranch Park in Dripping Springs. Below her, Asha Rountree, 10, belays the ropes under the watchful eye of Adam Mitchell, the head of Rock About Climbing Adventures Camp.

He gives out instructions like “there’s a hole right there,” or “all the way over with your left hand.” He tells the belayer to give more slack or to avoid crossing the ropes.

In North Austin at Fantastic Magic Camp, Alex Friedman teaches a group of about 20 kids a sleight-of-hand trick using a bead and two shoestrings. “Notice what I did,” he says as he teaches them how to “tie” the strings in a way that looks like the bead is attached to them when it’s not really. Then he shows them how to sneakily palm the bead to hide it from an audience.

In Southwest Austin, three different groups of kids are making art inspired by pets at Art Garage. The preschoolers are making airplanes out of paperclips for “Paw Patrol.” The grade-schoolers are making story quilts using geometric designs done in oil pastels, washed by watercolors, based on Faith Ringgold’s work. The middle-schoolers are painting paper they will later cut and paste into Pete Comer-inspired birds. Elsewhere, an older group is exploring the Blanton Museum and visiting an artist’s studio before coming back to the Art Garage to create art.

These are three of the camps held one day last summer in Austin. Whether you’ve got preschoolers or high-schoolers, Austin’s camp scene has something for everyone all summer long. Your challenge: finding the one that your kids want to attend, at the right week, for the right price and in the right part of town.

Higher and higher

Rock About Climbing Adventure Camp is an adventurous kid’s dream. Each day for five days, Mitchell takes kids to a different natural climbing wall. They start out with easier climbs at the Barton Creek greenbelt the first two days, then head to Reimers Ranch Park for two days, then finish the week at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Each day they climb in the morning, stop for lunch, and then go for a swim in a natural creek or pool. At Enchanted Rock, they also climb through a cave.

It’s a small group, so each kid gets individual attention, and they can climb as many times as they want, Mitchell says. He encourages each kid to at least try a climb once.

Last year, Lizzy Brady, 10, was encouraged to climb, even though she wasn’t as eager as her sisters. “It’s fun,” she says, “but scary. I don’t like to climb. I cried the whole way up.”

Mitchell assures her. “It’s not dangerous,” he says. “You know you have a lot of protection.”

“Yes,” she answers him, then adds, “swimming is a lot of fun.”

A future rock climbing champion she might not become, but she’s encouraged to try this climb.

Safety is always at the forefront. The climbers learn how to communicate with one another and check the ropes before they start to climb. “They’ve got to be responsible for someone else,” Mitchell says. “It’s amazing what that one thing will teach you.”

Because it’s a small group, with only two climbers at a time, Mitchell is there to remind them what to do and make sure they are being safe first.


Mitchell supplies the helmet, the harness and the climbing shoes. The kids just need to bring a lunch, water, a towel and swim gear.

“Oh, this is too cool,” Asha says as she gets to the rock face they’re going to climb that day.

The Brady sisters, who in addition to Clara and Lizzy include older sister Kate, 12, have climbed indoor rock walls but never outside before they tried this camp.

“This is way more fun than other camps,” Kate Brady says. She likes that it’s a small camp as well as that it’s outside and they get to hike and swim.

Quinn Callahan, 10, is excited as he rappels down the rock. “I made it all the way to the top!” he says. “I could have climbed more and more.”


Fantastic Magic Camp attendees gather around the main room as they wait for camp to start. Then comes the announcement: “Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for. You’ve been waiting for it, and you don’t even know it.” This day, an ordinary Thursday in July, will now be known as Judi Day. Why? Because an attendee named Judi is having a birthday, and each year her birthday is forgotten. Judi also has become sort of the camp scapegoat each session, and so to honor her, it will be Judi Day and everyone will be named Judi. (Oh, and the real Judi is totally loving all this attention!)

Make sense? No? Don’t worry. A lot of Fantastic Magic Camp doesn’t make sense unless you’re a camper in it … and then, once you start as a camper, you might not ever leave. Seriously. You might turn into a counselor in training and then a counselor. That’s what happened to Friedman, who, at 19, is a college student at Brandeis University, but he’s been at camp since he was 6. “I’ve always had magic stuff with me,” he says. Anytime people find out he knows magic, they come up to him and ask, “Oh, show me a trick!” he says.

He starts kids off with a few simple tricks as well as teaching them magic terms and bringing more and more difficult tricks to the older kids.

While kids are learning from Friedman in the big room, another set of counselors and counselors in training are teaching juggling. Kids are spinning plates and moving diabolo sticks in the air.

“I really want to learn how to do the swords,” says Gavin McFarlen, 11. He has tried it. “I’m still alive,” he says. “I haven’t been hurt yet.”

In a different room, the youngest kids are making puppets out of paper plates. Each day, it’s a different kind of puppet, and not just making them but giving them names and personalities.

Fantastic Magic Camp has been running for 24 years and tried a variety of classes. No year or day is the same.



“I love that I get to learn new things,” says camper Kat O’Brien, 12, who has been coming for two years.

Fantastic Magic Camp caters to all kinds of kids, including those who might have trouble in traditional social settings or have anxiety, attention deficit disorder or are on the autism spectrum. “I like how accepted everyone is,” says camper Hayden Misenti, 12, who has been at camp since age 7. “There’s all different kinds of people.”

Hayden also likes the performance academy that happens at the end of each session. “It allows people to show off,” Hayden says.

Director Peter Hinrichs, who goes by the stage name Peter the Adequate, says parents will tell him all the time that “my son or daughter found their people” at camp.

Wild about art

At the Art Garage each week, art takes on a different theme. On this particular week it’s all about pets, tied to the movie “The Secret Life of Pets.” Each group, no matter how young, is making art based on the masterpieces of artists who came before them. The kids study the works of the masters as well as contemporary artists with each project.

In the youngest group, each table of four kids is named after a different artist. The instructor calls for the Monet table or the Van Gogh table as they take turns flying their Da Vinci planes.

Each group makes art in a variety of media, from paper sculpture to clay to paintings to collage to sewing. Some days they work on a couple of little projects; other days they might be working on one big project or take the next step on a project they’ve already started.



“I love animals, and I love art, and then putting them together is awesome!” says Erin Shick, 11.

While each work is based on a famous artist, the kids make it their own by drawing or painting what they love: “Minecraft,” their own pets, “Pokemon,” San Francisco.

Aubry Morrison, 7, is painting a story quilt that includes her favorite colors and her pet cat, Charlie. “I like painting and drawing,” she says. “I love all the art.”

Five-year-old Izzy Mattis is enthusiastic about camp. “There’s lot to do,” she says. “We wish we could never go home.”




What: Learn to rock climb at outdoor climbing areas.

Where: Meets at Seismic Wall Barton Creek greenbelt, 3755 S. Capital of Texas Highway

Who: Ages 9 and older

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., except on Fridays when it is 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One-week camps June 5-Aug. 4.

