Summer camp guide

Summer is on the horizon. And you know what that means. It’s time to start planning that vacation … from your kids.

You love them to bits. But even the strongest of parents needs a break from time to time. And a smattering of area summer activities not only provides that but also offers ideas for keeping your kids busy and active and inspiring confidence and creativity.

Here are a few highlights, with additional resources to help you get started:

The arts

Dubuque Museum of Art

Students can make friends with the museum’s world-class art collection and explore exhibition highlights through imaginative and interactive projects in a variety of mediums.

More information:

Maquoketa (Iowa) Art Experience

Bricks for Kids Summer Camp will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3. Those entering grades 1-6 will be able to use Legos to build vehicles and structures found in a city and create mosaics.

More information:

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

Budding musicians can check out string and chamber music camps Monday-Sunday, June 17-23, at Clarke University.

String Camp: Open to students in grades 7-12 with a minimum of two years ensemble experience playing violin, viola, cello or bass, students will spend the week learning new techniques and repertoire in large group rehearsals, small sectionals, private lessons and more. The camp will culminate in a performance at the DSO’s Summer Melodies concert at the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

Chamber Music Camp: Open to students entering grades 10-12, as well as advanced ninth graders and graduated seniors playing violin, viola, cello or bass, the camp is designed for advanced string players. Students will be grouped into ensembles according to age and ability and spend the week learning new repertoire. They’ll also receive one-on-one lessons, coachings, master classes and performance opportunities. The camp will conclude with a public recital in Clarke’s Jansen Music Hall.

More information:

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 Music Program. This year’s high school production will be “Rent School Edition,” Thursday, June 6-Sunday, June 16. The theater’s Kids-for-Kids Show, featuring two casts, will be “The Wind in the Willows,” Thursday, July 11-Sunday, July 21.

More information:

Rising Star Theatre Company

Theatrical summer camps are available for a range of ages.

More information:

The Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Company

Frogwarts School of Wizardry Summer Camp is available in three sessions: Sundays-Saturdays, July 7-13, 14-20 and 21-27. Participants incorporate science, math, reading, writing and acting, and all take on a role-playing wizard persona, including staff. Campers 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:

University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts

In addition to the well-established Pioneer Summer Band Camp for students entering grades 7-12 and graduating seniors — set for Sunday-Saturday, July 7-13 — the department will offer a theater camp for high school students and two art camp sessions, one for middle school students and one for high school students.

More information:

YogArt Camp

Ages 4-7 can join the camp focused on practices of art and yoga Monday-Tuesday, June 17-18, or Wednesday-Thursday, June 19-20. Ages 7-14 camps will take place Monday-Thursday, June 10-13, or Saturday-Tuesday, June 15-18. And ages 12-16 camps will take place Monday-Tuesday, July 8-9.

More information:

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The museum will host Fairy Tale Days with “Once Upon A Time” through Saturday, Sept. 7. Included with admission to the museum and free for members and those younger than 3, kids can enjoy STEM activities, costumed character visits, arts and crafts activities and more.

More information:

Creative Adventure Lab

Five-day camps are available in the mornings or afternoons, including Lego Camp, 2D Art Camp, Pottery Camp, Climbing Camp, Moving Making Camp, Minecraft VR Camp and VR Design Camp for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, beginning Monday, June 17, and running through Monday, Aug. 5.

Weekend mini camps in Climbing and Minecraft VR also are available on Saturdays, July 27 and Aug. 3, for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

More information:

Shake Rag Alley

Youth programs at the Mineral Point, Wis., location this summer will include papier-mache art for the Fourth of July parade, two free arts camps, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Day and Be in a Play Camp. Youth programs run Monday, June 17, through Monday, Aug. 19.

More information:

Capri Camp

Those in grades 3-7 can learn the creativity behind beauty. The camp will take place Monday-Friday, Aug. 5-9.

More information:


Loras College All-Sports Camp

From Sunday, June 16, through Friday, July 19, four sessions will be offered for campers wanting to explore a variety of athletic activities.

More information:

The great outdoors

Dubuque County Conservation

For ages 3-14, camps include Toddling Into Nature, Sapling Camp, Maple Camp, Oak Camp, Park Explorers, Adventures at Swiss, Adventures at Heritage, Ready to Navigate, Pioneer Camp and backpacking trips through Yellow River State Forest and Black River State Forest. Camps span June through August.

More information:

Eastern Iowa Horse & Pony Camp

From Sunday-Saturday, June 16-22, campers in grades 3-12 can participate in riding lessons, interactive learning and other activities.

More information:

Dubuque YMCA/YWCA Union Park Day Camp

From June through August, one-week sessions are available for youth to enjoy nature and outdoor activities such as archery, arts and crafts, hiking, creek stomping, horseback riding, low ropes course, swimming, zip lining and more.

More information:

Galena (Ill.) Arts 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 Mondays-Fridays throughout the summer, with drop-off and pick-up times, families have the flexibility of choosing which weekly themes interest their children, ages 3-12.

More information:

Youth enrichment

St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s Heroes Summer Academy

This six-week camp open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade will focus on building better learners, readers, kids and heroes. The program includes field trips in conjunction with literacy, STEAM and conscious discipline and social emotional curriculum. It will take place Monday, June 17, through Friday, Aug. 2, in Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa.

St. Mark ArtSMARTS also will be offered in partnership with the Dubuque Museum of Art for students in grades 3-5.

More information:

Sisters of St. Francis

Best Franciscan Friends Camp is a day camp for girls who will finish fourth or fifth grade. Girls will participate in activities with the sisters, including creating crafts, playing outdoor games and more.

Surfin’ the Cs (Compassionate, Confident, Courageous, Christian) is a two-night leadership camp available to girls who will finish sixth, seventh or eighth grade. Girls will join the sisters for spiritual and creative activities highlighting leadership and the four Cs.

More information:

Clarke University

Clarke will offer a variety of summer youth camps from its Coding Academy for grades 6-12, Monday-Friday, June 17-21, to Culinary Boot Camp for grades 6-9, June 17-21; and Nursing Cadets Academy for grades 6-9, Wednesday-Friday, June 19-21.

More information:

Northeast Iowa Community College

Beginning in June through August, NICC will offer a wealth of summer youth summer camps, including Be Your Own Boss, Kids in the Kitchen: Junior Chef, Game On with STEAM, Mini Gateway to Technology, Murder Mystery Camp, Coding for Kids, Ride the Waves, An Introduction to Manufacturing, Kids on Campus, Build Your Own Business, NICC for Kids and Healthcare Faces of the Future.

More information:

UD for Kids

In its 27th year, the University of Dubuque offers a wide range of enrichment activities for kids in variety of areas from theater to baking, history, science, art, poetry, math, engineering, mindfulness, aviation, tree house design, team building and more.

Week one camps for grades 1-2 will be Monday-Friday, June 17-21. Week two camps for grades 3-4 will be Monday-Friday, June 24-28. Week three camps for grades 5-7 will be Monday-Friday, July 8-12.

More information:

Holy Family Catholic Schools

From arts and culinary camps to sports, show choir, “Harry Potter,” language and literacy, leadership, STEM and pre-kindergarten focuses, academic and athletic options abound for youth. Most camps begin in June and run through August.

More information:

More resources

City of Dubuque Recreation and Leisure Services:

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

Mines of Space Recreation Center:

Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center:

Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens:

Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation:

Megan Gloss writes for the Telegraph Herald.

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