Aerial view of an adult instructing children in how to use a pottery wheel

June 26, 2024

Media advisory: SIU summer camps and conferences June 30 through late July

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting a diverse assortment of academic, athletic, art, music and outdoor camps and conferences for people of all ages and interests this summer, providing numerous opportunities for reporters, photographers and news crews to secure appealing activity stories, photographs and video in the coming weeks.

Rocketry and avionics, clay sculptures, modern masters, the great outdoors and much more are among the focuses of the camps and conferences. (Note that scheduled activities are subject to change due to weather and unforeseen circumstances.)

It’s not too late for campers to sign up for an enjoyable, enriching summer experience. Visit for the complete schedule and additional details.

Camp and conference organizers would be happy to be interviewed about these events, which are underway through late July. Photos of select past camps from 2024 are available upon request.

Array of options

Here are media opportunities for June 30 through late July, along with brief descriptions, contact information and opportune times to visit:

  • Art Exploration – children in grades 1-3 and 4-8 will explore the wide world of art throughout the week July 8-12 as the younger children focus on a different medium each morning from 9-11 and the older children do so each afternoon from 1-4 p.m., creating a masterpiece inspired by a new famous artist each day. Visit the Craft Shop in the lower level of the Student Center 9:30-10:30 a.m. or 1:30-2:30 p.m. as they work with clay, fibers, printmaking, painting and drawing. Contact Stephanie Dukat at or 618-453-3636 to learn more.
  • Rocketry and Avionics Educators Workshop – this popular professional development workshop July 8-11 is designed for STEM educators of middle school students to help them explore the relationship between mathematical skills and physics performance through modeling, hands-on applications, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis to spark student interest in the STEM fields and especially in space. This conference in the agronomy classroom and field behind it is full. You can join the teachers 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 10 at the SIU Farms Astronomy Observation Area (a remote, semi-dark observation site at night) to see them launch the rockets, complete with payloads and altimeters, that they will build themselves as they prepare to bring rocketry into their classrooms. For additional details, contact Heather Arnett at 309-846-2649 or Chris Sewell at 309-830-4010.
  • Clay Sculptures – campers will learn a variety of techniques for creating hand-built sculptures with clay, including coiling, pinching and slab building. They will also use colorful underglazes, slips and cold finishes to create works of art. Grades 1-3 will meet from 9-11 a.m. and grades 4-8 will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. July 15-18 in the Craft Shop, located in the lower level of the Student Center. Join them 9:30-10:30 a.m. or 1:30-2:30 p.m. July 17-19 as they will be creating their clay sculptures and painting them. Reach out to Stephanie Dukat at or 618-453-3636 with questions.
  • Modern Masters: Drawing and Painting – participants will enhance their drawing and painting skills as they explore the works and techniques of a select group of famous master artists including Van Gogh and Matisse, learning how the pros captured mood and emotion in their paintings during this camp July 22-26. Children in grades 1-3 participate 9-11 each morning and grades 4-8 come each afternoon. Come 9:30-10:30 a.m. or 1:30-2:30 p.m. July 23-26 for the best opportunity to see how the campers look to the masters for inspiration and create their own masterpieces.

Options at Touch of Nature

Touch of Nature Outdoor Center, about 8 miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road, is hosting several sessions of its popular EDventure Camps in July. Story opportunities include:

  • Forest Critters – youngsters ages 5-10 explore the camp’s woodlands as they express their budding naturalist side and channel their inner critter enthusiasm to use magnifying glasses and other tools to discover which creatures make their homes in the canopy of Southern Illinois forests. They will also enjoy games, free play and a variety of activities and lessons from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. July 8-12. Options to consider include:
    • “Clovers” ages 5-6, the youngest of the campers, will be participating in music, art and theater in the Burke Lounge at Camp 2 from 1-3 p.m. July 8.
    • “Bobcats” ages 8-10 will be enjoying the giant outdoor swing in Camp 2, 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 10.
    • “Raccoons” ages 7-8 will take part in a variety of hands-on environmental education activities at Camp 2, 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 10.
  • Water Wonders – children ages 5-10 dive into the wonderful world of water as they explore Little Grassy Lake and Indian Creek, navigating the waterways by boat and through invigorating swimming and diving expeditions. They will investigate aquatic flora and fauna, make friends and enjoy a variety of other activities 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. July 15-19. Opportune times to visit are:
    • Join “Clovers” ages 5-6 as these youngest Touch of Nature campers learn outdoor living skills at Camp 2, 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 16.
    • “Raccoons” ages 7-8 and the “Bobcats” ages 8-10 will come together to enjoy a variety of sports and games at the Camp 2 playfield, 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 16.

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

Camp Little Giant camps always popular

Media opportunities for Camp Little Giant, SIU’s historic “can-do” camp for people with disabilities, include:

  • Adult Retreat, Session 2 – Set for July 15-19, this exhilarating camp is designed for adults of all ages who are looking for the thrill of adventure coupled with the serenity of nature, featuring a program that includes swimming, boating, sports, games, environmental education, arts and crafts, and much more with a camper-to-staff ratio of 4 to 1. Catch them participating in music, art and theater activities in Touch of Nature Camp 2 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 16.

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

Double the enjoyment

Campers from EDventure Camps and Camp Little Giant will join together several times for fun all-camp lake parties on the Touch of Nature Camp 2 beach. Details of the get-togethers include:

  • Campers from EDventure Forest Critters and Camp Little Giant Lily Pads will enjoy swimming and other beach activities 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 12.
  • EDventure Water Wonders participants and Camp Little Giant adult campers will enjoy a big beach party 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 19.

Contacts 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 SIU summer camps and conferences while Saluki Athletics and other campus units handle the rest.