Happy campers: A parent’s guide to local youth summer activities


PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative


PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative


PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative


PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Before you know it, summer will be in full swing. And many parents will be looking for activities to keep kids’ brains and bodies active once the school year wraps up.

Here are a few ideas, with additional resources, to help parents get started:

For budding creatives

Dubuque Museum of Art

Youth of all ages can get acquainted with the museum’s world-class art collection and explore exhibition highlights through imaginative and interactive projects in a variety of mediums. Youth art classes, such as “Young at Art,” also are available.

More information: dbqart.org

Captured on Canvas

The Little Artist Program, for ages 6 and older, offers ample paint time at the Dubuque studio, with in-person and virtual classes from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The cost is $60 for three months or $75 for one month.

More information: dbqartstudio.com

Creative Adventure Lab

A Play Lab, pottery painting, rock climbing and activity kits can be found at the organization, with unlimited family Play Lab memberships also available for $14.99 per month.

More information: creativeadventurelab.org

Northeast Iowa School of Music

Students of all ages can pick up an instrument either through private one-on-one music lessons, duet lessons with a friend or group lessons. Virtual lessons also are available.

More information: nisom.com

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

The 53rd annual Pioneer Summer Band Camp will take place Sunday, July 10, though Saturday, July 16. It’s open to students entering grades 7 through 12, with graduated seniors also welcome. The cost is $525 for residential tuition and $425 for commuter tuition.

More information: uwplatt.edu/psbc

Bell Tower Theater

Elementary through high school students can learn about theater, on stage and off, through Kids Take the Stage Youth Theater Classes and the Free Summer Musical Program. This year’s musical production will be “Shrek: The Musical.” Open to students in grades eight through 12 during the 2021-2022 academic year, performances will be Thursday, June 16, through Sunday, June 26. A Kids-for-Kids program, featuring the show “The Spongebob Musical,” also will take place for ages 7-18. Auditions and crew sign-up will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 20; and from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 21. Callbacks will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 23. There will be two casts of approximately 30-40 kids, with a crew of 70-100. Performances for the Coral Cast will be Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 24. Performances for the Seashell Cast will be Friday, July 15, through Saturday, July 23. There is no fee to participate in either summer musical program.

More information: belltowertherater.net

The Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Company

Frogwarts School of Wizardry Summer Camp is available in two sessions: Sunday, July 3, though Saturday, July 9; and Sunday, July 10, through Saturday, July 16. Participants will incorporate science, math, reading, writing and acting and take on a role-playing wizard persona. Campers also will use critical thinking, imagination and role-playing skills to develop a story to guide them through lessons of good versus evil, right versus wrong, empathy, creativity and fun.

More information: frogwarts.org

YogArt Camp

Challenge to Change will host a four-day “Yoga is my Superpower” yoga and art camp for kids, as well as a Mini YogArt camp called “Hometown Superheroes” for toddlers. The cost for the kids camp is $199.99. The cost of the toddler camp is $149.99. Parents also have the option of bundling the two camps for $249.99.

More information: challengetochange.com

AntiGravity Summer Camp

Float and Fly Wellness Studio hosts an aerial yoga camp throughout the summer. It also hosts aerial yoga sessions for ages 7 through 12 at 11 a.m. Saturdays. The class size is limited to six.

More information: FloatandFlyWellnessStudio.com

Centrally Rooted

The organization that bridges mindfulness with music will offer a variety of camps this summer. For those in first through fourth grades, “Circus McGurkus” will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 5, through Thursday, July 7; while “Creative Camping” will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 19, through Thursday, July 21. For those in seventh through 12th grades, two sessions of “Musical Theater Dance” will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, through Thursday, July 7; and Tuesday, July 19, through Thursday, July 21.

More information: centrallyrooted.com

Capri Camp

Those in grades three through seven can learn the creativity behind beauty. The weekly camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Monday, Aug 1, through Friday, Aug. 5. The cost is $160.

More information: capricollege.edu

For the young athlete

Loras College All-Sports Camp

From Sunday, June 19, through Friday, July 22, four sessions will be offered for campers wanting to explore a variety of athletic activities.

More information: lorasallsportscamps.com

For the outdoor enthusiast

Dubuque County Conservation

For ages 3 through 18-plus, camps include focuses on owls, creepy crawlies, bees, reptiles, as well as “Magic School Bus” and “The Lorax.” Other camps include mountain biking, foraging and feeding, hunter safety, compasses and maps, a Mississippi River voyaging paddling trip and backpacking treks through Yellow River State Forest and Kickapoo State Recreation Area. Camp sessions span June through August.

More information: tinyurl.com/7kfts3kj

Four Mounds Adventure Day Camp

Activities for ages 7 through 13 include Four Mounds’ ropes course, canoeing at Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, exploring ecosystems at Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center and E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center and swimming, creek stomping, hiking, team building, games and arts and crafts. Five camp sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, June 13 through 17 and June 27 through July 1 for ages 8-10; June 20 through 24 for ages 9-12; July 11 through 15 for ages 7-9; and Aug. 8 through 12 for ages

10-13. The cost is $145 and free for income-qualifying families in Dubuque. The camp is limited to 25 campers each week.