Cost: $399

Information: (512) 415-0804 , rock-about.com



What: Learn magic, juggling, puppeteering and more.

Where: 7500 Woodrow Ave.

Who: Ages 5-12

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with extended time from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two-week camps June 12-Aug. 18; one-week camp June 5-9.

Cost: $590 for two-week camps, $295 for one-week camp

Information: 512-988-3045, magiccamp.com



Art camps

What: Half-day art camps with themes like galaxy, sharks, rainbows, “Pokemon,” Disney, monsters, dragons, animals, horses, comics and France

Where: 11190 Circle Drive, Suite 202

Who: Ages 4-13; camps are divided by age group.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an early and aftercare option. One-week camps June 5-Aug. 18.

Cost: $269



What: It’s a traveling art class. Visit the Blanton Museum, Contemporary Austin downtown or Laguna Gloria, plus art studios and public works, and learn techniques like wheel pottery throwing, metalsmithing and bookbinding.

Who: Sixth- to 10th-graders

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. One-week camps June 12-July 28.

Cost: $445-$465

Information: 512-852-9900, theartgarageaustin.com



Mackenzie Abbitt (cq) left speed dates with mentor Hilary Corna (cq) at GenAustin's Pathfinder camp at Google Fiber's downtown Austin location on June 16, 2016. GenAustin's Pathfinder is for girls grades 9-12 and teaches them how to be business leaders and entrepreneurs. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando

The high school girls at Girls Empowerment Network’s Pathfinder Leadership Summit are mingling with professional women at the Austin headquarters of Google Fiber. The last time these girls were in this building was probably when it was the Austin Children’s Museum. Now they are all grown up and learning skills to help them find a pathway toward a career.

Sometimes camps for high-schoolers are hard to find, plus there’s pressure kids face of doing something in the summer to advance college applications. This camp provides that, and not for thousands of dollars, either.

The girls apply to be part of the camp and pay $450 for six days of interacting with professional women at different businesses throughout Austin. Scholarships also are available.

On this day, the girls and mentors start with a game of “Would You Rather?” Questions are asked, like, “If you had to take a test, would you choose an essay where you can free write and explain all your thoughts or would you choose a multiple choice exam?” The group divides by their answer into different corners of the room and starts talking to someone they haven’t met.

Later, they have a speed mentorship round (much like speed dating). The girls sit on one side of the table, the mentors on the other side. The girls have a series of questions to ask like: How did you end up in your current job? What did you learn in college and how does it impact your current job? What skills do you do every day?

Then Ami Kane, development director at GEN, tell the group that “because our girls have a ton of knowledge and expertise as well” the mentors should ask questions, too, such as: What do you want to do after college? What are you most excited about? What makes you nervous?

Kane tells the girls that they should go off-script if they get to a table and are like “Oh, my God, she has my dream job! I don’t care about any of these questions.”

The speed mentoring begins and through multiple rounds, the girls meet all kinds of women with real jobs. Sandra Bryant, a benefit specialist at the University of Texas, tells Unique Shanklin, a Bowie High School ninth-grader, about pursuing her dream: “Go for it. Don’t be shy. Jump out there.”

Bryant advises Unique to read a lot to increase her future knowledge.


Sheila Garcia, who is in marketing, talks to Riya Chaundhry, a McNeil sophomore, about high school. She shares with Riya that in high school she didn’t want to ask questions. “It’s OK to ask for help,” Garcia says. She advises Riya, who wants to be a pediatrician, to reach out to a pediatrician to find a mentor.

Mackenzie Abbitt, an 11th-grader at Hendrickson High School, shows her art portfolio to Sandra Bucklin, who is in marketing at Rackspace. “Continue to nurture your passion,” Bucklin advises. “I think this is amazing. … You have the talent. You just need the confidence.”

Sydnee Williams, a 12th-grader at Vandegrift High School, called Pathfinder “empowering and inspirational.” “They care about you, and they want the best for you as well,” she said.

GEN wants girls to come out of the conference with confidence and skills, says Blair Stirek, project manager for GEN. “We want them to learn about public speaking and how to write a résumé but also we want them to find their path,” she says. “We want all the opportunities presented to them, and they can choose what to do with their lives.”

Rithi Mulgaonker, a 12th-grader at LASA high school, said she came to Pathfinder with an idea about what she wanted to do, but “my mind has been open, my eyes have been open. Now I’m kind of flustered. … I feel like I haven’t been exposed to this much advice and leadership skills ever. … I have met numerous women who are inspirational, passionate about their jobs and are super educated in whatever field they want to go in.”

The experience would help any woman, says Kayla Ford, an 11th-grader at Akins High School. “If you do this, you’re getting a head start and different connections to help you,” she said.

Pathfinder is about girls discovering “their unique strengths,” Stirek said. “We want them to get excited about that and their futures.”


Pathfinder Leadership Summit

What: Girls Empowerment Network’s personal and professional development program.

Where: Girls Empowerment Network’s Office, 3000 S. Interstate 35, Suite 400.

Information: girlsempowermentnetwork.org. Apply at blair@girlsempowermentnetwork.org, 512-808-4044, ext. 106.

Who: Girls entering ninth grade-12th grade.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 12-16 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 17.

Cost: $450, scholarships available.

GEN also has camps for younger girls. Find more at girlsempowermentnetwork.org.



Statesman Content Marketing

Young Peoples Workshop (YPW) in Austin, TX offers a unique spin on summer camp, with customizable camp options and even a full-immersion Spanish Day Camp that are sure to make your child’s summer one of learning, creativity and fun.

Available to children ages three to twelve, YPW leads over 28 camps including science, art and technology camps offered in English. These camps include “The Scientific Artist” where your child will discover the artistic side of science (i.e. the difference between light and pigment), “Engineering FUNdamentals” where campers learn how engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge to design machines and devices through hands-on activities, and “Mosaics & Sculptures” where your child will utilize no-bake clay, glass tiles, wire, fabric and more to create beautiful sculptures and mosaics. Campers can choose a variety of classes to create a customized schedule based on their interests.

“We have a camp for every child’s curiosities,” said Monica Moreno, director of YPW. “We make learning exciting by creating an interactive and individualized experience for every camper.”

YPW also offers the “YPW Spanish Immersion Day Camp.” This is the only YPW camp offered in Spanish, and all activities are conducted entirely in Spanish, with beginner to advanced levels for preschool to middle school age groups.

“The best way to learn a language is to become completely immersed in it,” said Moreno. “Even beginner students become quickly comfortable with this method of education.”

Instructors use a playful teaching style, with dramatic presentation, songs, games, miming and gestures to enhance both comprehension and fun during this full-immersion camp experience. Spanish Camp features unique curriculum such as how to prepare and cook traditional Latin American dishes, as well as a variety of field trips to a Latin Supermarket, Latin TV News Station, Austin Zoo, Mexican-American Cultural Center and more.

