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Nature Coast 2018 Summer Camps

By Diane Bedard Posted on May 31, 2018

Summer camp was traditionally an overnight camp with hiking, canoes and campfires led by camp counselors. While there are 7,000 overnight camps in the U.S., and 5,000 day camps, according to the American Camping Association, their primary purpose is educational, athletic, or cultural development.

Florida’s Nature Coast is known for its outdoor activities. People travel to Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties to immerse themselves in the natural environment that surrounds us.

The practice of running residential holidays, or “camp” for children away from their own home seems to have originated in Appenzell in the Alps in 1876, when Pastor Bion set up holiday camps in which children made tree-houses, sang songs, did drama, made kites and had adventure games, according to Wikipedia.

Although there are hundreds of local summer camp options for our children to participate in, finding the perfect camp can expand a child’s horizons and get them excited about a career or hobby that they may have otherwise felt impossible.

In homes where parents are working full-time outside their abode, often children continue in their after-care programs, turning into Summer Camp at the Y or Boys and Girls Club. These programs offer weekly field trips and consistency, but it can be nice to “shake it up” with something new for a week.

NatureCoaster contacted many summer camps in our area this year. We wanted to profile some that we think you will like:

Estuary Exploration Camp

Did you know that the Friends of Crystal River Preserve State Parks offers a Summer Camp that teaches archaeology and biology through hands-on experiences? All camp activities are conducted by professional archaeologists and biologists, including educators from FPAN, and allow kids to experience archaeology and biology first-hand through activities, experiments, and hikes!

The campers get outside and get dirty and wet and have a blast while being immersed in nature to learn how to appreciate and understand natural biology, take an active role in conservation, and relate to how ancient people lived life along Florida’s Gulf coast.

This camp is specifically geared to children ages 8-11 to ensure learning and fun are maximized. The Estuary Exploration Summer Camp is held at Crystal River Preserve State Park, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. the week of July 9-13 and is only $85. Just fill out the form here and mail it with your check by June 22 or call (352) 228-6028 or (352) 228-6024.

Theatre Camp

Live Oak Theatre in Brooksville is a nonprofit family theatre offering two weeks of theatre camp for children from age 7 through18, from 10 am to 4 pm with an hour lunch/flex time. (Children must bring their own lunch, snacks & water.)

Children will learn various concepts of musical theater including: Vocal technique & Song interpretation,    Costume & Set Design, Movement to music, Auditioning skills (students will receive a headshot), Stage make-up, as well as acting skills such as characterization, Improv technique and much more.

The cost is $150 per week and the dates are June 18-22 and June 25-29. Click here to fill out an application.

Horsin’ Around Camp

Hernando County Parks and Recreation’s favorite summer camp may just be Horsin’ Around Camp in Brooksville, where campers ages 8-14 will be assigned a partner and each pair will be assigned one horse that they will ride and care for, for the week. The campers will be taught and expected to lead, groom, tack up, ride, feed and clean stalls for their assigned horse. The goal is to give the camper the true feeling of being a horse owner.  While having the fun of riding is important, the work involved will be experienced as well. Requires a waiver to be signed. Two camps are available: June 11-15 and June 18-22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $200 per week. Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Sports Camp

Enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor sports activities with Hernando County Parks and Rec, including basketball, flag football, tennis, dodge ball, kickball and more. Campers will spend each day learning the rules and playing the games of the most common sports they love to participate in. $75 per camper for ages 8-14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 18-21 or July 9-12. Before/After care from 7:30 am to 4 p.m. is available for an additional $15. This camp is held at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Basketball Camp

Learn the fundamentals of basketball with drills and skills followed by scrimmage games with Hernando County Parks and Rec. Two weeks to choose from: June 11-14 or July 23-26. $75 per camper for ages 8-14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 18-21 or July 9-12. Before/After care from 7:30 am to 4 p.m. is available for an additional $15. This camp is held at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Volleyball Camp

Learn the fundamentals of volleyball with drills and skills followed by scrimmage games with Hernando County Parks and Rec. Two weeks to choose from: June 11-14 or July 23-26. $75 per camper for ages 8-14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 25-28 or July 16-20. Before/After care from 7:30 am to 4 p.m. is available for an additional $15. This camp is held at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Football Camp

Learn the fundamentals of the game, drills, skills and conditioning. Camp will be conducted by Calvin Brown and Marion Jones who work with the local high school programs through Hernando County Parks and Rec. $75 per camper for ages 8-14, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 30-August 2. Before/After care from 7:30 am to 4 p.m. is available for an additional $15. This camp is held at Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Kayak-Spring Camp

Explore some of Florida’s prettiest springs with Hernando County Parks and Rec. Kayak and explore the natural springs. May include Weeki Wachee Spring, Juniper Springs, Silver Springs, and the Rainbow River. Pick up and drop off times will vary depending on the week/trips. Two weeks are available: June 18-21 and August 6-9. $100 per camper for ages 8-14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This camp is held at Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill. Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Outdoor Adventure Camp

Enjoy a week of adventures with Hernando County Parks and Rec. Some trips will be kayaking, offshore fishing, Rays baseball game, Adventure Island, Rainbow River, Fort Desoto, Tree Hoppers, Skyzone, Cemex, and others. Pick up and drop off times will vary. Three weeks are available for ages 8-14; June 4-8. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $175 per camper, June 24-29 for $210 per camper, and July 30-August 3 for $175 per camper. This camp is held at Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

Kids Cooking Camp

Introduce your young chef to a variety of skills, tastes, techniques and culinary experiences with Hernando County Parks and Rec. Chefs are paired in teams of 2-4 and will prepare a variety of recipes throughout the week. Two weeks to choose from: June 11-14 or August 6-9. $80 per camper for ages 9-14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 18-21 or July 9-12. Before/After care from 7:30 am to 4 p.m. is available for an additional $15. This camp is held at the Community Activity Center in Brooksville. Click here to Apply or call 352-754-4031.

While there are gymnastics camps, wakeboard camps, robotics camps, photography camps, academic camps, sports camps, and art camps throughout Florida’s Nature Coast, we hope this simple guide will help you find the perfect camp – or camps – for your child.

Please remember that day camps usually require children to bring a refillable water bottle, a lunch and sunscreen/bug spray. Some camps may be full and require you to put your child on a waiting list.

If you know of another great camp in the Nature Coast, please add it to this article in the comments!

 

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