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Options for area nature summer camps for children abound

Due to spring weather's delayed arrival, it may seem like summer is eons away; but the reality is, it will be here before we know it. I'm already planning summer vacations, sorting out our pool membership and researching summer camps for my son.

Some of my fondest memories of summer break as a child are from attending summer camp.

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Camp is a great way for children to meet new people, further explore activities they are interested in and release some of their boundless energy. My son is a nature-lover like me and enjoys anything that has to do with being outdoors.

When we were looking into summer camps, I was so excited about how many summer camps were offered in Baltimore County that had a focus on being outdoors and exploring our local natural habitat.

I thought I would share some of these with you, so that like me, your children can cultivate some amazing summer memories while enjoying all that our region has to offer.

Located in Oella, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum hosts the Banneker Discovery Camp. The camp is offered in four sessions and for two age groups. Children entering grades four through six can participate in either the session running July 6 through 10, or the one taking place July 20 through 24. Those entering grades one through three can attend one of two sessions, as well: Aug. 3 through 7 or Aug. 10 through 14. At this camp, children will not only learn about Benjamin Banneker, but also about how Colonial people lived during his time. Children will have a chance to explore the land and farm that once belonged to the Banneker family, as well as go on many nature hikes and explorations. There are many nature-based activities planned for campers, as well. For more information, visit https://benjaminbanneker.wordpress.com/banneker-discover-camp-2015.

At the beautiful Robert E. Lee park in Baltimore, there are several different camp options that will allow children ages 6 to 12 to get outdoors and enjoy one of our local parks, as well as play games and participate in team-building activities. Children also get to meet and learn about many animals while also gaining valuable outdoor skills. For specific camp information, visit http://www.relpnc.org/relpnc/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-Spring-Calendar-2.pdf.

If you are looking for an adventurous camp for your child, Earth Treks Climbing Center, in Timonium, offers a summer climbing day camp. The camp not only allows them to climb indoors and outdoors at local rock climbing areas, but it is also a great way for campers to learn teamwork and problem solving while exploring some of Maryland's parks. The camp is offered in five-day sessions from June 15 to July 31 for children ages 9 to 13 years old. For more information, visit https://www.earthtreksclimbing.com/md/instruction/summer-camps/climbing-day-camp/.

If you are looking for a summer camp that is close by, the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills has a number of summer camp options for children ages 2 to 15 from June 8 to Aug. 21. During camp, children can explore the many acres of natural habitat at the nature center while participating in trail walks, nature crafts and outdoor games. There are also encounters with animals that live at the center. To read more, visit http://www.explorenature.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/summer_camp2015_r3.pdf.

With all of these exciting summer camp options, your children will not only be making new friends and memories, they will hopefully be bonding with nature and discovering their passion for the outdoors.

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Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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