The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled many summer activities for kids around Douglas County, but some camps have found creative ways to bring some summer fun while following public health guidelines.
Here are six camps — both in-person and virtual — that will be running throughout August, and still have some space available as of July 29:
Food, Farm and Fun Camp For kids in grades 3-5, the Douglas County OSU Extension is providing free kits every Thursday for the next month.
The kits include activities for children to start their own garden, learn about seeds and farming and a bundle of produce from local farms.
Erin Maidlow, who works in OSU’s Nutrition Education and Outreach Programs, said she hopes kids will learn about new foods and the importance of supporting local agriculture. The kits include lessons about seed identification and gardening techniques.
“There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to learn about that in school, so we’re hoping that this will teach kiddos in our area about local agriculture and why it’s important to buy local and shop local,” Maidlow said.
The program has been going on for three weeks already, but Maidlow said she will reopen registration to welcome newcomers for the remainder of the program registration is online through the OSU Extension website, at https://bit.ly/FoodFarmFun.
4H Youth DevelopmentThroughout August, 4H will be offering unique crafting classes for youth ages 9-19, and adults too. The available classes include patch making, acrylic pour art, floral design, water marbling, growing bioluminescent succulents, wool felting, blacksmithing and jewelry making.
Laurie Michaels, the 4H Education Program assistant, said that the classes aim to teach new skills and crafts, and give kids a chance to socialize after a summer spent apart.
“I hope it will teach kids that a lot of the things they see and like, they can make themselves,” Michaels said.
The courses will be limited to 9 students each to adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and surfaces will be disinfected regularly.
The one-session classes start Aug. 5 and run through Aug. 30, and kids don’t have to be involved in 4H to participate. There is a $10 cost per person, with full-coverage scholarships available for qualifying students. Registration is online through the 4H website at https://extension.oregonstate.edu/4h/douglas.
Art Camps — Umpqua Valley Arts CenterThe Umpqua Valley Arts Center is holding art classes for kids in the first through eighth grade for the rest of the summer.
Classes are split between first through fourth grade and fourth through eighth grade. Courses for the first group from 9 a.m. to noon include art and food, jungle- and ocean-themed art, and edible art. For the older kids, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., remaining courses include paper-making, urban farming, painting and calligraphy.
There are also two special classes, photo fun for smartphone photography and editing for ages 10 and up, and folded paper and origami for ages 9 and up.
The full course catalog is available at uvarts.com.
“We’re providing an opportunity for kids, who have been in front of screens for a while, to get outside and get their hands dirty making art,” said UVA interim Arts Education Director Raino Isto.
Isto said that classes are limited to eight kids each, and they will have their temperatures checked upon arrival. Students will also be spaced out at regularly cleaned tables to adhere to public health deadlines.
The classes are Tuesday through Friday until August 21 and cost $100 per week for members and $125 per week for nonmembers. Each course theme runs for one week, and spots are filling up quickly, but there will be a waitlist for classes that fill up. Registration is online at the Umpqua Valley Arts website at https://uvarts.com/youth-education/.
Discovery College — Umpqua Community CollegeUmpqua Community College has made its summer camps completely virtual, turning to Minecraft, Roblox and other video games to teach kids about programming and design. There are still some seats left for the remaining courses that run through August 14.
There are two different age ranges, 8 to 11 and 11 to 14. Classes for both groups teach kids how to design their own games, learn beginning programming and game animation.
Camp Classes — Create & Sip StudioCreate & Sip Studio has several slots available for its art classes, for kids 8-12.
At space camp, kids can work on projects like resin pours, galaxy T-shirts, and a Star Wars painting. At pirates and mermaids camp, they will paint the Kraken, make soap and go on a treasure hunt downtown.
“It’s teaching the new techniques that they haven’t done before,” said studio owner Crystal Unrue. “Kids are fast, you have to keep them busy.”
The remaining camps are space camp from Aug. 3 to 7 and two pirates & mermaids camps, from Aug 10-14 and 17-21.
Summer of STEAM The Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub has free activities for every day of the week, with instructions for building a catapult, making musical instruments and egg drop experiments.
Activities can be found on the Douglas County Partners for Student Success website at http://www.dcpss.org/home-learning/steam-thinking-at-home/.