YPW is also helping to ease the registration and selection process for parents by designing a customized summer camp schedule, ensuring a rich and diverse experience for the camper. This “YPW customized camp experience” is available at www.ypwkids.com/specialcampschedule. Parents can fill out the online form, and YPW will custom-select camps in both English and Spanish for each campers. YPW can also customize the whole summer to include only camps in science, technology and art in English, or a combination of both English and Spanish camps.

YPW Camps run Monday through Friday from June to August, with full and half day options available. All YPW instructors are certified schoolteachers or highly trained professionals with extensive experience. For the summer camp registration form and more information about YPW, please visit www.ypwkids.com.




Shloak Gupta dumps a plastic cup of water on unsuspecting Jaedon Molinar as they play the Drip, Drip, Drop game as part of the festivities in the summer camp Olympics. The kids are from the Pflugerville YMCA. The YMCA of Austin is hosting its 2015 Summer Camp Olympics Friday, July 24, at the Texas School for the Deaf. The Summer Camp Olympics is designed to engage children in good old fashioned fun and to get a little wet on a hot day. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By Nicole Villalpando
Austin American-Statesman

We know you’re thinking about spring break, but summer vacation is only 14 weeks away. Not to stress you out, but some of the most popular camps already might have waiting lists. Now is the time to form a plan.

Here are 15 things to consider when looking at the thousands of possibilities:

1. Evaluate last year’s camps. Will you return? Did they end up being a good fit for your kids? Can you afford them? You might want to ask the camp if there were any concerns with your child last year. If your child told you camp was fine but the counselor reported that your child didn’t socialize with anyone or was disruptive, it might not be the right camp for your child. Also check out how the camp might have changed from the year before. If it’s a new curriculum or entirely new staff, it might not be as enjoyable.

2. What is your summer schedule? Which weeks will you be going on vacation? Which weeks might a family member be able to cover, or one parent or the other? Get an old-fashioned calendar and plot out each week. Put potential camps in pencil as you find them. Put the vacations and Camp Grandma/Grandpa/Daddy/Mommy in ink.

3. What is your budget? It’s really easy to get out of hand. Set the budget in advance and figure out how much that averages per week, per kid. Be realistic. You are not going to find much for less than $200 or $300 a week. If your kids have their hearts set on really expensive camps, plan for less expensive camps the other weeks, as well as ask about scholarships.

4. What hours do you need covered each day? Can you really pick up a kid from a camp that lets out at noon or 3 p.m., or do you need everyone to stay at camp until after 5 p.m.? Also, can you start work at 9:30 a.m.? If not, those camps that start before 9 a.m. are not going to work for you, are they?

5. Where do camps need to be located? Do you want to spend your summer on MoPac Boulevard or Interstate 35 as you try to get your Round Rock-living kids to a South Austin camp or vice versa? If not, limit the possibilities according to where you’re willing to drive each day, twice a day.

6. Are there camps that would be a good fit for all of your children? This is often a hard thing to find. What might be age-appropriate for one kid might be too juvenile for another. Also, if your kids have vastly different interests, it would be hard to find a camp everyone likes. If you can’t find one camp for all, find camps that are near one another, so you’re not having to pick up kids at opposite ends of MoPac Boulevard at 5 p.m.

7. What are your kids interested in and what would they like to try? Summer camp is an amazing time to try out a new activity. If your son has always said he wants to do gymnastics after school, use summer camp as a testing ground. Also consider your kid’s personality before you choose. If your daughter hates art and would rather build with blocks, a pottery camp is not a good choice but a Lego camp is.

8. Where are their friends going? Pick up recommendations from fellow moms, but also consider trying out something new with a friend. It makes it easier to transition into camp if your kid has a buddy.

9. Where does your kid want to go? Sometimes we get so busy in the planning that we forget to ask for their opinions. So ask, then get them to prioritize the list. If you have three camps that you can only get them into on the same week, you will know which one to choose. Or if you can only afford one of your child’s dream camps, you know which one it should be.

10. Is your kid ready for an overnight camp? This might be the year you venture out to overnight camp. Consider if your child can stay overnight at a friend’s house successfully. Consider if your child can take care of basic needs such as dressing themselves, showering and brushing their teeth and hair. OK, some teens still struggle with this, but if your child has never done all of these things independently, work on that before signing her up.

11. What is the staffing like? Ask about ratios and what kinds of breaks the counselors get. Ask if every counselor is first-aid and CPR-certified, what kind of training they do and if the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.

12. Follow word of mouth. Your fellow parents, your kids’ teachers and counselors can give you recommendations about what camps they have tried or heard good things about. Also, ask them which camps they will never do again or have not heard good things about.

13. Is the camp right for my child with differences? If your child has special needs or quirks, ask the camp if it has had similar campers and what it did to accommodate them. This, of course, applies to kids who have learning differences, sensory issues and physical disabilities, but it also might apply to kids who have food, pollen and insect allergies, medical issues such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis, or personality differences such as fear of the dark or fear of animals. You want to know what kind of medical care they will have access to, what kind of accommodations can be used and what kinds of activities will be happening to make sure it’s a match.

14. What are the campers like? Has everyone been going to the same camp all summer long? Your child who comes in the fourth week might have trouble fitting in. The same is true if most of the campers went to daycare there or have been going to that camp since they were in kindergarten. Ask about the boy-girl ratio, as well as the age ratio. If most of the kids at a camp for grades kindergarten through fifth are first- or second-graders, your fourth-grader is going to hate it.

15. What is your backup plan? If you get to camp and after a few days, your kid hates it, gets kicked out or needs to come home, is there somewhere that will take your child for the rest of that week?

It’s a jungle of possibilities out there. Use our camp guide to help you find the right one.

Statesman Content Marketing

Since 2006 TexARTS, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) performing and visual arts center, has called the Lake Travis area home.  Located in the heart of Lakeway, TexARTS has served thousands of Austin area students by offering year-round arts education classes in voice, dance, acting and the visual arts.  Additionally, the TexARTS Academy produces a full season of completely staged youth and teen musicals.

TexARTS has an incredible summer planned, offering full day, half day and mini camps in dance, theatre, voice and visual arts.  TexARTS will kick off the summer with the musical theatre production of the Broadway hit Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” (June 5-25).  Young actors, ages 7 – 14, of all levels are invited to audition for this three-week production-based camp. The Youth Summer Musical allows students to rehearse while receiving instruction in acting, dance and vocal technique. The camp culminates in public performances on June 22 – 25 at the Kam & James Morris Theatre at TexARTS. Placement auditions will be held the first day of camp and everyone gets a role!

TexARTS will also continue to offer the popular series of youth summer performing and visual arts camps and a variety of programming for children and teens of all levels. This year’s lineup includes the youth acting intensive  “The Cinderella Chronicles” (June 26 – July 7) and “Charlotte’s Web” (July 17 -28), and a dance technique intensive (August 7-11) led by Broadway veteran Darren Gibson.