More information: FourMounds.org

Eastern Iowa Horse & Pony Camp

From Sunday, June 19, through Saturday, June 25, at the Jones County Fairgrounds in Monticello, Iowa, campers in third through 12th grade can participate in riding lessons, interactive learning and other activities.

More information: eihpc.com

Galena (Ill.) Art and Recreation Center

Summer camp options range from indoor and outdoor activities, including field trips, park visits, trips to the library, swimming lessons at the Galena Public Pool and a week at Camp Casper with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. Set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays throughout the summer, with drop-off and pick-up times between 7 and 9 a.m., families have the flexibility of choosing which weekly themes interest their children, ages 3 through 12.

More information: galenaarc.org/summer-camp

Hoof It Goat Treks

Ages 5 through 12 will be able to explore all things goat- and nature-related through scavenger hunts, arts and crafts and other activities. Goat Camp will take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, June 21 through 23; and July 5 through July 7. Bonfires for families also will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays, June 24 and July 8. The cost is $250.

More information: HoofItGalena.com/kids-camp

Dubuque YMCA/YWCA

Union Park Day Camp

• The Union Park Day Camp will take place from Monday, June 6, through Friday, Aug. 19. Eleven one-week sessions are available for Challengers (ages 6-7), Adventurers (ages 8-10) and Explorers (ages 11-14) to explore outdoor activities such as archery, arts and crafts, hiking, creek stomping, horseback riding, low ropes course, swimming, zip lining and more. The cost for each session is $159 for members and $170 for non-members, plus a one-time $25 registration fee.

• Horse Camp will take place in four one-week sessions from Monday, July 11, through Friday, Aug. 5, for beginning, intermediate and advanced riders. The cost for each session is $249 for members and $269 for non-members, plus a one-time $25 registration fee.

• Bike Camp will take place in two one-week sessions from Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 18. The cost for each session is $179 for members and $199 for non-members, plus a one-time $25 registration fee.

More information: dubuquey.org/daycamp

For those who love to learn

St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s Heroes Summer Academy

The five-week camp, this year titled “Read Beyond the Beaten Path,” is open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The program focuses on literacy and will include guest speakers, readers and field trips. It will take place from Monday, June 20, through Friday, July 22 (with no program on Monday, July 4) from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Dubuque and from 8 a.m. to noon in Dyersville, Iowa. The cost is $375, with limited scholarship opportunities available for families in need.

Three additional classes — Foodology, Nature Navigators and Project STEAM — also will be available for Dubuque students in grades third through fifth.

More information: stmarkyouthenrichment.org

Northeast Iowa Community College

Beginning in June and continuing through August, NICC will offer a wealth of virtual youth summer camps, including STEAM camps for ages 8 through 14 interested in video games, coding and virtual reality. Classes will include course for YouTube, ROBLOX, Minecraft, Python Programming and Battle Royale.

NICC’s Manchester campus will offer Fun with Rock Painting from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8; Science & Engineering: “Water” You Doing? from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, June 20 through 21; and Graphic Design from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 23.

NICC’s Peosta location will host Kids on Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22, for students entering grades 2 through 7; and Progressive Agriculture Safety Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, June 9 and July 7.

More information: www.nicc.edu/camps

UD for Kids

The University of Dubuque offers a range of enrichment activities for kids in a variety of areas from theater to baking, science, art, aviation and more.

Week one camps will take place beginning on Monday, June 20, and continue through Friday, June 24, available for grades 1 and 2. Week two camps are slated for Monday, June 27, through Friday, July 1, for grades 3 and 4. Week three camps will run from Monday, July 11, through Friday, July 15, for those in grades 5 through 7.

More information: www.dbq.edu/udforkids

Holy Family Catholic Schools

From arts and culinary camps to sports, faith, language and literacy, STEM and pre-kindergarten focuses, options abound for youth participants. Most camps begin in June and run through August.

More information: holyfamilydbq.org/resources/summer-camps

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium Summer Break Day Camps

Open to students entering kindergarten through eighth grade, museum camps aim to provide participants with interactive and engaging options throughout the summer months. Wrap-around care and limited scholarships are available for those in need of assistance.

More information: rivermuseum.com/summercamps

More resources

• Carnegie-Stout Public Library: CarnegieStout.org

• City of Dubuque Recreation and Leisure Services: cityofdubuque.org/439/Leisure-Services

• Dubuque County Library: DubCoLib.org

• Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: extension.iastate.edu/dubuque

• Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center: minesofspain.org/education

• Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center: dubuquecounty.org/conservation/swiss-valley-nature-center

• Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens: dubuquearboretum.com

• Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation: jdcf.org

Megan Gloss writes for the Telegraph Herald.

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