Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:51

Children have a lot of choice when it comes to summer camps offered by the Medicine Hat College

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The Medicine Hat College is generally a learning institution for high-school grads and adults learning to build a career.However, during the summer it turns into a learning institution at a different level.

There are some parents in southeast Alberta and southwest Sask. who may be cringing at the thought of having children ages three to 17 with nothing to do this summer.
How about learning about creative writing, learning about how the body works, cooking, playing with Lego or soccer or even Minions?
The Summer Programs 4 Kids and For Teens was launched April 1. Registrations open for the ambitious selection of camps.
“Every year, we offer a good variety of programs,” explains Nicole Nugent, program administrator for the Medicine Hat College’s Continuing Studies department. “I think we nailed it on the head.”
Nugent helps oversee the College’s summer program, but technically the initiative has three different departments contributing to its success. They are Continuing Studies, the Childhood Development Center and Sports and Wellness.
“For the Continuing Studies, I went through and saw which classes were popular last year and then added new ones,” explains Nugent. The other departments did the same.
She says one camp for 13-17 year olds is an introduction to trades where the campers come in for a week and do a different trade every day and learn from the College’s instructors.
“We host the South East Alberta Skills Competition at the College so we thought we’d have an intro to trades camp for those kids thinking about getting into trades,” explains Nugent. “They get to come to the college for a week and every day is a different trade. It’s really an awesome opportunity.”
Ideas came through public suggestions, opinion surveys from previous camps, and just checking general pop culture and current trends, such as specific themed camps including from the movies Despicable Me, Frozen and The Hunger Games or television shows such as Restaurant Wars, Fear Factor and CSI.
For example, the College Child Development Centre is operating a summer-long program from June 29 to Aug. 27 where the child will have theme weeks involving areas such as science and nature, physical activity, games, art and will have a fun time during Stampede week.
Sports and Wellness will have different fun sports-themed activities which range from ages four to 12 for those just wanting to have fun and practise different physical skill sets. Some also have a fun theme including superhero, ninja, princess, yoga and for the older children an Apocalypse Survival camp. There are more specific sports-themed camps from those starting out all the way to high-end camps in golf, volleyball, basketball and soccer. For older campers, there is track and field, kayak and tennis camps.
Nugent notes they have also added an ice hockey camp due to demand.
In the Continuing Studies realm, for those who are more artistic, they can learn about theatre by putting on a play, learn about Dr. Seuss, dancing hip-hop, singing, creating art or learn about different cultures.
There are also a wide variety of other popular favourites involving spaceships, dinosaurs, pirates and the ever-popular Lego. There also many cooking camps for those just learning to more competitive and elaborate children’s and youth levels.
The other areas where Nugent says campers have a lot of choice is the areas of science and computers/ technology.
Within the science area, the College has partnered with Medicine Hat’s chapter of the Praxis science-themed club organization (Gross Out Science, Spy Science, Robot Wars, Comic Book Creations). Cenovus Energy also sponsored some science camps which deal with environmental science, test tube science, how the body works and even engineering.
“We got funding from Cenovus for science camps and even for Praxis to come on board and help lead some camps is really awesome. It’s good support for us,” adds Nugent.
As well, Nugent explains there is a new component to the summer camps from a company called Black Rocket for those into computers. It’s quite an interesting set of digital art-type of camps for those into learning and creating apps for smart phones, designing their own 3-D video game or learning about video game animation. There are two different levels for children ages seven to 10 and ages 11-14.
“Black Rocket is based in New York and it’s an all computer-based camp,” explains Nugent. “Someone from the College attended a conference ... and met with some representatives of Black Rocket and we thought ‘let’s look into it.’
“You’re told how to make apps. They have something in there on Mindcraft.”
There is a wide variety of camps, 93 in total (some for different ages) in Continuing Studies alone. It’s an ambitious calendar, but Nugent says they are able to do it due to the fact there are a lot of talented instructors involved. She says there are a lot of people who have different skill sets willing to work part time for a few weeks and are willing to lead camps, or there are college students who are looking to contribute by teaching.
She says in other cases there are parents who had children have great experiences and are willing to help out.
Registration opened April 1 and all calendars should be dropped off at schools within the southeast Alberta school divisions or people can go to or register by phone at 403-529-3844.
“We are happy with the selection we have this year,” explains Nugent. “We just want to keep adding all the time. Our job is to offer quality camps.”

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Ryan Dahlman

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