Touch of Nature Edventure camp campers

April 28, 2022

SIU’s summer camps are filling up fast, sign up now for unimaginable fun

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Children and youths still have time to sign up for the wide variety of enriching, educational and fun camps for all ages, abilities and interests at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Many camps are filling up fast and some, such as Summer Wings, the camp where participants actually fly, have very few spots left.

There are literally dozens of academic, adventure, athletic, art, music and outdoor camps for age 4 through college age. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and available online, by fax, email or via telephone. So, if you want to make this the best summer imaginable, check out all the options now at or call 618-536-7751.

SIU’s Conference and Scheduling Services, Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center and Saluki Athletics, along with nearby John A. Logan College, are offering a wide array of experiences. Some are brand new for 2022 while others are longtime favorites.

Diverse opportunities, indoors and out

One newcomer to the lineup, the Gamification Camp, brings together the cutting-edge fields of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, podcasting and gaming with exciting sessions for junior high and high school students. Other new camps include Pathways to Saluki Medicine, providing a chance to explore a career in medicine with professionals in the field, and Uncovering History: Archaeology Field Camp, during which campers will actually help uncover the remnants of historic Fort Kaskaskia. The popular Saddle Up Camp, featuring horseback riding and more, returns for a second year with two sessions.

SIU’s Lego Camps are a perennial favorite for all ages, and there are numerous sessions this summer, including beginning and advanced engineering, WeDo Robotic Engineering Legos Camp and Mindstorm Legos Camp. All are led by Jon Davey, architecture and design professor, who has won numerous awards and recognition for both his teaching and his camps.

SIU’s camps truly encompass all interests. Girls entering grades 6-8 can get involved in hands-on science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math experiments and demonstrations at the Girls STEAM Camp while the SIU Summer Showcase Camps, another debut, offer baseball players the chance to show off their prowess on the field in front of the entire SIU coaching staff and receive full evaluations and professional workouts.

Perhaps your child has a more artistic flair? SIU’s Craft Shop offers more than a dozen different art camps where children can draw their own comic books, make wearable art, create with clay and so much more.

If outdoor exploration and adventure is more to their liking, be sure to check out the numerous Edventure Camps offered by Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of the main campus on Giant City Road. Each offers a wide variety of age-appropriate activities that vary from camp to camp but include hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, swimming, zip lining, paddle boating, learning basic survival skills and so much more.

Organizers have worked to expand the camp opportunities, opening them to as many children and ages as possible. The Edventure Camps are offered as morning sessions for children as young as 4-5. Trained supervisors ensure the camping experience is fun and safe, organizers say.

Camps for ages 13-16 at Touch of Nature offer high-adventure options, including overnight camping, high ropes, river-to-river zip line adventures and even a backcountry and canoe adventure trip in the Missouri springs. Youngsters ages 6-12 have numerous choices as well.

Led by professionals, offering many perks

All SIU summer camps are directed by educational professionals who are experts in their fields. Camp participants will learn from skilled, knowledgeable faculty, coaches, outdoor professionals, artists and others. 

Organizers say the camps are a fun, exciting addition to the summer for children and a great option while parents are working, but more than that, the camps can help children:

  • Enhance their social skills and meet new friends.
  • Develop lifelong skills.
  • Keep their minds and bodies active and learning.
  • Build confidence and become more resilient and independent.
  • Explore new areas of interest or enhance existing skills and abilities.

All camps 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.

campers at lego camp

children learning about clay from an instructor