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Summer camp from home

Despite the pandemic, Queen’s camps are connecting children and families with fun online activities all summer long.

Photo of woman and child using a laptop
Queen's summer camps have offerings for many different ages and interests.

At this time of the year, the scenic Queen’s campus is usually a busy hive of daily activity with children of all ages taking part in a range of popular summer camps.

These camps are run by both on-campus student groups and the university itself. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have had to pivot to new ways of connecting with families and the community this summer. Many different camps have created online materials that children can use from home.

As the organizers of several camps, Queen’s student groups have taken the lead on developing many virtual camp activities. One of these groups is the Engineering Society, which runs Science Quest. All the Science Quest instructors are Queen’s undergraduates who share their love of science and engineering with youth through fun and accessible activities. For the summer of 2020, Science Quest will be delivering its material online for free using Google Classroom. Campers will be able to log in and complete their activities at any time, and instructors will be available on the platform to help out.

“Science Quest has been running fun summer camps at Queen’s since 1988 and we didn’t want the pandemic to stop us from getting kids excited about science, engineering, and technology,” says Abbey Ford-King, Business Director at Science Quest. “We have created a range of free online activities for children in kindergarten to Grade 8, including our Girls Quest Camp that is designed to promote women in STEM.”

For children looking for creative activities, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) runs a camp aimed at engaging the imagination. Like Science Quest, ASUS Camps is run entirely by Queen’s undergraduates. On top of delivering live group activities online each weekday, ASUS Camps is also preparing arts and crafts kits for all their campers each week. With these kits, children will have all the materials they need to complete the week’s imaginative projects at home. Parents can either pick up these kits themselves or have them delivered to their home. ASUS is also providing one-on-one sessions for campers in addition to their daily group activities.

Camps for all ages and interests

Students are also highly involved in camps that are organized by Queen’s units and have been assisting with efforts to transition these camps to online delivery. The Eco Adventure Camp, which is run out of the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, is organized by a staff of Queen’s students who will be delivering interactive live sessions for 90 minutes every weekday over Zoom. These sessions will feature crafts, activities, games, and experiments that promote a love for nature and ecology. To spark interest in physics and astronomy, Queen’s students are also leading free sessions through the McDonald Institute’s Summer of Science. And the student staff at Queen’s Athletics and Recreation will be virtually leading campers in fun and inclusive activities through Q Camps, which will be releasing new videos online every Monday.

Summer camps are not just for younger children, so the Enrichment Studies Unit (ESU) at Queen’s has developed courses for students in grades seven to 12. Students will take these courses using OnQ, the Queen’s learning management system, and they are taught by Queen’s students, faculty, and professionals in the community, covering topics such as creative writing and anatomy. Primary and secondary school students looking to learn more over the summer can also explore Reaching Higher, a collection of free online learning modules curated by ESU.

For more information and to register for an online camp, visit the Queen’s Summer Camps website.