By David Markham
JCPRD’s 2023 summer camps are now online at JCPRD.com/camps. Camp registrations begin Jan. 30, and a handful of camps have already filled to capacity. Printed copies of the camp guide are available at JCPRD facilities and Johnson County libraries.
JCPRD has been offering summer camps for more than 50 years and will present more than 80 different camp programs this summer. Camps range from fine and performing arts, nature, science, leadership, sports, and many more! There are 11 entirely new camps for 2023, as well as lots of new topics, ideas, and locations at many long-running JCPRD camps.
Camp offerings include full-day programs and partial-day programs serving a variety of interests. Most full-day camps offer sessions beginning weekly from June 5 to July 31. For the convenience of working parents, most full-day programs provide supervision and self-directed activities from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Other camps start throughout the summer and around the county with programs offered for ages three through 17.
Officials anticipate a small number of this year’s camps will fill quickly, as they have in past years, so the sooner you sign up, the more choices will be available.
The theme for JCPRD’s 2023 Camp Guide, “Epic Adventures begin with JCPRD,” acknowledges the variety and range of camp programs available this year.
Camp programmers shared their interpretations of the theme and how it applies to this year’s camps.
“JCPRD Summer Camps are an epic adventure because of all we offer,” said Recreation Assistant Misty Town. “You can try an art class, gain skills to ditch those training wheels and ride a bike, have a robotics battle, sharpen up your fencing or chess skills, learn to sail at Shawnee Mission Park, or become a master at outdoor survival. Did I mention all of the amazing teachers and how many new friends you’ll make? There is no better place to be this summer than JCPRD.”
“At TimberRidge Adventure Center, everything we do is designed to bring about ‘Wow’ moments,” added Outdoor Adventure Specialist Aryeh Goldman. “When we are putting together a program, scheduling a day, or planning the week, we are thinking about the individual’s experience both in the moment and as a whole. Epic adventures need a place to happen, and we are trying to create that space every day.”
“Our Outdoor Discovery Camps specialize in environmental education experiences and fun nature exploration,” said Outdoor Education Specialist Regina Wasson. “Our Outdoor Discovery campers experience shooting sports (at the archery and BB-gun ranges) and boating every week guided by trained staff.”
And what do camp staff wish people knew about JCPRD summer camps?
“Camps are a wonderful way for children to learn through nature, and away from technology, build relationships, make new friends, and have fun,” said Merriam Park Elementary School Out of School Time Program Director and Crossroads Camp Director Molly Erwin. “There is a lot of creativity that goes on. I love the opportunity to plan fun programming with a variety of activities, going to the pool, and field trips every week. Sometimes, we have children help us think of activities or new games. The children and staff always leave with a memorable summer.”
“JCPRD has a wide variety of camps,” said Recreation Coordinator Lisa Eagle. “We meet the needs of children who prefer smaller groups or an inside setting as well as the children who thrive in a larger, outdoor settings. There are also short weekly camps and half-day options. Flip through our camp guide and take a look!”
“I wish people knew about the little moments,” Goldman added. “Not just the camp schedule and overall themes, but all the moments where staff take the time to recognize and connect with campers in a meaningful way. Maybe it is congratulating them for making it to a new high spot on the wall, or reeling in that fish, but it may also be the small moment when you take the time to make a camper feel seen and valued as an individual, perhaps with a high five or fist bump.”
New camp offerings for 2023 are: Hello Neighbor! Camp; Computers: Code Studio; Hispanic Culture Camp, Language: Immersion Passport; Introduction to Spanish Camp; Theatre: In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away; Buddy Pegs – Learn to Pedal Camp; Buddy Pegs – Bike Adventure Camp; Buddy Pegs – Mountain Bike Camp; TRAC Survival Skills Camp; and Mixed Martial Arts Camp.
Some additional summer camps will be listed in JCPRD’s May through August seasonal program information, which will be online beginning March 17.
Remember, summer camps are consistently some of JCPRD’s most popular offerings of the entire year. The sooner you sign up, the more choices will be available.