KIDS University mixes studies with summer fun

6/20/2008 - By: Nicole Brown

Along with University summer session students, children in grades 2-8 are also getting a taste of academics and having some fun in the Reno sun. KIDS University, a University summer camp for younger students, offers a fun twist on learning and recreation during the hot summer months.

“It started about 10 years ago when one of the other program managers from Extended Studies went to a University back East and heard about it and thought it was possible to do it here,” said Teri Jones-Rodrigues, the KIDS University program manager. “So she started with a small program that had a lot of activity classes in it and it just grew from that.”

Since the start of the summer camp, academic classes have been added to the experience and children now get the opportunity to learn a variety of subjects like math in the morning and jump in the Lombardi Recreational Center pool after lunch.

And aside from creating a safe and fun environment for young children, many Nevada students and graduates as well as high school volunteers are also getting involved as camp counselors.

“I believe it’s a great opportunity to be around great kids,” said Marcos Pico, a KIDS U counselor and University undergraduate. “It’s really fun and I like to play sports – who doesn’t like to play dodge ball for eight hours?”

The children feel likewise.

“I thought it sounded fun so I tried it out last year and I really, really liked it a lot,” said 11-year-old Cameron James, a second-year camp attendee.

This week she is taking an E-Book class, in which children learn more about computer programs as well as creating fun projects on the monitors. But she said she’s especially anxious for her next week summer class – kayaking.

“I’m taking KIDS U kayaking and I’ve been kayaking a few times and I really like kayaking,” she explained as her eyes lit up.

Another returning child, Joe Sabini, said the experience is definitely enjoyable.

“It’s fun and my brother has done it for a couple of years,” the enthusiastic 8-and-a-half-year-old said.

When asked about what his favorite class was, he said KIDS U as a whole. But after mulling it over for a few seconds, he refined his answer.

“Byte me with an E-Book [is my favorite class] because I get to learn more about technology on a computer,” the young camper said.

The seven-week summer experience is broken down into one-week sessions in which the children attend different classes each week. For instance, Cameron James and Joe Sabini are now attending the E-Book class, but next week, they’ll have different classes to attend.

Kids U consists of seven consecutive one-week sessions. Each week costs $120 for half-day programming and $180 for a full-day programming.

“They [children] have academic classes in the morning and then in the afternoon they can play games in the gym, [they can also] swim, and then there are organized games up in the game room,” Teri Jones-Rodrigues said.

For more information about class schedules ranging from hip-hop to crime scene investigation, visit the Extended Studies website.


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