CULTURE- BUZZBOX- Campy: Summer options keep kids busy

Yikes! School's almost over for another year, and I haven't even thought about what my kids will do this summer! Sound like a familiar refrain?

Well, procrastinating parents need not panic. Lots of local day camp programs still have openings for kids with all kinds of interests. 

Wintergreen Nature Foundation, for example, lets rising third, fourth, and fifth graders get wild in the woods with Nature Camp June 18-22. Kids can climb the mountain for afternoons full of crafts, games, snacks, and scientific experiments in the great outdoors. Cost is $110 for members, $120 for non-members. Call Melissa for registration and information: 325-8169.

Young writers can explore the many facets of the written word all summer long with the Charlottesville Writing Center's Freedom Writers summer camps. One- and two-week morning sessions let kids in grades 3-12 find the fun in fiction, poetry, drama, songwriting, and journalism. Classes are held at UVA from June 18 through August 3. Cost is $165 for one-week sessions, $275 for two-week sessions. Scholarships are available. Information and enrollment forms are available at or by calling 293-3702. 

For those who need to be active, the UVA sports department offers Cavalier Day Camp. Rising first through fifth graders can get in on the action with all kinds of activities, including swimming, music, drama, hiking, and canoeing, ice- and roller-skating, and more. Activities also include field trips and arts and crafts, and kids can start and end their day at the UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center next to Scott Stadium. Four two-week sessions are offered starting June 11. For more information and registration, call Carol Spry at 924-3791 or

Drama queens– and kings– ages 5-14 can play on at Old Michie Theatre's Summer Theatre and Drama Camps. One- and two-week sessions let players and puppeteers "Shake Hands with Shakespeare," fall "In Love with J.R.R. Tolkien," and make "Masks, Mime, and Music" and have fun while they learn. Tuition ranges from $175 to $360. Call 977-3690 for more information and registration. 

Kids who would just as soon travel this summer can explore Italy or China without leaving home. Ecco Italy introduces little Michelangelos ages 4-7 to the Italian language through a week-long program that includes songs, stories, magic, and hands-on art projects such as making Venetian masks. One session happens June 18-22 from 9am-noon at the shop on West Main Street. Cost is $225, and more information is available at 825-4390. 

High school juniors and seniors who want a real adventure can earn four UVA credits as they immerse themselves in a six-week tour of the language and culture of China. Students will learn to speak, read, and write as they explore the culture through calligraphy, cooking, art at the UVA Art Museum, and shopping in a local Chinese store where they will be expected to speak only Chinese. Information and admission applications are available at or 924-4298.

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