NIU academic, athletic summer camps challenge, thrill minds of young learners

Summer campers walk north on Normal Road.Whether your child wants to be a saxophonist, a scientist or soccer star, NIU has something for every young learner.

This summer, NIU is offering more summer camps than ever before to help kids learn new things and explore exciting career paths.

Day camps and residential camps are available from June to August for students entering first- through 12th-grade.

In addition to fun daily experiences, campers also can explore NIU’s campus and get a preview what life is like at a university – from residence hall culture and cafeteria food to advanced curriculum and problem-based learning.

Mark Pietrowski, associate director of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming, coordinates several of NIU’s camps and has seen first-hand the difference they have made in students’ lives.

“These camps are a great opportunity for students to come experience what college is like, living in a residence hall, learning from college staff and students, and having fun,” Pietrowski says. “Last year, a student told us that she felt like she learned more in a week of camp than in a year of school. Students really respond to the small group formats and one-on-one attention they get in camp.”

Summer is still a few months away, but now is the time to start registering for these popular camps.

Many NIU camps offer early-bird discounts. Others offer reduced rates for returning campers, multiple campers from a single family and NIU employees’ children.  There are also scholarship opportunities available for eligible students. Parents of students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch programs should contact camp coordinators for an additional discount.

Children don’t have to stop learning when the school year ends. Check out a comprehensive list of NIU’s summer day and residential camps below or download a brochure.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

Northern Illinois University is quickly becoming a regional leader in STEM studies.

Building on the popularity of community programs like STEMfest, Science Saturdays and the SF Teen Read, NIU STEM Outreach, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming and other STEM departments are expanding their summer offerings with more camps than ever before. Students can participate in day and residential camps on everything from the science of the environment, art or roller coasters to STEM, health career investigations and engineering.

  • Engineering Amusement: From Roller Coasters to Cotton Candy for campers entering grades 5-8. June 17-22
  • Introduction to Nanotechnology (Day Camp) for campers entering grades 10-12. June 18-22.
  • Camp Invention (Day Camp) for campers entering grades 1-6. June 24-29. A $15 discount is available during April. NIU employees seeking the employee discount for this camp must request a special application from Judith Dymond (jdymond@niu.edu).
  • Environment and Sustainability for campers entering grades 9-12. June 24-29.
  • Robotics for campers entering grades for campers in middle school. June 25-29.
  • Exploring Nature: Habitats and the Environment for campers entering grades 7-9. July 8-13.
  • Exploring Science through Art for campers entering grades 7-9. July 8-13.
  • High School STEM Careers Camp for campers entering grades 10-12. July 17-22.
  • Exploring Careers in Health and Human Science for campers entering grades 9-12. July 22-27.

Video Game Design

The DCL’s Game Design camps teach students the technology behind their favorite games.

The DCL’s Game Design camps teach students the technology behind their favorite games.

People of all ages play video games every day, but what really goes into creating a fighting plumber or an angry bird?

The Digital Convergence Lab will host day camps where students ages 11 to 16 can explore the technical as well as creative side of game design.

The DCL staff will guide students through lessons on animation, virtual worlds, character design, story development, logic and even sound effects as they create the detailed worlds of their games.

The DCL offers co-ed camps and “Just for Girls” camps. Students can sign up for either or both weeks of camp.

  • “Just for Girls” Week 1 – Video Game Development – June 18-21.
  • “Just for Girls” Week 2 – 3D Virtual World Development – June 25-28.
  • Co-Ed Week 1 – Video Game Development – July 23-26.
  • Co-Ed Week 2 – 3D Virtual World Development – July 30- Aug. 2.

Sports

For young athletes who wouldn’t miss a minute of the MAC Championship or the Final Four, NIU offers popular athletics camps including athletic training, baseball, cross country, football, men’s soccer, volleyball, and wrestling. Top collegiate coaches provide instruction to young athletes. Campers are grouped according to age and skill level and use NIU facilities.

Visual and Performing Arts

The spotlight is on budding artists, musicians, and thespians at the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ summer camps. Campers will learn to innovate, experiment, and grow as artists through group activities, personal exercises, and feedback from mentoring artists.

  • Theater Arts Camp Junior – Grades 6-8. July 8-13
  • Jazz Camp – Grades 8-12. July 15-20
  • Visual Arts Camp – Grades 8-12. July 15-20
  • Theater Arts Camp Junior – Grades 9-12. July 15-20

Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming offers a variety of camps to help students learn the craft behind their creative endeavors or find out how to channel their efforts into global leadership initiatives.

  • Creative Writing Camp – Grades 9-12. June 17-22.
  • Film Camp – Grades 9-12. June 24-29.
  • Speech Camp – Grades 9-12. June 24-29.
  • Creative Writing Day Camp – Grades 6-8. July 15-20.
  • Broadcast Journalism – Grades 9-12. July 15-20.
  • Global Leadership & Philanthropy Camp – Grades 9-12. July 15-20.

by Gillian King-Cargile

Creative writing camps offer students time to explore their craft and get one-one-one feedback from instructors.

Creative writing camps offer students time to explore their craft and get one-one-one feedback from instructors.

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