Summer Camps for Budding Cooks

If summer camp conjures up images of cabins, woods, sleeping bags, hiking, and crafts, then maybe it’s been a while since you’ve looked at the variety of camps available to young people. Those kinds of camps are still available, of course, if that’s the kind of camp experience that appeals to your child. But if it’s not, there are plenty of other options, from writing to sports to drama to cooking.

Cooking, in particular, has become a popular camp theme, and there are several opportunities here in the Upstate for budding young chefs to gain skills in the kitchen. Cooking is a valuable skill that incorporates math, science, and wellness, with tasty outcomes from the lessons—and the confidence that comes with being able to prepare a meal is not to be underestimated.

At Bob Jones University Culinary Arts Camp, for 11th and 12th graders, campers will learn cooking basics and knife skills, about breads and doughs, and about meal preparation. Instructors have more than 20 combined years of food service experience. Two camps are offered: July 17–22 and July 24–29; overnight camp is $225, and a day option is available for $125/week.

Plate 108 in Greer offers a variety of culinary camps for kids ages 8–16, including cooking skills, baking, a Cupcake Extravaganza, and a celebrity-chef-focused camp where young chefs will prepare recipes from popular TV chefs. Intro to Culinary Arts is available for ages 12–16. Check the website for dates and prices.

Among the many camp offerings at the two Upstate Girl Scout camps—Camp Mary Elizabeth in Spartanburg and Camp WaBak in Marietta—are several culinary options:

  • two sessions of Little Chefs (1st–3rd grades; Camp Mary Elizabeth; 6/6–6/10 and 7/11–7/15; $115 before 3/31, $140 after)
  • Snack Attack (2nd–3rd grades; Camp WaBack; 6/12–6/17; $275/$300)
  • Team Cuisine (4th–5th grades; Camp WaBack; 6/12–6/17; $275/$300)
  • Culinary Couture (6th–8th grades; Camp WaBack; 6/12–6/17; $275/$300)
  • two sessions of Culturific Cooking (6th–8th grades; Camp Mary Elizabeth; 6/13–6/17 and 7/18–7/22; $115/$140)
  • Fanciful Foodies (4th–5th grades; Camp Mary Elizabeth; 6/20–6/24 and 7/25–7/29; $115/$140)

The Science of Cooking is one of many adventure camps offered at the Primrose School in Simpsonville. Call 864-757-1191 for details.

In Pickens, Zest Quest University offers culinary classes as part of a wellness-based residential camp experience for kids aged 8–14 that also includes more traditional camp activities. Two weeks of camp are available: June 10–15 and June 17–22; $420 before April 1, $460 after that date.

While technically a gardening camp, Clemson’s Garden Creativity Camp will include cooking as one of the forms of expression campers will explore using the plants in the garden. Dates TBD; ages 5–12; $160 for three full days (8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.) and $90 for three half days (8:00 to noon). Check Clemson’s camp page for details.

Of course, there are plenty of non-cooking camp opportunities are available all over the Upstate, too:

Clemson University summer camps

Bob Jones University summer camps

Cherokee County YMCA camps

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate Camps

Roper Mountain Science Center Camps

Spartanburg County Parks Department Camps

Chapman Cultural Center Camps

Laurens Recreation Summer Camps

Upstate Girl Scout Camps

Extensive list of camps in and around Greenville

Camps in South Carolina


Photo credits: Banner, Lower right—Plate108; Top right—Zest Quest University/Clemson University; Center—Bob Jones University

Sharon Purvis is a freelance writer and editor who makes her home with her husband in Duncan, South Carolina.