Summer Fun Has Begun!

Yes, you read that correctly, Spring may have just sprung, but if you're planning on shipping the kids off- I mean sending the youngsters to camp this summer, now is the time to get them signed up.

Luckily the Upstate has many options for summer camps-from day camps focusing on arts, sports, technology and outdoor activities to full-blown "sleep-away camps" that range from one week to multiple weeks to keep children entertained. Here's a look at just a few of the options...

In Spartanburg, the staff of the Hub City Bookshop will lead a five-day immersion camp focusing on fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Young writers will begin the day at the bookshop, attend classes in the Herald-Journal building, participate in "observation writing" sessions in Morgan Square and take field trips in the downtown area. At the end of the week there is a public reading at the Hub City Bookshop for family and friends. This camp is for ages 13-16.

Furman University will host a two-week intensive Chinese language summer camp July 6-20 for high school students from all over the U.S. who wish to become more conversational in Chinese called Startalk Furman Chinese Camp. Students will live on Furman's 750-acre campus, take language courses, participate in engaging cultural activities to reinforce language acquisition and be paired with Chinese students in Suzhou, China with whom they will practice their language skills via webcam every evening. The program is open to rising 10-12th graders who have taken at least one year of Chinese or the equivalent.

New this year, The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics is offering CREATEng, a four-day immersion into engineering and design-based thinking for rising 9th graders at the Greenville High Academy. Working in teams, students will engage in a problem-based curriculum where they apply principles of engineering design to solve daily challenges. CREATEng students will compete in team-based, hands-on challenges such as building a bridge, designing blades for a wind turbine, or constructing a parachute, interact with engineers on-site and during field trips, learn innovative thinking techniques to solve practical problems, develop engineering skills: problem solving, teamwork, data analysis, communication and innovation and build creative confidence.

Greenville Parks and Recreation offers several different options of summer day camps. Camp Kaleidoscope includes swimming, arts and crafts and field trips to local water parks while the Wanderers Teen Camp is geared to ages 12-14 and offers extended field trips to places like Carowinds and Six Flags along with video game tournaments and visits to local soup kitchens.

Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute has a wilderness adventure camp that includes rock climbing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking held at the Pinnacle Falls Camp in Pickens County.

for more than 100 years, YMCA Camp Greenville, has been hosting campers at its mountain retreat in Cleveland, SC. Camp options include a Mom/Dad and Me camp geared towards ages 5-6 where the young ones can "sleep away" with Mom or Dad but still get the camp experience. Other camps are geared towards older kids with some focusing on adventure activities including white water rafting, horseback riding, canoeing and backpacking.

These are just a few of the many options that parents and kids have to choose from this summer. For a more complete listing, visit the OurUpstateSC.info Calendar page.

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,Entrepreneur.com, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at www.dragonflyventures.com