May 18, 2020

Make summer 2020 a great experience with SIU’s virtual and alternative camps

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Imagine how much fun your children could have creating a magical fairy city, making funny face stamps, exploring other crafts and activities or learning sign language. And wouldn’t your teenagers enjoy learning to fly, exploring rivers and ecosystems or learning to write like a pro?

Summer can still be a special time of fun and learning for children and youths of all ages despite the COVID-19 pandemic and existing safety protocols, thanks to virtual and alternative camps and programs that Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Conference and Scheduling Services is offering. There is also programming for adults.

Going virtual

SIU officials made the difficult decision to cancel the popular traditional summer camp season for 2020 and quickly went to work to create an exciting schedule of virtual and alternative camp experiences for children and youths.

Registration is underway for a diverse selection of enriching, educational and fun programs.

Through individualized programming, Zoom classes, do-at-home projects and other avenues, camp participants will enjoy a special summer experience. There are specialized camps, art camps, and high school continuing education courses, as well as continuing education online courses and community listener programs for adults.

Costs vary depending upon the program, but organizers have made every effort to minimize expenses.

General camps

The specialized camp lineup for children and youth, along with a brief description of each and the dates, includes:

  • Summer reading skills program - individualized engaging online instruction for ages 4 years old through college, May/June.
  • Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp - soccer instruction for youths ages 6-16, June/July.
  • Sign Language for Kids - an introduction to sign language through children’s story books for grades 2-5, there are four different sessions set for June 15-19, June 22-26, July 6-10 and July 20-24.
  • Summer Wings Aviation Camp - high school students can explore a career as a pilot and use an online flight simulator, June 21-26.
  • Seeing Scientists STEM Camp - through online and at-home projects children in grades 3-5 will learn about the environment and ecosystems in their neighborhoods, June 8-12.
  • Rivers and Humans STEM Camp - using online and at-home projects, campers will learn how rivers move, change and affect ecosystems and the impact people have. There are sessions for youths in grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, both set for June 15-19.

Art camps

The Student Center Craft Shop is offering a unique assortment of virtual art camps. Materials for each camp will be available for pickup in front of the Student Center on a specified date or shipped for a slight additional fee. Classes will be through Zoom.

The camp schedule, along with dates and grades, includes:

  • Magical Fairy City – sessions for children in grades 1-2 and 3-4, June 9-12.
  • Color Vision: Landscape Painting – sessions for children in grades 1-3, 4-8 and 9-12, June 16-19.
  • Art Explorers – sessions for children in grades 1-2 and 3-4, June 23-26.
  • Funny Face Stamps – sessions for children in grades 1-2 and 3-4, June 29-July 1.
  • “It’s Greek to Me” Ceramic Vessels – sessions for children in grades 1-3, 4-8 and 9-12, July 7-10.
  • Mythical Creatures in Clay – sessions for children in grades 1-3 and 4-6, July 15-17.
  • Recycling Bin Sculpture – sessions for children in grades 1-3 and 4-8, July 21-24.
  • Colorful Kandinsky Jewelry – sessions for children in grades 1-3, 4-8, and 9-12, July 28-31.
  • Postcard Kit – Children in grades 1-12, ongoing throughout the summer.

High school continuing education

This summer also offers a great opportunity for high school students to learn a new skill, enhance their expertise or develop personally through a variety of continuing education courses. Classes run six weeks and start June 17 or July 15. Self-paced instruction options also are available.

Options include:

  • Everyday Math.
  • How to Get Started with Game Development.
  • Individual Excellence
  • Interpersonal Communication.
  • Introduction to Journaling.
  • Leadership. 
  • Mindfulness. 
  • Resume Writing.
  • Stress Management.
  • Successful Money Management.
  • Write Fiction Like a Pro.

Sign up several ways

Sign up now for any of the classes online, by email, fax or by calling. Register online at, by faxing 618/453-5680 or by calling 618/536-7751. Due to the Illinois stay-in-place restrictions, phone registrations are limited. Email for additional information.

Adults can grow and learn, too

Conference and Scheduling Services is also offering an assortment of programming for adults that promote personal and professional growth. Through the Community Listener’s program, you can experience actual SIU courses without receiving credit. There are no tests, no grades, but the chance to learn and explore for a $50 fee when there is available class space. 

SIU also offers hundreds of Continuing Education online courses and certifications in many different subjects and topics all taught by expert instructors.