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The City Journals

Waterford’s summer camps offer students chance to explore interests

May 02, 2022 08:07PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In one week this summer, middle school students can write, act and produce their own musical. In a different part of campus, elementary students can participate in a chess camp or middle schoolers can get some hands-on experience in programming robots. In yet another camp, students will play a different sport every morning and afternoon for five days, from lacrosse and volleyball to rock climbing and rowing.

These, as well as traditional day camps with eight weeks of different outdoor themes, and many more camps stretching from architecture to sewing, are open to any youth for registration at Waterford School. Each camp is overseen by a teacher who has help from high school students or graduates who act as counselors. Costs typically range from $225 to $415, without extra fees, and details and registration information can be found at waterfordsummer.org.

Waterford Director of Auxiliary Programs Kent Hercules is coordinating the annual summer camps.

“The idea is experiential learning,” he said. “For example, with our traditional full-day day camps, we may focus on soil or water and talk about erosion. We won’t spend a lot of time talking about it, but we will have a stream trailer outside where we’ll see the water flow through the sediment, and we’ll see how erosion happens and it will be hands on. A lot of it depends on the level of the kids as the older ones will dive deeper into it, but it’s meant to be fun, not like being in classes.”

This year, there is a vast array of options, from intro to Latin culture and language for elementary students to printmaking for middle and high school students. The past two summer camps have been limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Another appealing option is for elementary students who want to immerse themselves in the world of Harry Potter and can try cooking some magical recipes. Or for middle schoolers, to extract sections of the Harry Potter series and learn how it has made an impact into society.

“They’ll learn about how Harry Potter has infused itself into our society, like ‘how does this work of literature enter into every facet of our society?’ It’s in the movies and theme parks, and gear, and even sayings in our common vocabulary as people everywhere talk about muggles or joke about ‘he who must not be named,’” Hercules said. “It’s going to be fun and exploring the fantasy of Harry Potter, but because we’re Waterford, were going to put in an academic twist into it.”

He expects the songwriting camp to be a hit with high school students.

“We are going to talk about crafting words and lyrics and how those fit together with melodies,” he said.

One of the highlights for Hercules is the end of each camp day.

“We have a closing circle, and the kids will share what they learned, and I’ll get my guitar out and we’ll sing some silly song,” he said. “Summertime is the greatest time to dabble in something and just try it for the first time. It’s not a big commitment. You can spend a week learning about something and enjoying it with some new fri