Starting Monday, Carroll Community College is opening its doors to summer learners again with some coronavirus precautions.
Whether you are five or 85 years old, college officials say students are excited for the education offered at the camps.
The summer camp has a few programs, Kids@Carroll, for ages five to 11. It includes programs like technology, science, creativity, cooking, career camps, robots, video game design and woodworking. There’s also Teen College for ages 12 to 15. They are offered similar courses but with more rigor. Adults can also sign up for personal enrichment courses this summer that range from art, languages and food.
“We are truly serving students who want to follow a passion, learn a new hobby, meet new people,” said Kathy Mayan, director of the college’s Lifelong Learning program.
She said the most popular classes are art, cooking, history, music, language and wine appreciation. Cassandra Casey, coordinator of Lifelong Learning, added in photography and hiking.
Casey, who crowned herself “Queen of Camp,” said she helps organize the camps, the teachers and the staff. She said most of the teachers work at the public schools. They are often passionate about a subject they do not get an opportunity to teach, or at least not to the extent they want, during the school year.
“In the summertime, they can do all those exciting things there isn’t time for,” Casey said.
She used the “mad scientist lab” for ages nine to 11, as an example. Students will learn the chemical and physical reaction of making bubbles. And although a nine-year-old would simply be excited to make bubbles, they could walk away with the scientific knowledge of how it happened.
Casey said the adults also become excited like kids during summer learning. They all want to learn something new. And when they do, Casey said, they explore it on their own. She used the Women in the American Revolution class as an example. Once they learned about the women in class, they researched more about them on their own and would say things like, “Betsy Ross didn’t really sew the flag,” Casey said.
Last year, like many programs, CCC’s summer camps were virtual due to the pandemic, and no in-person activity was allowed. However, its digital camps still worked. Casey said they had an online animal safari that included crafts and reading stories about animals.
“That excitement, whether in person or online, can be found here at Carroll,” she said. “The kids are having so much fun they forget they’re learning.”
Since families enjoyed the flexibility of online learning, the college decided to keep that component this year. Casey said she’s had kids say they want to take classes with their cousin who lives in another state and a dad who was able to continue classes while waiting for his daughter to give birth in California.
Mayan said if you asked her two years ago if they would run camp classes online, they would have said “no, that’s not really our thing” and “in-person hands-on activity is really what works for us.” But the pandemic allowed them to broaden what they are capable of bringing to the table, she added.
Last year, they had fewer students attend. This year, though the number is higher, attendance is lower than what it was before the pandemic. But that was by design, Mayan said. They are offering less classes than they had in the past and the priority this year was bringing students back in a safe manner.
Students have to wear masks if not vaccinated. The groups are small and the camps have no more than 12 students. The teacher student ratio is 1 to 6. And Casey said some of the camps are full but parents can enroll students a week at a time. The camp’s first week starts Monday, June 28 and the last week starts Aug. 16.
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For more information on registering, visit the college’s website.