published Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Nontraditional summer camps offer tailored experience for kids with special interests

Children fish at Outdoor Chattanooga’s Huck Finn Adventure Camp.
Children fish at Outdoor Chattanooga’s Huck Finn Adventure Camp.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For the swimmer

What: McCallie Swim Camp.

When: June 3-7; June 10-14; June 17-21; June 24-28; July 8-12; July 15-19.

Where: McCallie School, 500 Dodds Ave.

Activities: Boys and girls will learn the four competitive strokes -- freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke.

Overnight or day camp: Day camp.

Price: Each session is $45 per week.

Ages: For children of all ages who are water safe but want to learn strokes.

Phone: 800-672-2267 or 493-5886.

More info at: mccalliesummercamps.com.

For the kayaker

What: Whitewater Kayaking Camp.

When: June 14-18 beginners, July 12-16 intermediates.

Where: Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St.

Activities: Learn recreational, rodeo and slalom kayaking.

Overnight or day camp: Day camp.

Price: $45; $60 for family

Ages: 11-17.

Phone: 643-6882.

Information: outdoorchattanooga.com.

For the sailor

What: Baylor Sailing Camp.

When: June 17-21.

Where: Privateer Yacht Club, Lake Chickamauga.

Activities: Each camper who attends must know how to swim and be comfortable in water. They will learn the fundamentals of sailing, including land-based instruction on knots, the parts of a sailboat, steering into and away from the wind, rigging the boat, as well as on-the--water instruction.

Overnight or day camp: Day camp.

Price: $300.

Ages: 8-13 (girls and boys).

Phone: 757-2616.

Information: baylorschool.org.

S'mores? No thanks. "Kumbaya"? Heard it. Secret candy stash? Gone stale.

Summer-camp experiences are rife with clichés. Fortunately, there are plenty of specialized, exotic camps in the area that cater to kids who long for an escape from the summertime norm.

Here are just a few in the Chattanooga area:

For the imagineer-in-training

What: Skwalking Heads Productions Puppet Camp

When: June 17-28.

Where: Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave., Signal Mountain.

Activities: Students will design and build six different kinds of puppets, from finger and hand puppets to marionettes and a rod puppet. After examining the work of local puppeteer Fred Arnold, participants will then develop and perform their own show from scratch. They will leave with a souvenir T-shirt, canvas bag and a video DVD documenting their experience.

Overnight or day camp: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Price: $325, including crafting materials and DVD; lunch and snacks not provided.

Ages: 5-13.

Phone: 886-1959; reservations required.

Information: www.skwalkingheads.org.

For the explorer

What: Outdoor Chattanooga's Huck Finn Adventure Camp.

When: July 22-26.

Where: Greenway Farms, off Hamill Road, then along the Tennessee River Gorge.

Activities: Modeled on Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," it starts with a day of orientation at Greenway Farms. There, kids will get to know each other, build their canoe pontoons and make sure they've packed the proper equipment before returning home for the evening. The next day, they'll depart from Greenway for a four-day, three-night adventure of rustic camping, paddling, fishing, rock climbing and excerpts read from Twain's classic novel.

Overnight or day camp: Overnight.

Price: $400, includes meals and use of all paddling, camping and outdoor equipment.

Ages: 9-13.

Phone: 643-6882; reservations required.

Information: www.outdoorchattanooga.com.

For the future van Gogh

What: Art Crns summer camps.

When: June 10-14, June 17-21, June 24-29, July 8-12, July 15-19 and July 22-26.

Where: Art Creations, 7351 Commons Blvd.

Activities: For each day of these five-day sessions, an artist/instructor will teach various techniques that campers will put to use on a work of art they will complete and take home. Each week is built around a medium or theme, ranging from painting and crafting to an all-girls course and learning to find artistic inspiration in the Chattanooga area.

Overnight or day camp: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.

Price: $225 for class and necessary supplies. There will be a lunch break, but you will need to pack your child's lunch.

Ages: 7-12.

Phone: 531-7606.

Information: www.art-creations.com.

For the history nut

What: A Call to Arms: The Gateway City Falls.

When: July 16-18 and July 23-25.

Where: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Activities: During "A Call to Arms," campers will learn about the Civil War battles fought on the land that forms the North Georgia park as well as the efforts to preserve the park for future generations. Participants will take part in some of the same day-to-day activities as Civil War soldiers and participate in preservation efforts within the park.

Overnight or day camp: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. daily.

Price: Free; lunch is not provided.

Ages: 9-13.

Phone: 752-5213, ext. 117.

Information: www.nps.gov/chch.

For the thespian

What: Disney's "The AristoCats Kids" Drama Camp.

When: June 3-14.

Where: Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave., Signal Mountain.

Activities: Students will act, sing, dance, paint scenery, build props and create costumes for a performance.

Overnight or day camp: Day camp.

Price: $250.

Ages: 5-12 (rising kindergartners to eighth graders).

Phone: 886-1959.

Information: signalmountainmacc.org.

For the budding naturalist

What: Chattanooga Zoo Summer Camps.

When: June 3-7, June 10-14, June 17-21, June 24-28, July 8-12, July 15-19, July 22-26 and July 29-Aug. 2.

Where: Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave.

Activities: Attendees will get age-appropriate, hands-on experience through the camps, which include learning about the zoo's residents, behind-the-scenes encounters, games and -- for older children -- helping with cleaning and feeding of the animals.

Overnight or day camp: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, though camps for some older age groups include occasional overnight stays. After care from 2 to 5 p.m. is available for $15 a day or $65 a week.

Price: Costs differ, depending on age, but range from $90 to $145 a week; discounts are available for zoo members.

Ages: Camps available for ages 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-12 and 13-14.

Phone: 697-1387.

Information: www.chattzoo.org.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...

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