The weekly “Best of” camps offer students the opportunity to learn songs, scenes and choreography from various Broadway shows including MOANA, WICKED, ANNIE, HAIRSPRAY, and other kid friendly musicals.  These week-long camps are under the guidance of experienced professionals and will focus on basic vocal technique, acting skills, dance and musical theatre.  Each “Best of” camp ends with a public performance for friends and family.

Young painters, sculptors and artists have the opportunity to enroll in four different visual arts camps.  Each session is designed to let campers work with different materials and focus on various techniques.

Campers, ages 2 – 4, can take part in the fun by enrolling in a Mini Camp.  Mini Camps are an exciting introduction to the world of theatre.  Weekly themes include Super Heroes Unite, Elsa and Olaf’s Summer Vacation and the Cat in the Hat’s Madcap Adventure.  It’s a summer you won’t want to miss.

TexARTS summer session begins June 5 and run through August 18. Camps will be held at TexARTS in the Erin Doherty Studios (2300 Lohmans Spur, Suite #160, Lakeway, TX). For more information or to register for TexARTS upcoming performing and visual arts summer camps, please visit www.tex-arts.org or call 512-852-9079 x104.


Two happy boys enjoying kayak on the river

Summer dawns, which means one thing for thousands of Texas children: camp.

Here are the questions every parent should ask when choosing a summer camp for their children,

  1. What is the camper to teacher ratio for the majority of the day?
  2. How do they handle supervision of children, discipline issues?
  3. . What age groups will be combined together? (If you have a younger child, you may not want them mixed with older children.)
  4. What is the schedule for the program, what will they be doing each day? Review how much is downtime versus planned activities.
  5. Ask the qualifications of the teacher? Age, training, years working with children: especially ask who has First Aid and CPR
  6. Does all staff have satisfactory and up-to-date criminal background checks?
  7. What is the policy for handling injuries and illness?
  8. What does the physical space and outside play area look like? Can children wander away or can outsiders reach them? Are there fences, locks or other precautions?
  9. Do the campers go swimming or near water? Do they take swim proficiency tests? Is there a lifeguard on duty? What are the ratios for supervision in water?
  10. What insurance does the program carry? Do they have liability insurance?

Consideration for field trips

  1. Who is driving the vehicle and what is their driving record?
  2. Are there safety restraints in the vehicle?
  3. How far do they go on field trips?
  4. What is their procedure for checking the vehicle to ensure no child is left on?
  5. How many teachers attend a field trip?
  6. Is there a vehicle inspection report?

By Susan Brunk, M. Ed. Associate Director of Curriculum, Stepping Stone School

In the spirit of fall, I took my children to a nearby farm for some outdoor fun.  Squatting in a small field, I attempted to capture some cute pumpkin patch photos while the children sat on the itchy hay squinting in the sunlight:

“It too bright, Mommy!” my three-year-old says. My older daughter whines, “I’m hot!” And then the baby falls back, hits her head on a pumpkin and begins to wail. Outdoor time over…

All too often outdoor time is grouped in the “Maybe later…” category of our lives or we shorten it to fifteen minute chunks of time and call it recess. Why is that, I wonder? Maybe it’s the challenge of getting out there… sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, insect repellent, proper footwear, proper outer wear, etc. Or the fears that have become associated with the outdoors: sunburn leads to skin cancer, mosquito bites lead to Zika virus, and boisterous play leads to broken bones.

In a startling statistic by James Campbell in his publication “Are we Raising a Generation of Nature-Phobic Kids?” he states, “Many children now spend less than 30 minutes per week playing outside. It’s not just kids and their preoccupation with iPads and video games, or busy streets and ‘stranger danger’ that is fueling the disinclination to get outdoors. It’s a widespread phenomenon. Grown-ups fare little better. Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that adults, too, spend 93% of their lives inside buildings or vehicles, living under what nature writer Richard Louv calls ‘protective house arrest.” (ExchangeEveryDay, Sept. 6, 2016)

Less than 30 minutes PER WEEK!  As I attempt to pick my jaw up off the floor, consider the following:

  • According to research, children who play outdoors regularly are happier, healthier, stronger, and more imaginative than children who do not spend time outdoors. (Head Start Body Start, 2014)
  • Time spent outdoors is the best way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for a properly functioning immune system and plays a role in regulating a person’s mood. (Head Start Body Start, 2014)
  • As time spent outdoors has dwindled, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled over the past three decades. (Spencer, 2007)
  • Outdoor play provides ample opportunity for children to practice and develop physically through ball-handling skills, climbing, jumping, and running. (Pica, 2014)
  • Imaginative play outdoors fosters independence, social skills, and cooperation. (Pica, 2014)
  • Playing outside provides children with the opportunity to connect with nature and builds a healthy respect for nature. (Spencer, 2007)

So, the next time you are tempted, to again place outdoor time in the “Maybe later…” category consider the benefits which ultimately outweigh the momentary hassles and allow your children to soak up the sunshine and fun.

Statesman Content Marketing

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School is hosting a summer of fantastic camp experiences for all young artists from Austin, Central Texas and beyond.

All Camps are hosted on the beautiful 370 acre St. Stephen’s campus nestled in the hills of West Austin.  The campus offers breathtaking views and state-of-the-art facilities perfect for camps.  Our fine arts facilities include a 400 seat theater, dance studios, recording studios, photography studio and a darkroom as well as art classrooms and numerous other performance spaces. 24 hour security ensures peace of mind for all parents regardless of whether your child is attending either our day or residential camps. We have something for those interested or talented in photography, improvisational acting, singing, playing in a band, directing, producing or movie making.

The World of Improv is an exploration of all aspects of improv comedy and theatre performance. From storytelling, to off-the-cuff scene work to straight up wacky gameplay, you’ll be certain to get a heavy dose of hilarious as Mr. Sweetlamb (a near 20-year veteran of improv who has trained at Second City, UCB, and other awesome places in NYC, Chicago, and LA) delves deep into his bag of tricks. These will not be games played in any theatre class run by Mr. Sweetlamb at St. Stephen’s but a whole new slate of fun and funny games.

Photography Camp is an introductory photography course designed for middle and high school students. Students will be introduced to basic principles of photography (f-stops, shutter speeds, composition, lighting) and the digital darkroom, including basic Photoshop techniques. Students will have the opportunity to shoot a variety of subjects, including portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Individual interests and ideas are encouraged as students build their portfolios. The daily schedule will include shooting time in the studio and in the natural environment on campus. The course will end with a brief introduction to alternative processes such as cyanotypes.

VocalEase Singing Camp.  Experiencing the whole body as the vocal instrument creates a foundation for developing a singer’s fullest potential.  In VocalEase Singing Camp, young singers will learn the mechanics of the vocal instrument, will be coached with the most current and cutting edge methods of voice training in bodywork and alignment, and practice the stability and beauty of traditional Bel Canto training. Singers can step into a new level of vocal freedom to optimize creative vocal expression.

