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The Realms of Cascadia is a world like no other, with elves, rangers, wizards, hobbits and fantastic struggles of good versus evil.
With imagination and a little help from instructors at the College of Southern Maryland’s Kids’ and Teen College, students 7 to 14 can journey to Cascadia this summer without traveling too far from home.
The “Lord of the Rings Survivor Camp,” “Hunger Games Survival Camp” and “Star Wars Survival Camp” combine obstacle courses, survival first-aid training, navigation tips, camouflage techniques and tracking skills training to help guide students in a week-long adventure to the end-game.
“Nearly 95 percent of all course offerings this summer are new or revamped. Kids’ and Teen College is aligning its programming with the Common Core to help students become more excited about learning throughout the school year,” said Jennifer Hamilton, youth course manager, in a news release from CSM. “Survival courses modeled after ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ are new this year to help students to increase self-confidence and learn basic first-aid and survival skills.”
In addition to returning favorites of robotics, computer gaming and animation, campers can learn about creating apps for mobile devices and computers and making their own digital music videos and video games.
For future pastry chefs, offerings for kids and teens include cake decorating basics, desserts and pastries and “For the Love of Chocolate.”
Reading camps include sessions with American Girls characters exploring life in 1850s New Orleans, the 1930s and the Great Depression and Maryland in Colonial times, for ages 7 to 10.
Additional reading and literature camps include, “Adventures of the Magic Tree House,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
Last summer CSM served more than 3,700 students in the tri-county area through Kids’ and Teen College programming.
Many students return year after year, including Gwyneth Luster, 10, of Waldorf who gravitates to science and computer classes but also likes trying new things.
“I want to take more science classes, and maybe some of the design classes. I would love to take a sewing class and another cooking class. I really enjoyed the computer animation classes and the film class — I love summer at the Kid’s College,” she said.
Cameron Williams, 15, of Indian Head has been attending Kids’ and Teen College every summer since he was 8, he said.
“Once I took a housing and construction class, and I learned that I like architecture. Now, I’m at North Point [High School] for drafting and plan to attend college and major in architectural engineering,” he said. “If it weren’t for Kids’ College, I most likely wouldn’t be where I am today, and who knows when I could have possibly discovered what I like to do most?”
“Unlike the rigors of a normal school day where students move from one subject to the next, CSM’s Kids’ and Teen College allows children to explore areas of interest for an extended period of time. Our instructors are energized and passionate about working with children on subjects that interest them,” Hamilton said in the release.
One of those instructors is 2008 Charles County Science Teacher of the Year Jason Walent who helped students explore the mechanics and engineering behind bridge building last summer.
Using toothpicks and gumdrops, students worked on designing structures that were durable yet flexible.
In addition to area elementary, middle and high school teachers, courses also are taught by CSM professors.
CSM mathematics professor Stepanie McCaslin has been a Kids’ and Teen College instructor for five summers teaching LEGO math and STEM for children in grades 3 through 5.
“I really enjoy working with young children during the summertime because the math methods I teach to college students during the regular school year are built upon the ideas that children generate during their elementary school years. It is energizing for me to see students engage in activities that will help them develop concepts they will use in upper-level mathematics,” McCaslin said in the release. “Children learn differently than adults do. In elementary school, children use manipulatives and kinesthetic activities to incorporate their physical world with mathematics concepts. If they are able to develop and witness these concepts at work in their own lives, the math becomes so easy.”
“In stringent and structured classrooms, teachers don’t always have the luxury of offering topics that are outside of their curriculum, and students don’t always have opportunities to linger on subjects that interest them. That’s why summer vacation is so important,” said John Terlesky, CSM youth program coordinator “We try to design our summer programs so that there will be something for everyone, whether the student is interested in space, animals, computers or art, the subjects can be explored at the student’s pace.”
For students interested in theater, new this year are two-week courses:
“Explore the World of Theater,” providing instruction on acting, directing, producing and reviewing a play, and “Set, Stage, Costume Design,” for students who want to experience a theater’s backstage life including how to design the set, stage the props and transform actors through their costumes.
New art and drawing courses include, “A Sticky Situation — Duct Tape Art,” “Pinterest Plenty,” “Multicultural Art,” “Design Your Own Wearable Art” and “Starving Artists.”
For teens wanting to explore various careers, the college offers opportunities to learn about human resources, cybersecurity, homeland security, criminal justice, nursing and firefighter careers.
Little Kids’ College camps offer programs for children who are 5 and 6 with morning and afternoon sessions.
Kids’ College camps are for children 7 through 10, Teen College is geared to children 11 through 14 and Career Academy is for teens 14 through 17.
Registration is open and can be completed online, in person or by mail.
Camps run in half-day or full-day sessions from June 16 in Prince Frederick and Leonardtown and June 23 for La Plata campus courses through Aug. 8, excluding the week of July 4.
Before and after care is available. Financing is available through the CSM’s FACTS payment plan.
To view the summer catalog or for information on registering for camps, go to www.csmd.edu/KidsCollege/index.html.