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April 21, 2021

SIU will offer in-person, virtual summer camps and programs

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Fun, enrichment and the opportunity to expand horizons is the focus Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s in-person and virtual summer camps. The camps are for children and youths ages 5-18 with options also available for college students and adults.

Conference and Scheduling Services is partnering with SIU Athletics, academic units and other departments and organizations across campus to offer a myriad of continuing education and other programs.

Safety is paramount

While SIU was able to offer a full slate of virtual camps in 2020, the university is expanding its offerings for 2021 to include in-person camps and programs this year, all in a safe format. That will include mask requirements and social distancing guidelines.

“During this time, the safety of our campers is of utmost importance,” said Sarah VanVooren, associate director of Conference and Scheduling Services. “We want to provide a great experience, but also a safe experience. Therefore all summer camps will follow IDPH Restore Illinois Camp Guidelines.”

New camps premiering

Three brand new camps are on tap for 2021, giving youths and community members a chance to explore different possibilities. The annual Summer Wings Aviation Camp for high school students is a long-time favorite and now, SIU is offering several sessions of Junior Aviator camps for younger children. Some camps have a flight focus while others are oriented toward aviation technology.

Saddle Up is a new equine camp provides plenty or riding time and will give participants the chance to learn about potential equine-related careers and how to properly care for horses.

The new SIU ESports Arena is a popular spot for SIU students and now, teens ages 12-15 have a chance to see what the competitive gaming craze is all about, develop communication and problems-solving skills and be part of a gaming team at the ESports Boot Camp 101.

Eclectic general lineup

SIU is also presenting an assortment of academic and general camps and programs. The schedule, along with the dates, ages of participants, and brief descriptions, include:

  • American Sign Language for Kids – five different weeklong sessions of this class for children in grades 2-12 are being offered in June and July.
  • Kid Architecture camps – grade school students will explore the built world in this award-winning camp. Two sessions are set for June 7-11 and June 14-18.
  • Junior Aviator camps – junior pilot and junior mechanic camps for children in grades 1-3 both take place June 7-11; junior aviator II for children in grades 4-5 is June 21-25 and junior aviator III for students in grades 6-8 is June 28-July 2.
  • Saluki Adlab Graphic Design Workshop – high school students and adults can learn graphic design and advertising techniques, June 8-9.
  • Summer Wings Aviation camp – high school students experience the thrill of flight during this popular camp, June 13-18.
  • Challenge to Excellence – for nearly 40 years academically talented students have enjoyed this residential camp experience. Students in grades 9-12 can attend sessions June 20-25 or July 18-23.
  • Middle School Architecture Camp – middle school students will learn about how the world is built, June 21-25.
  • Cooperative Youth – campers in grades 9-12 learn how cooperatives work, June 24.
  • Saluki Adlab High School Advertising Initiative – students in grades 9-12 will explore a variety of areas in the advertising field and learn basic advertising production, July 7.
  • School of Accountancy SOAR camp – students from grades 10-12 can explore careers in accounting and business, July 11-17

Wide World of Sports

Campers can enhance their athletic skills in a variety of arenas through these camps from the Equine Science program, SIU Athletics and ESports:

  • Saddle Up equine camp, grades 5-8, June 7-11.
  • Saluki baseball camp, ages 7-13, June 14-28.
  • Saddle Up juniors equine camp, grades 3-5, June 21-23.
  • Esports boot camp 101, ages 12-15, July 19-23.

SIU Athletics is also coordinating some athletics camps including:

  • Saluki Spirit Prep Clinic, a spirit squad day clinic for high school juniors and seniors. Four sessions are set for June 1-4, June 22-25, July 13-16 and Aug. 1-7.

Watch for information on numerous other athletic camps and registration details.

Making music

A variety of music camps will allow participants to learn from SIU’s talented musical Salukis. The schedule, along with dates and grades, include:

For all four of those session, campers can participate as individuals or groups.

Kids can explore their artistic side

The Student Center Craft Shop is offering numerous art camps for all ages. The camp schedule, along with dates and grades, includes:

  • Art Exploration – sessions for grades 1-3 and grades 4-8, printmaking, drawing and creating artwork with clay, fibers, and paint, June 14-18.
  • Outdoors Draw and Paint – campers will draw and paint in the great outdoors, session for grades 1-3 is June 21-25; grades 4-8 meet July 26-30.
  • Installation Art: Creating a Magical World – students in grades 4-8 will use assorted art media to create a sculptural art installation that will be on display in the Student Center’s Art Alley this summer, June 21-25.
  • Hand-built Clay Dinner Party – sessions for grades 1-3 and grades 4-8 will give participants the chance to create trays and all of the dishware for a personal place setting from clay, June 28-July 2.
  • Fibers and Printmaking – sessions for grades 1-3 and grades 4-8 will give participants the chance to make block prints, stencils, dye fabric, sew by hand and machine, create pillows, tote bags and other items, July 12-16.
  • Playing Board Games – sessions for grades 1-3 and 4-8 will give campers the opportunity to create their very own board games using clay and mixed media, July 19-23.
  • Clay Cookie Jars and Trays – students in grades 6-12 will craft large themed clay cookie jars, July 26-30.

Sign up early

Registration is open for many of the camps. Costs vary. Signup will be available soon for additional camp sessions as details are finalized. Early registration is encouraged as there are limits on class sizes for most camps.

Visit  for details and registration. Check back often for updates. Email or call 618-536-7751 with questions.

High school continuing education

Summer is also a great chance for high school students to learn new skills, prepare for college or life, or work on personal development through high school continuing education courses. The online classes last up to six weeks and some offer self-paced options. Classes include:

Adults can grow and learn as well

There is also a wide variety of programming for adults to promote personal and professional growth. Community members can participate in Advertising 101 for Small Business, an online class focusing on self-branding and business development, on June 10.

The Community Listener’s program gives participants a chance to experience actual SIU courses without receiving credit. There are no tests or grades but for $50 you get the classroom experience when there is available space. Participation is currently limited to online classes.

SIU also offers literally hundreds of online Continuing Education courses and certifications in a wide variety of topics – all taught by expert instructors.