Rock On!  Each summer there are some kids who don’t want to play sports or make pottery. They want to wear ripped jeans and play their music loud.  Introducing Rock On. Campers will experience the evolution of Rock through band formation, songwriting and specialized instruction. Our budding rock stars will record, mix and produce each other’s music. They’ll practice like pros, with pros. Camp will conclude with a couple of performances for our new bands.

Texas Arts Project offers a personalized artistic journey combining inter-disciplinary coursework, individual attention from industry professionals, artistic challenges encouraging growth, and a safe space for students from all backgrounds to overcome personal artistic obstacles. There is no benchmark at TAP camp. We believe that with direction and motivation, each camper can push beyond his or her perceived personal limitations. Teachers use the small classes as an opportunity to advance and enhance each student’s personal journey. Fast-paced, professional-style rehearsals and film shoots allow campers to excel as both artists and people. Campers leave with a sense of personal fulfillment, often exhibiting greater self-confidence, a deeper passion for their art form and a true commitment to themselves, their art, and the people around them.

For more information about all summer programs at St. Stephen’s please go to www.sstx.org/summercamps contact Shane Maguire at smaguire@sstx.org or call 512-327-1213.


Statesman Content Marketing

Imagine the creative answers Sherwood Forest Summer Camp goers give when asked by their teachers that quintessential question this fall: What did you do this summer? You can bet the answer won’t be about the latest video games. In fact, the reply might even come in proper Queen’s English.

Sherwood Forest Summer Camp activities, which start July 9-15, takes place in a 23-acre wooded medieval village where campers are transported back to a world of knights, ladies and a simpler way of life. Campers now have the option to sleep in the castle or “rough it” in a pavilion where they might have a late-night visit from the Merry Folk of Sherwood Forest.

While at camp, kids are immersed in nature, new experiences and building friendships. Modern devices like cell phones, video games and television aren’t available, giving youngsters an opportunity to fully engage and explore a magical Renaissance world.

“Green” campers, who have never attended the camp, will follow the Path of the Scholar where they learn a bit of everything, experiencing 10-12 classes twice per week. All Sea Dragons (age 7-9) will follow the Path of the Scholar as well.

“Veteran” campers— those who have already attended at least one week of Sherwood Forest Summer Camp— can continue following the Path of the Scholar, or if they are age 10 and older, they can choose the specialist path offered during their session as an alternative. Specialist paths offer campers the opportunity to delve more deeply into that week’s subject matter.

New campers attending multiple weeks must follow the Path of the Scholar their first week and then may choose either to continue as a Scholar or to specialize for subsequent week(s).

Developing skills essential to daily Renaissance life is exciting and edifying for young campers, especially at an impressionable age when positive influences are most valuable. Try Falconry, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking and more.

Session 1 runs July 9-15, Session 2 is July 16-22 and Session 3 is July 23-29. And for those parents who may be a bit jealous of the fun our campers have been having, there is now a weekend “Grown Up Camp” that runs July 23-25!

With a maximum of 160 campers per session, early registration is important. Complete details on the camp, schedules and activities, including a downloadable brochure, are available at www.sherwoodforestfaire.com


Statesman Content Marketing

The School of Rock is the nation’s premier performance-based rock school. We teach guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals via our unique combination of private instruction and group rehearsals, which gets students playing on stage as quickly as possible. Our instructors are all professional Austin musicians, each with years of experience in the music business. In addition to our year-round performance programs, the School of Rock offers one and two week summer camp sessions.

Our comprehensive camp experience is designed to hone music performance and ensemble skills in a creative and fun environment. We use Rock ‘n Roll to teach guitar, bass, drums, vocals and keys, culminating in an awesome live show on the final day! Our camps cater to rockers aged 6 – 18 of all skill levels – from beginners who are brand new to their instrument through to more advanced rockers with some experience under their studded belts. Students work in a hands-on atmosphere that includes:

  • Learning the nuts and bolts of live performance
  • Studio/band rehearsal time
  • Individual and group instruction from our highly skilled staff
  • Music theory and Rock & Roll music appreciation
  • Interacting with other young musicians
  • A LIVE rock show performance

Last year’s camps sold out, so take advantage of this awesome deal for Statesman readers only! If you enroll before April 1, you will receive 25% off any summer camp tuition. Just use the coupon code SORSTATESMAN2017 at checkout.

Here’s what we have in store for Summer 2017:

  • Rookies camp – introduces the music fundamentals in a fun way to beginners aged 6-8.
  • Rock 101 camps – the perfect opportunity for budding young rockers aged 8 to 13 to learn the skills necessary to rock out in a band, with a righteous live rock show at the end of the week.
  • Songwriting camp – learn about the craft of writing your own original music and end the week with a recording of your own creation.
  • Performance camps: “British Invasion”, “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary”, “Legends of Rock” and “Indie Rock” – campers aged 10 – 18 with at least 12 months of previous musical experience rehearse as a band during the week in preparation for an awesome live rock show on the final day of camp!

Founded in 1998, the School of Rock is the inspiration for the blockbuster Jack Black film School of Rock (2003).

School of Rock Austin was the 8th school founded in the School of Rock family back in 2005. Since then, we’ve produced more than 100 shows, and just recently celebrated our 11th anniversary in Austin. In the process, we have empowered thousands of young musicians by teaching kids how to rock on stage and in life! For more details and to reserve your spot, visit http://rocki.ng/austinrockcamps or call us at (512) 670-2360. You can also email us at austin@schoolofrock.com.

The School of Rock is located at 2525 W Anderson Lane, Suite 138, Austin, TX, 78757


Statesman Content Marketing

Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers something special. Perhaps it is the historic venue. Maybe it’s the uniquely themed camps or our dynamic faculty. One thing is certain, Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers a camp experience you won’t find anywhere else in Austin. But don’t just take our word for it…

This was the most organized, well-put-together, creative, structured, and fun camp any of my kids have ever attended. The communication was above and beyond amazing and my daughter can’t wait to come back next year!” – Parent of Paramount Camper

The Paramount Academy of the Arts will have 10 exciting weeks of summer camps for students entering 1st grade all the way through high school. No matter your interest, we have a camp for you!

Camp Paramount is a fun and fast-paced 2-week musical theatre camp where campers perform Broadway style musical numbers and iconic pop hits on the historic Paramount Stage! There are 4 sessions on-site at the Paramount and one offered in South Austin.

Camp Story Wranglers is inspired by our award winning, hugely popular in-school Paramount Story Wranglers program. Campers will explore story-writing, songwriting, costume and prop design, as well as acting, to create a new, thrilling, hilarious, weird, poignant, SNL-style, you-name-it production. There is one session offered on-site at the Paramount and one in North Austin. 

roboARTS Camp combines playmaking and robotics. Students in roboARTS write original plays, design and program robots, and then perform in their plays alongside their original robot characters. This exciting new camp is offered through a partnership with Science in a Suitcase and will be hosted at Hyde Park Baptist Church.

