May 07, 2014

WOW camps introduce youths to the outdoors

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- Outdoor adventure, hands-on learning and exploration experiences are what Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Wild Outdoor Week (WOW) summer camps at Touch of Nature Environmental Center are all about. 

Each of the two weeklong commuter camps feature a variety of special activities that will give participants the chance to experience Mother Nature up close, regardless of previous camping experience. 

WOW camp for boys and girls entering grades 5-8 this fall is July 14-18.  The WOW Southern Adventures camp is July 21-25 for youths entering grades 7-10.  Both camp sessions take place at the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. 

The Wild Outdoor Week camp is a sampler of what the region’s great outdoors and Touch of Nature have to offer. Campers will enjoy canoeing, rock climbing, the high ropes course, the zip line, hiking, swimming and team building experiences.   The cost is $250. 

Those attending the Southern Adventures camp will enjoy the high ropes course and other activities. They will also  explore some of the region’s beautiful natural areas including Giant City State Park, the Little Grand Canyon, Garden of the Gods, the Panther Den and Bald Knob wilderness areas, along with other locations in the Shawnee National Forest.  They will learn the basics of camping, hiking and surviving in the outdoors.  The cost is $300. 

Both camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.   Parents may drop campers off at the Touch of Nature and free shuttle transportation from the SIU Arena is also available.  Shuttle pick-up is at 8 a.m. and drop-off is at 4:30 p.m. 

For more information or to register for either of the camps, call 618/453-1121 or visit the website at