Children are waiting their turn to play baseball. One young man is half-turned, smiling at the camera. He is wearing a blue and yellow baseball jersey and cap.

May 30, 2024

Media advisory: SIU summer camps June 2-15

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting a wide array of academic, athletic, art, music and outdoor camps for children and youths of all ages this summer, offering numerous opportunities for reporters, photographers and news crews to capture engaging activity stories, photographs and video in early June.

Camps focus on medicine, flight, baseball, Legos and much more. (Note that scheduled activities are subject to change due to weather and unforeseen circumstances.)

Campers can still sign up for a summer experience. Visit for complete details.

Variety of possibilities

Here are media opportunities for June 2-15, along with brief descriptions, contact information and favorable times to visit:

  • Pathways to Saluki Medicine – High school students get a great introduction to the world of medicine with hands-on learning experiences in anatomy and physiology as they interact with professionals in the medical and biomedical science fields during this overnight camp June 2-7, courtesy of the Physiology Department in the SIU School of Medicine. Join them in Life Science II, Room 149, on June 4 from 1-5 p.m. as they complete first aid and CPR training and/or 6-7:30 p.m. as they learn surgical techniques from a local plastic surgeon providing a suture clinic. Contact Angie Raymer at or 618-534-7261 or Chelsea Griffith at or 618-499-7205.
  • Saluki Baseball Summer Camp I – Baseball enthusiasts ages 7-10 of all abilities, genders and skill levels will enhance their hitting, fielding, pitching, bunting, infield and outfield play, specific position work and base running at Itchy Jones Stadium each morning June 3-6 with help from the university’s professional coaching staff and players. There will be supervised game activity as well. You are welcome any time between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. June 3-6 as campers learn fundamentals and receive instruction with plenty of fun and games mixed in. Direct questions to Jake Ryan at or 818-200-3997.
  • Junior Aviator III Pilots – Children entering grades 1-3 get a fun introduction to the exciting field of flight and aviation during this weeklong half-day camp June 3-7 as they participate in hands-on activities to simulate how pilots prepare for a flight, including studying types of aircraft, airports, maps, weather and flight planning. Visit the Glenn Poshard Transportation Education Center activity rooms from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. June 5 as the “junior pilots” create an outdoor airport with sidewalk chalk or from 8:45 a.m. to noon June 7 as they learn how to do preflight inspections. To learn more, contact Ken Wilkins at or 618-453-9216 (office) or 978-866-9295 (cell).
  • Saluki Baseball Summer Camp II – This baseball camp is open to ages 11-14, regardless of gender, skill level or grade. It’s designed to help campers improve their hitting, bunting, base running and pitching as well as their infield, outfield and specific position play skills. They will be divided by age groups for more individualized instruction and enjoy supervised game activity. SIU’s coaching staff and players will provide the instruction at Itchy Jones Stadium. You are welcome any time between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. June 10-13 to capture photos, video or interviews as campers practice skills and fundamentals and enjoy games and activities. Contact Jake Ryan at or 818-200-3997 for more information.
  • Legos camps – SIU is offering four unique and exciting Legos camps the week of June 10-14 for differing ages and interests. You are welcome to come any time between 8:30 and noon or 1 and 4:30 p.m. June 10-14 to Quigley Hall Rooms 118-120 to capture photos, video and interviews of participants. Camps include:
    • Beginning engineering Legos camp — Each morning, children in grades 1-2 will create a wide variety of engineering projects, including a motorized car, merry-go-round, conveyer belt and more.
    • Advanced engineering Legos camp – Each afternoon, children in grades 3-5 will create more advanced engineering projects, including a motorized dragster, a tow truck, a helicopter and an airplane.
    • WeDo Robotics Legos camp – Each afternoon, children in grades 3-5 will use Lego Education WeDo hardware and software to engage in interesting learning experiences that use wild animal themes to teach science, literacy, math and social studies with drama, music, visual arts and technology in a fun way.
    • Lego Mindstorms EV3 camp – Children in grades 3-5 will create and command their very own robots, using remote control and an app to take on challenging missions during the mornings.

For additional details about any of the Legos camps, contact Rebecca Dycus at or 618-453-1141 (office) or 618-559-1047 (cell).

  • Challenge to Excellence – This residential camp for academically talented youths in grades 7-8 is all about giving participants the chance to expand their horizons and promote higher level thinking skills and creativity with activities in art, drama, biology, psychology, math and a wide array of other areas, all presented in fun, engaging ways. The camp is in its 41st year. You can experience 3D printing as Professor Lingguo Bu works with campers to demonstrate from 9:30 to 11:20 a.m. on June 12 in Wham 308. To learn more, contact Jose Martinez Herrara at or 618-453-5493.

Options at Touch of Nature

Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center, about 8 miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road, is hosting several camps in early June, including several sessions of the facility’s own popular Edventure experiences, as well as camps held in conjunction with other sponsors. Most of the activities will be outdoors. Story opportunities include:

  • Edventure: Aerial Adventures – Participants ages 5-10 will soar to new heights in this camp that takes its inspiration from birds. Children will enjoy crafting kites, swinging high among the trees on the giant swing and all sorts of adventures from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. daily. Opportunities to consider:
    • Campers ages 5-6 will participate in sports and games, June 11 from 1-3 p.m. at the Camp 2 playfield.
    • Participants ages 7-8 will do high challenge activities, including flying high in the giant swing outdoors at Camp 2, June 12, 1-3 p.m.
    • Campers of all ages will enjoy an all-camp beach party, and may even be joined by campers from Camp Little Giant, on the beach at Camp 2, June 14, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Contact Sydney Pogue a or 618-453-3950 or Morgan Kruse at or 618-453-2906.

  • Team Illinois Youth Police Camp – This weeklong residual camp for youths ages 13-17 from diverse communities and backgrounds includes physical fitness, leadership, law enforcement and numerous other activities. Two dates provide especially noteworthy opportunities for media:
    • Camp safety day rotations, June 12, 1-4:45 p.m., in the Camp 2 upper parking lot — Cadets will learn about different safety and emergency service personnel positions including EMS, fire and police and practice skills.
    • Camp graduation, June 15, 10-11 a.m., Little Grassy Lodge, Friends Room — Cadets will be honored for their hard work, service and dedication in front of parents, guardians and loved ones.

Contacts for details about the Team Illinois Youth Police Camp are Katrina Medernach, or 618-453-3952, or Joey Watson, The camp is operated by local police and sheriff’s departments, social service agencies, the Illinois National Guard and Illinois State Police in conjunction with Touch of Nature.

Camp Little Giant camps in session

Camp Little Giant is SIU’s historic camp for people with disabilities, providing a ‘can-do’ experience since 1952. Media opportunities include:

  • Lily Pads, session 1 – Set for June 10-14, Lily Pads is for disabled children who have difficulty in social spheres or who need a little more attention than a traditional camp may offer. It offers a camper to staff ratio of 4:1. Campers with autism spectrum disorder, generalized anxiety, ADHD, social anxiety and similar conditions will enjoy swimming, boating, sports, games, outdoor education, arts and crafts, and so much more. A couple of different options are available for coverage:
    • Campers will enjoy arts and crafts at the Camp 2 Lyons Pavilion June 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.
    • They will be boating at the Camp 2 Beach June 12 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Contacts for Camp Little Giant are Sydney Pogue at or 618-453-3950 or Morgan Kruse at or 618-453-2906.

Events and Outreach and Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center coordinate most of the camps while Saluki Athletics and other campus units take care of the rest.