For our older students, Paramount Academy for the Arts offers Summer Technique Intensives for Teens. This summer’s intensives include Film Acting, Comedy, and Song Writing, all offered on-site at the Paramount.

At Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp your child will have the chance to perform on the historic stages of the Paramount and Stateside Theatres. They will hone their craft as a singer, dancer, actor and triplet threat performer. They will learn artistic skills from some of Austin’s most celebrated artists, and they will channel their creativity and see their own original stories come to life. Paramount Academy for the Arts Summer Camp offers experiences you won’t find anywhere else in a venue second-to-none. We offer an experience that will create lifetime memories.

Registration and information can be found at www.austintheatre.org/camps, by email at summercamps@austintheatre.org or by phone at 512-692-0526.



Statesman Content Marketing

Campers ages 5 to 15 can discover the great outdoors at scenic McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Thirteen miles east of Austin, nestled along the Colorado River and the Lost Pines, McKinney Roughs has 1,100 acres of pine forests, box canyons and post oak meadows to explore.

McKinney Roughs summer camps are based on a child’s age at the time camp starts. Each week’s camp activities revolve around a different outdoor theme and are led by experienced camp counselors. Activities include river rafting and zip lining, as well as uncovering the native plant and animal species in the area.

“We’ve provided outdoor experiences for campers at McKinney Roughs for 15 years,” said LCRA Park Program Coordinator Erin Holley. “Our day camp is a great option for parents who want their children to have fun and educational outdoor experiences but still have them close to home.”

Outdoor Camp — $225 per week

Tonkawa campers (Ages 5-6) can swim at Bastrop State Park, climb the rock wall and participate in a camp-wide field day. In addition, there will be guided hikes, guest presentations, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Comanche (Ages 7-8) and Caddo (Ages 9-12) campers will swim at Bastrop State Park, experience select high elements on the challenge course and raft the Colorado River or Lake Bastrop. In addition, there will be guided hikes, guest presentations, field studies, games and activities tied to various outdoor themes.

Teen Adventure Camp — $225 per week

Teen campers (Ages 13-15) will experience the thrill of high elements on the challenge course, including riding an exciting zip line, taking a kayaking trip down the Colorado River and working within a group to plan and execute various outdoor adventures.

Camp Information

McKinney Roughs provides up to eight weeks of day camp – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday – beginning June 19. Each one-week session is $225. A daily shuttle service from two convenient Austin locations (3700 Lake Austin Blvd. and 3505 Montopolis Drive) is available for an additional fee. Before and after care is available onsite during sessions three (July 10-14) and six (July 31-Aug. 4). The cost is $30 for either before or after care, or $60 for both. Before care is from 7-9 a.m., and after care is from 4-6 p.m.

For more information and to register, visit lcra.org/camps or call 512–303–5073.



Come and have fun kicking a ball around this summer and improve your soccer skills at a Lonestar Soccer Club (LSC) camp! Our Lonestar Premier Camps are designed around developing a player’s individual technique and love for the ‘beautiful game’ in a fun, safe and challenging environment. Premier camps are designed for U5-U12 boys and girls of all skill levels and are held at convenient locations— from South Austin to Williamson County, Round Rock and Taylor.

The typical student-teacher ratio is 12:1 or better. Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, speed and agility training and daily tournaments. Our experienced and nationally licensed staff is from Spain, Argentina, Brazil, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Each coach has extensive professional soccer coaching experience, and offers an unmatched level of talent and enthusiasm for teaching your child the greatest game in the world.

2016 camps start at Spring Break and run through summer and winter. Spring and winter camps are a set fee of $150, and summer camps are $225. Each camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Campers should bring snacks and a bag lunch each day for breaks and lunchtime. And every summer camper receives a free Nike camp T-shirt and Nike soccer ball!

Ready to play? For more information, visit www.lonestar-sc.com or contact Robert Lopez at rlopez@lonestar-sc.com. We look forward to seeing your child at one of our camps this year!


Statesman Content Marketing

William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage,” in his play As You Like It. But, kidsActing Studio, Austin’s best and most fun place to learn acting, is bringing it to life by providing kids between the ages of 4 and 18 an opportunity to try musicals, comedy, show choir, stage combat, and more. They may choose one-week classes or multi-week sessions that culminate in a full production performance – lights, sounds, costumes, action!

Established in 1980, kidsActing is Austin’s longest operating performing arts school, serving over 2,500 students per year. With over 15 locations, there are a variety of camps, classes, and shows from which to choose.

“At kidsActing, we believe in empowering every student by providing a supportive and fun environment where young people can be inspired, creative, and can shine!” explained Dede Clark, Artistic Director. “This summer, we’re so excited about our fun camps. There is sure to be something to keep your young actor in the limelight.”

This summer kidsActing is offering themes like Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Snowy White and the 7 Dogs, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and many more. For the older stars, there’s Club Glee! Show Choir, featuring hit songs from Broadway. Young musical performers love Triple Threat classes that include Aloha Moana, Tangled and Peter Pan.

And, for those looking to hone their acting skills, our 3-week acting camp and 4-week musical camp offer full production, in-depth classes to learn and apply core acting tools and methods. kidsActing’s full-scale summer productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Addam’s Family.

“From auditions all the way to final bows, kidsActing gives kids the experience of starring in a professionally produced show,” Dede explained. kidsActing also has a student tech program for those who want to work backstage and learn the technical aspects of theatre while running the show.

Dede is also very excited about the newly announced Center Stage Theatre Elite Ensemble and its production of Cabaret. “This group of teen performers (ages 13-19) have a passion and dedication to musical theatre, clearly evidenced by their excellence. They are talented and committed to achieving a high standard.” No matter how your young star wants to shine, kidsActing is guaranteed to have the right camp, class or production for them. For a full list of summer camps and productions, visit www.kidsActingStudio.com.

kidsActing Studio
2826 Real Street
Austin, Texas 78722


Statesman Content Marketing

WARNING: This is NOT your everyday summer experience. Girls must come ready to play, explore, discover, and have the time of their life. It’s going to be EPIC.

Girls live in a world of screens—Smartphone! Laptop! TV! Tablet!—and sometimes they just need to get away from it all. We get it. That’s why we have camp! At Girl Scout summer camp, the adventure is high and the fun is big—like, really BIG. Every girl should have the chance to spend their summer trying new things, exploring the great outdoors, making incredible memories with awesome new friends, and grow under the supervision and mentorship of highly trained camp staff. Whether coming for the day or a two-week overnight adventure, at Girl Scout camp, girls learn new skills, meet new people, and try things they have never done before like sailing, horseback riding, even wand making and playing a lively game of Quidditch at our “Harriett Potter” camp!
Girl Scout camps offer something for every girl: outdoor adventures, wacky water fun at the pool, team challenges, creative crafts, games and so much more! Super fun camp themes include: Wilderness Explorers, Cowgirl Splash, Smooth Sailing, Agents of SHIELD Training Camp, Girl Scouts to the Rescue, Survivor, Flashlights and Fairy Tales, CSI, Zombiepocalypse, and of course Harriett Potter camp where girls really discover the magic of camp.

