Growing fun in the sun

By DeAnn Rossetti

Summer on Mercer Island is like a picnic table that stretches across the length of the park, wobbling under the weight of a variety of food. Children here have so many choices for camps, classes and recreation, it can make them dizzy.

Here's a list of a few summer fun camps and classes that will help kids and teens keep their cool in the warm weeks to come.

Parks and Recreation

For more information: call 236-3545 or go online at

Several new camps and classes are available where residents can learn about the proper way to party to the proper way to produce a poem:

Fabulous Film

and Witty Word

An author and a broadcast journalist help kids develop their writing and television broadcast talents for a final ``Open Mike Film Fest'' where campers will read their writing and show their films before an audience of parents and friends. For grades 4-6 and 7-9

Where: West Mercer Elementary

When: July 18-29

Multi-British Sport Camp

Coaches from the United Kingdom will teach kids cricket, bocce, netball, lacrosse, rugby and volleyball. Kids are split by age and ability into working groups of 12. For ages 5-13 and 7-13.

Where: Island Crest Park North Field

When: Aug. 15-19, 9 a.m. to noon, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Let's Party!

This is a series of classes on everything from how to be a great party host or guest to conversation skills, fork and fingers dining skills, and how to prepare invitations and thank you notes and to R.S.V.P. For ages 7-10.

Where: West Mercer Elementary

When: Aug. 2 to 25, 3 to 4 p.m.

Cartooniversity Camp

Cartoonist Jeff Johnson, whose work often appears in the Mercer Island Reporter, will show kids the tricks of his trade. He will teach them about characters, layouts, backgrounds, perspective and more. Pen and ink will be used. For ages 9-15.

Where: West Mercer Elementary

When: July 25-29


The Stroum Jewish Community Center will offer a myriad of camp experiences for kids of any faith.

For more information, call 232-7115, or go online at

Sports Camps

They include one week each of: baseball, soccer, basketball, indoor/outdoor games, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and bowling/golf. They also will include water week with field trips to local beaches, a tennis week, a hockey week, a multi-cultural Olympics featuring sports, foods and traditions from different countries, and an end-of-summer blast with Ultimate Frisbee, sports, games, an ice cream social and a talent show.

Where: JCC.

When: nine week sessions, June 27 to Aug. 26

Specialty Camps

Rockets, a math and science camp with design challenges developed by LEGO and the Carnegie-Mellon University Tutoring Club, will cover everything from problem-solving to algebra, geometry and reasoning skills. Best of all, campers will build and launch water and air-compressed rockets. For grades 4-8.

Where: JCC

When July 5 to 8

Film Camp

It will show campers how to write, shoot and star in their own films, whether they prefer the documentary, music video or short film genre. The goal is for children in grades 3-8 to be creative and look at modern media in new ways.

Where: JCC

When: Aug. 8-26

Clowning Around Camp

It will show kids how to clown around, with professional clowns teaching face painting, balloon animals, mime and magic tricks. Campers put on a clown show the last day of camp. For grades 3-8.

Where: JCC

When: Aug. 1-5

Boys and Girls Club

For more information call 232-4548 or go online at

The Boys & Girls Club has movement, sport and exploratory camps for kids from kindergarten to middle school.

Adventure Camp

It is a travel camp featuring camping, hiking, swimming, visits to local attractions such as Orcas Island, and team building activities. For kids in fifth and sixth grades.

Where: variety of venues

When: nine separate camp weeks, June 27-Aug. 26

Summer Scene Camp

It is a camp that provides children with creative activities, field trips, special events, sports, crafts projects, multicultural activities and cooperative play. For ages 5-9; 5-year-olds must have attended kindergarten.

Where: Boys & Girls Club

When: nine separate camp weeks, June 27-Aug. 26

Ballet, Jazz and

Hip-Hop Camps

Street Jazz and Hip-Hop camp will cover basic moves and dances. The camp is for middle and high school teens and meets for four days, two hours per day.

Where: Boys & Girls Club

When: Aug. 8-11

Ballet and Jazz Camp for ages 5-6, 7-9

When: July 12-28

Pre-Ballet Camp for ages 3-4

When: July 12-28

French American School

For more information call 275-3533 or go online at

The French American School will be teaching language, arts, crafts, drama and poetry. Those students will join the JCC's Camp Kef in the afternoon for cooking, science and nature, and swimming. Each Thursday students will be treated to a field trip. For ages K-5.

Where: French American School

When: June 27-July 15

Youth Theatre Northwest

For more information call 232-4145 or go online at

YTN has acting, creative movement, song and craft activities in its summer camps, and it organizes the camps by age group.

Here are some of the camps available for 3- to 5-year-olds:

Story Box Theater

It includes creating characters for a story box play, while Fairytale Theater focuses on traditional tales. Beat the Story Drum is an African story and song safari. The circus comes to town in Under the Big Top, and Tasty Baby Bellybuttons is a Japanese-themed art project camp.

Where: YTN blue room

When: June 27-Aug. 26

The 5- to 7-year-old amateur thespians are likely to find at least one camp to their liking from this sampling:

Camps Galore

Stars on Broadway is a musical theater camp, while Dragons, Knights And Princesses is a fantasy and adventure camp. Summer Funnin'? is a comedy improvisation camp, while Thrills and Spills allows amateur mad scientists to attempt gooey, wacky experiments.

Where: Emmanuel Episcopal Church

When: June 27-Aug. 28

The pre-teen crowd of 8- to 10-year-olds have a plethora of camp experiences to choose from:

Have A Ball

With Roald Dahl

It lets campers experience scenes and characters from Dahl's beloved children's stories by riding in a giant peach and pigging out on Willy Wonka candies.

Duels, Falls and Fights

It teaches kids a variety of stage combat techniques, and Funky Fables will get them involved in life lessons with modern fables and a morality play.

Where: Emmanuel Episcopal Church

When: June 27-Aug. 26

Center Stage

Youngsters 11-18 can choose from Broadway Bound, a week of singing, dancing and acting in musical theater; Actors Institute, a workshop that provides individualized training and teaches the importance of building an ensemble. There will be coaching in voice, improvisation, auditioning and more.

Where: YTN studio stage

When: June 27-Aug. 26

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