camper practicing archery

March 23, 2022

SIU’s Camp Little Giant offers day camp fun for summer 2022

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Camp Little Giant, the first university-affiliated summer camp experience offered for children and adults with differing abilities, is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2022 with four day-camp sessions.

SIU’s Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center will host two sessions of the Traditions Day Camp and two sessions of the Dyna Day Camp this summer. All camp sessions are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Touch of Nature, an outdoor learning laboratory, will adhere to SIU’s policies and guidelines in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic as well as state and federal guidelines for its summer camps.

Accredited by the American Camp Association, the nationally recognized Camp Little Giant helped lead to the establishment of the Special Olympics, and one of its founders, William Freeberg, served as a consultant for the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, assisting Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Traditions camps for various ages

The Traditions Day Camp is for youths and adults with cognitive, developmental or physical disabilities who are able to eat, dress and handle other personal needs with minimal assistance. Participants will enjoy a wide variety of activities, including swimming, boating, arts and crafts, games, adaptive sports, music and therapeutic drumming, and more.

Camps include:

  • Session 1 – June 13-17, ages 18-50.
  • Session 2 – June 20-24, ages 9-17.

Dyna Camps for children and teens

Dyna Camp is for children and youths with attention deficit disorder and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who are able to follow directions, take care of personal needs and manage independently for brief periods. Participants will enjoy exploring the camp located alongside the Shawnee National Forest with activities including swimming, hiking, climbing, games, and arts and crafts.

Camps include:

  • Session 1 – June 27-July 1, ages 9-14.
  • Session 2 – July 11-15, ages 14-17.

The camps take place at Touch of Nature, 1206 Touch of Nature Road, about 8 miles south of Carbondale, off Giant City Road. The wooded, lakefront setting, offers traditional camp programming with activities, which vary from session to session, specially adapted to meet the needs and abilities of the campers. The camper-to-staff ratio is very low, typically about 4- or 5-to-1 for the camps, assuring plenty of personal care and attention for participants. Lunch is provided.

Registration underway

Sign up is now available for the camps on a first-come, first-served basis, and space is limited. All camp registrations are due at least two weeks prior to the start of the session. The cost is $400 per session. A limited number of camperships are available, worth up to $400 per camper, for those with financial needs.

Find additional information, including online registration, campership applications, opportunities to contribute and more, on the website. Call 618-453-1121 or email with questions. For more information about summer camps at SIU, visit

camp counselor watching two campers paint