When Alice Cooper’s riotously insubordinate single “School’s Out” hit airwaves in 1972, a nation of parents leaned forward in their Oldsmobile station wagons to turn down the radio, grimacing at the thought. Sure, Cooper might think it was fun to celebrate the end of quotidian pencils, books and teacher’s dirty looks — but did he have three kids under the age of 10 to look after all summer long? (He did not.)
And while today, Cooper’s distinctively raspy voice may have traded places with the dulcet tones of a Korean pop group whose name you certainly can’t pronounce, the fear of a summer filled with cries of “I’m so bored!” surfaces fresh in parents’ minds each year that daytime temperatures start to creep up past 80 degrees.
Thankfully, parents in Key West can relax; there’s plenty of enriching children’s programming available this summer, with something to intrigue even the most determined of complainers. So turn the radio back up and roll the windows down; school’s out, and we’re so thrilled we could sing about it.
¦ The coolest kids we knew back in the day were fearless and smart. While we were holed up in our bedrooms with our asthma inhaler playing dolls, they were out building treehouses and rope-swinging into ponds, and they never let a skinned knee keep them down. Today, these kids all go to COAST Camp, described as a place where kids are introduced to “timeless skills and life lessons that will prove priceless as they grow up by the coast. Each day, campers will focus on a different, but integral theme that can be used at home, on the beach or out at sea. The lessons are completely hands-on, are rooted in traditional techniques and are sure to keep them involved and engaged throughout. Topics and lessons include everything from survival and skateboarding, to boating and beating drums, to tree climbing and beachcombing.” The camp serves kids ages 6-12. COAST also offers a neat journey-as-the-destination camp that focuses on getting kids familiar with the coastline and historic Key West landmarks, as well as a camp for wee ones ages 4-8. It might be time to put down the dolls and pick up the boogie board. Full itineraries, registration and details are available at coastprojects.com/camp.
¦ To raise a Zuckerberg, you need to start him or her young: Enter Code Breakers Camp, which teaches kids ages 8-12 the basics of computer programming, coding and how to build a computer capable of surfing the web, word-processing, games and more. Get a head start on a lifetime of “Mom, you have to turn the computer on to open your email, duh!” by enrolling your future techies in this highly interactive course beginning June 20. Go to fkcc.edu/community/summer-camps/codebreakers/ for session dates and registration information.
¦ Now in its 16th year, the Bahama Villiage Music Program has a wide selection of summer programming for the tiny Mozart or Mariah in your life. From music theory to School of Rock, steel pan to songwriting, there’s something musical happening almost every day of the week. (Just don’t write us to complain that your tinnitus is acting up after registering your kid in a drum line class.) Visit bvmpkw.org/ to learn more.
¦ ArtCamp! 2016 has announced its summer programming lineup, and as usual, the schedule boasts some of the most exciting and coveted camp spots for kids on the island: Roller Coaster Camp, Sand Sculpting Camp, Pirate Camp — as well as camps on Cuban percussion and art, painting, photography, Native American craftsmanship and more. Session one begins June 13 with “Roller Coaster Camp: The World of Up, Down and All Around.” This weeklong camp is perfect for children with inquisitive and playful minds, where they will “investigate the playful qualities of gravity, inertia, structure and form, culminating in the construction of paper and found object roller coasters and mobile sculptures.” Session two, “Journey Through the Mediums: The Study of an Artist” will commence June 20. Designed to expose children to a variety of artistic styles and artists, kids will choose an artist and, over the period of a week, “… create contemporary interpretations of the artist’s work on objects, clothing and recycled materials. Each day a different medium will be used, allowing the
student to create a unique collection of work inspired by choice and exploration of expression.” There are eight weeklong sessions in total running throughout the summer, with classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For registration information, course descriptions and instructor credentials, visit kwah.org/art-camp-2016.
¦ Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Key West summer without sailing camp, and luckily, the Key West Community Sailing Center’s Youth Summer Program has scheduled a full summer’s worth of weeklong sailing classes for kids ages 6-17. Children will be assessed to determine their current skill level to ensure they are placed in a class that will maximize their enjoyment and safety — from Beginner to Racing Level. Camps run all summer, from June 13 to Aug. 19. The Sailing Center also offers 20 scholarships to children who might otherwise be unable to participate in camp. To sign up or learn more, visit keywestsailingcenter.org/youthcamp2016.html.
Whatever activity you choose for your children this summer, please remember: Our summer sun is very strong and can scorch even the most resilient of skin tones, so please make sure to load up your kids with sunscreen containing a high SPF, and send them off with a sun hat, protective clothing and sunglasses. Here’s to a great summer. ¦