All girls are welcome! Not a Girl Scout yet? No problem! Every girl joins Girl Scouts at registration if they aren’t already a member. Want to join but have a financial obstacle? Girl Scouts of Central Texas believes in the importance of the camp experience for every young person. We work hard to make sure that camp is financially within reach for every Girl Scout!

Our 2017 Camp Guide is an invaluable resource to help a girl choose the camp program that’s right for her. Learn about what makes each of our adventures unique, what to expect during the process of registration, and where to find answers about what our campers can expect during their stay.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas camp builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. But most of all they are a FUN place for girls to spend their summer! Away from the screens and pressures of everyday life. Join us for an unforgettable summer!

Visit www.gsctx.org to learn more about helping a girl go to camp and become a woman who shapes tomorrow.

***Girl Scouts of Central Texas camps are accredited through the American Camp Association.


Boy swimming, underwater shot

Statesman Content Marketing

Caring for kids is what Extend-A-Care does all year long. The organization was formed to provide quality, affordable child care for parents and it runs 75 after-school camps in school districts across the Austin metro area. But why not keep the learning and good times going all summer?

Extend-A-Care is now registering for all-day licensed child care for children 3-12 years old for weekly summer sessions that start June 5 and run through August 11.

Each week has its own theme, taken from literature books that the students read. From the books springs a curriculum that offers children a continuous source of new and engaging material and themed activities throughout the week.

Examples of the sessions include “Surfs Up! Aloha Summer!” (Session 1) where campers ride the waves of summer fun with activities that are sure to make a splash! Surf’s up, dude! Campers also will learn about the island culture of our 50th state, as well as the power of the ocean, through music, experiments, surfing games, and various children’s literature.

The week of August 14-18 (Session 11) is “The Sky’s the Limit!” This week full of aerodynamic crafts and fantasy flights of fun will inspire campers to investigate the world of aviation, high-flying adventure books and the wonder of being able to fly.

The affordable fee covers care from 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for most of the 10 sites (7 a.m. for Hays and Galindo locations), snacks at mid-morning and in the afternoon, and weekly field trips plus swimming twice a week to stay cool. Fee assistance is available. There is also a discount for those who pay in advance for a full summer of child care by May 12.

To sign up, log on to www.eackids.org. For more information call 512-472-9402.


Statesman Content Marketing

The natural setting at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria has been fostering creativity and enhancing visual awareness for visitors for more than 50 years, and this summer is no exception with a wide variety of programs for all ages! Highly qualified art teachers guide students in small classes (12 to 13 kids) as they learn to observe the beauty that surrounds them and appreciate it through the creation of art. We’re looking forward to artistically inspiring the more than 2,500 kids who are expected to enroll this summer in classes on the gorgeous 12-acre historic site at The Contemporary Austin – Art School at Laguna Gloria.

“The kids love exploring the grounds,” says Judith Sims, site director for the campus, which is located off MoPac on West 35th Street on Lake Austin. “In the Beautiful Bugs class, for example, four-and-five-year-olds learn how art and biology intersect and re-create the beauty and color found in nature, while in Photo and Photoshop, older kids get to know the natural landscape through the lens of their cameras, before exploring the creative possibilities of Photoshop in the studio.”

In addition to painting, drawing, mosaics, jewelry making, and more, every year brings some new ideas and new classes for kids and for teens. Younger students can join us for the new clay class Tots Making Pots, where they can use ingredients from the kitchen to make works of art that are both useful and beautiful. Or they can learn their Art ABCs, honing their visual intelligence as they explore painting, drawing, and sculpture and delve into concepts like color, pattern, and space.

While most classes take place at Laguna Gloria, this year teens can trade lakeside tranquility for the dynamic action of downtown Austin in the class Skyline Drawing. Students meet on The Moody Rooftop at the museum’s Jones Center location for an immersive new drawing class that incorporates this rich urban environment, where artist Jim Hodges’s inspiring outdoor sculpture, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress), now hovers over the streetscape below.

“We have whimsical classes for the younger kids and more serious explorations of art-making techniques for the older kids who want to try something new or build on their skills,” Sims continued. “And all of these high-quality programs take full advantage of our beautiful locations – Laguna Gloria’s wooded beauty on Lake Austin and the Jones Center’s unique urban milieu.”

Details: Week-long summer classes begin June 5 and run through August 18. Classes are held weekdays 9 a.m. until noon, and 1 pm until 4 p.m. Classes fill quickly, so don’t wait to sign up! Register online at www.thecontemporaryaustin.org, or by calling 512-323- 6380. A limited number of scholarships will also be available. We look forward to seeing you this summer!



Statesman Content Marketing

It’s the third year for the Austin STEAM Scout Camp, and they’re gearing up to explore one of Earth’s greatest treasures — TechLab: Rainforest.

“With two great new classes, this year will be amazing,” says Jessica Snider, Director of STEM, Conservation and Sustainability, Boy Scouts Capitol Area Council. “Every year we have a theme that trains kids to live in extreme environments. This year it’s going to be rainforest, so we’re working with partners to develop ways to teach camp participants citizen science programming, VR and drone science and expedition planning and expedition gear development.”

The Austin STEAM Camp provides the type of engagement, excitement and hands-on activities required for successful early STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education. Camp attendees will use tools like DSLR cameras, laser cutter/engravers, 3D printers, robotics kits (including state-of-the-art NAO robots), hydrology display boards, Adobe Creative Suite software, VR and remote sensing to explore, study, design and create. The camp will also feature classes like Toy Design (for younger kids) and Model Design (for older kids) where attendees will learn everything from the basics of CAD design and Tinkercad to working with and taking care of the actual 3D printers.

The camp is open to boys and girls entering the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth grades, and camp participants do not have to be a registered Boy Scout or Girl Scout to attend. Week 1 will run June 13-June 17, Week 2 will run June 20-June 24,  Week 3 will run June 27-July 1, Week 4 will run July 11-July 15 and Week 5 will run July 17-21. There are 800 spaces available, with 8 different class options for kids ages 11 and up, and four topics covered in the classes for kids age 10 and under. In a world where more and more jobs require knowledge of STEM, this camp is one that will be a learning experience for any camp goer.

“One of the things we push is, to be a good citizen, you really need to understand STEM,” says Snider. “You need to know how science and technology affects our world.”

The camp also believes that STEAM should available to all youth, and is working to ensure opportunities are in place so anyone who wants to attend is able to do so. Generous grants have allowed the camp to provide scholarships for students from disadvantaged areas. The camp provides free breakfast and lunches for attendees who come in on scholarship, along with transportation.

“Attendance in a camp like this can make the big different in students’ STEM readiness,” says Snider. “By knock down barriers like cost and transportation, we aim to make sure all youth know that STEM can be for them.”


