April 21, 2011

Touch of Nature plans Wild Outdoor Week camps

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- What could be more fun this summer for kids than enjoying exciting outdoor adventures?

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is offering four sessions of its Wild Outdoor Week camp this year, including three all-new experiences. Along with the popular Wild Outdoor Week, there is also WOW Southern Adventures, WOW Water Camp and Wow Climbing Camp. Each camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.

Camp participants can take advantage of free transportation from the SIUC campus to Touch of Nature. Pickup will be at 8 a.m. and drop-off at 4:30 p.m. each day at the SIU Arena.

Each session is a unique, experiential adventure with an emphasis on learning and individual growth through outdoor experiences, activities and exploration. Youngsters entering grades six through nine this fall will enjoy the traditional WOW Camp offering a little bit of everything July 11-15. The Touch of Nature Underway Adventure Program camp includes canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, team building activities, lots of swimming and time on the exciting high ropes course. Registration is $300 and there’s a limit of 20 campers.

WOW Southern Adventures is July 18-22 and it is open to youths entering grades seven-10. Participants will explore some of the incredible outdoor locations around Southern Illinois, including Giant City State Park, Little Grand Canyon, the Panther Den Wilderness Area, the Bald Knob Wilderness, Garden of the Gods and areas of the Shawnee National Forest. Learn the basics of camping, trekking and surviving outdoors and at week’s end, participants can put their new-found knowledge to the test during an overnight outing.

There is a limit of 14 participants for WOW Southern Adventures. The cost is $325.

WOW Water Camp is Aug. 1-5 for those entering seventh through 10th grades. Participants will learn about outdoor water travel, safety procedures, and how to paddle in moving or flat water. This camp also concludes with an overnight adventure experience as participants paddle on and camp alongside the Eleven Point River under the supervision of Touch of Nature staff. The camp fee is $375.

The final session is WOW Climbing Camp, set for Aug. 8-12. Open to those entering grades seven to 10, this camp gives participants the basics of rock climbing and other climbing activities. They’ll learn about safety, proper knots, equipment and gear from trained experts and test their knowledge and technique climbing in Giant City State Park. The camp concludes with an overnight outing at Jackson Falls where the Touch of Nature staff will help participants climb the cliffs.

“Touch of Nature’s Wild Outdoor Week is shaping up to be more exciting than ever this year with three new theme weeks that include sessions for rock climbing, hiking and canoeing. Every year our Wild Outdoor Week camp is a joy to attend and this year should prove to be one of the best we have offered,” said Travis Geske, assistant program coordinator at Touch of Nature.

You can find more information and register online for the camp at http://www.ton.siu.edu. WOW Camp often fills up fast so organizers recommend signing up early.

For more information about the sessions of WOW Camp 2011, contact Geske at 618/453-1121 or by e-mail at travisg@siu.edu.