Registration is $325 per youth, and will include a T-shirt, patch, flash drive and two nutritious snacks daily. Box lunches are available for order for each day; please select this option during registration and indicate any dietary concerns.

For registration and more info, visit http://www.techlab.camp/.


Statesman Content Marketing

Children are born with oceans of creativity and love to express themselves through movement. Ballet Austin Kids Camps bring fun and imaginative worlds for children (ages 4 to 10) where they explore their innate creativity through the art of movement and music. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for this summer’s camps at Ballet Austin:

Imagination in Motion Camp: A Wildlife Safari (ages 4-8) | June 5–9: 9:30am–12pm

A journey through jungles, deserts, and forests where children discover exciting animals of the wild. Imagine running like giraffes, dancing bears, playful monkeys, lions, lizards, and more! Children will experience the natural world through games, crafts, animal fun, dance and movement activities.

The Broadway Kids Camp: Disney Classics (ages 5-10) | June 12–16: 9:00am–12:15pm

Children discover aspects of musical theatre as they learn kid-friendly choreography and favorite songs from well-known Disney Broadway musicals! Each day features singing, dancing, rehearsals and games, with a fun performance in the theater on the final day.

Dance Discoveries Camp: Favorite Fairies of the Ballet (ages 5-10) | August 7–11: 8:30am–12pm

Features classic ballet favorites such as The Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Cinderella. Children learn about the different stories and characters that inhabit these classic fairytales, and learn some of the steps and other choreographic elements that go into creating these magical characters on stage.

Dance Discoveries Camp: Peter Pan! (ages 5-10) | August 14–18: 1:00pm–4:30pm

A journey to Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy, and Captain Hook! Children learn about this magical fairytale, its music and characters while learning some of the steps and other choreographic elements that go into creating these playful characters on stage.

“Our camps are designed to give children the opportunity to explore dance movement and related art forms through music, story, dance, and the visual arts” – Vicki Parsons, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness Director

Children discover, create, and have fun while preparing for a special performance for family and friends on the last day of the camp. All camps are held at Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center located at 501 West 3rd Street. For registration information, visit balletaustin.org/kidscamps or call 512-501-8704.

Statesman Content Marketing

It’s 9:45 a.m. in a classroom full of 5th graders on a hot summer morning. The room is quiet, except for the sound of pencils scribbling across the page, and the occasional whisper from one writer to her neighbor: “My character’s name is Hairy Potato!”

This energetic silence is the sound of invention—of words coming together in the mind and pouring out onto the page. It’s the sound of stories that didn’t exist until just now, at last taking shape.

Of course, the room won’t stay quiet for long. When writing time ends, sharing time begins, ushering in the clamor of hands waving high in the air and neighbors leaning over to show one another what they’ve created. Welcome to the Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp!

On the first day of camp, some of these 5th graders say they love to write. Others say writing’s not their best subject, or they’re not “super good at it.” For the young writing enthusiast, Badgerdog is an opportunity to discover new writers, new forms of writing, and new techniques to expand their tool box. For the reluctant writers, Badgerdog offers a different approach to writing, where “mistakes” are merely experiments, where you can’t fail, there are no grades, and there’s no single right way to write.

“My favorite thing about Badgerdog is being able to write what we want and not do boring school-like assignments,” says Patrick, a camper in the high school workshop at The Griffin School. “We learn writing theory by writing, not by memorization.”

Badgerdog’s teaching artists are all are writers themselves. They love literature so thoroughly, they’ve made it their career. And they know how challenging it can be to find inspiration, to push through a tough writing moment, and to seek advice from others. They also understand that writers aren’t born writers—it simply takes practice.

In addition to writing, campers at Badgerdog also learn how to share their work aloud, how to respond to the work of others, and how revise work for publication. All campers in Badgerdog’s three-week program have one piece published in Badgerdog’s anthologies—Rise for third- through sixth-graders, and Emerge for seventh- through twelfth-graders.

While writing for writing’s sake is a worthy pursuit, Badgerdog believes writers deserve a celebration, which is why each session of summer camp ends with a reading on site. Later in the fall, a camp-wide reading is held at Austin ISD’s Performing Arts Center to coincide with the release of Rise and Emerge.

Each summer, Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp brings a new sense of creativity to hundreds of kids and teens, who become stronger writers, speakers, and collaborators as a result. Workshops are held across Austin in three sessions. Badgerdog also offers the Summer Book Crush and Spring Break Writing Workshops. For more information, visit: www.austinlibrary.org.

Statesman Content Marketing

Austin is filled with students playing in their school band or orchestra or taking private lessons. The Austin Chamber Music Workshop is the perfect place for young musicians to come together in a supportive and challenging environment to hone their skills by playing in a small ensemble with new friends.

Based on auditions in May, students are placed into a small ensemble with students of similar age and ability and assigned music that is appropriate for their skill level but still challenging. Each day during the workshop they meet with their ensemble and an instructor that has specific expertise in the ensemble’s unique instrument configuration. Students also participate in electives such as music composition and improvisation for more creative outlets.

Olivia Erwin, a recent workshop graduate recounts her experience: “One of the things that made such a huge impression on me was ACMC’s outstanding and dedicated team of teachers, supporters, and administrators. Today I still consider the ACMC community my family. They have been there and facilitated every step of my growth towards becoming a young adult, musician, and overall artist!”

ACMC is honored to once again host the Workshop at the impeccable facilities in the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music. “The opportunity for Workshop students to get a taste of a day in the life of a college music student is a huge benefit of our program along with the expert faculty instruction and explorative elective classes offered each summer,” says Artistic Director Michelle Schumann.

Jeni Gossard, ACMC’s Director of Education discusses the advantages of practicing with both standard and uniquely arranged ensembles: “the Workshop is open to young artists that play any instrument which is something that differentiates our program from others. Students learn to play in both standard and unique instrument configurations, making them more versatile and open-minded in their musical development. Each member of our incredibly talented faculty team comes from a diverse musical background, which allows students the opportunity to ask questions and explore new musical ideas.”

The Workshop runs concurrently with the Austin Chamber Music Festival featuring an international array of chamber music’s best and brightest stars. The visiting artists make themselves available to Workshop students for masterclasses, noonday concerts, and question and answer sessions. All students receive three free tickets to every Festival concert at UT’s Bates Recital Hall.

Student graduates of the Workshop have gone on to form professional ensembles of their own, teach at the university level, and play in internationally recognized symphony and opera groups. Of course, not every young musician will go on to become professional players. ACMC develops and implements the curriculum in a way that ensures the positive impact of working in a small team towards a common goal has lasting benefits on all Workshop students.

The 2017 Austin Chamber Music Workshop is open to students aged 7-18. Students aged 7-10 participate in the Primary Division, which runs weekdays from July 10-22. Students aged 11-18 make up the Young Artists Division, which runs weekdays from July 6-22. There is also an Adult Division that runs from July 5-20 for those parents looking to play in a chamber ensemble and/or chamber orchestra!