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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Gainesville camps provide a fun-filled summer for children

Local K-12 summer camps create a safe, educational environment

As parents search for a way to entertain their children during the summer break, community organizations and businesses are opening their doors and curating various programs that allow kids to socialize and learn a new talent while out of school. 

The Cade Museum, located at 811 S Main St., hosts various exhibits and has created a week-long program extending throughout the summer to teach children about science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics and encourage them to become forward thinkers. 

Amanda Bernavil, the program and internal events manager for the Cade Museum, is proud of the long-lasting impact the museum’s summer camp has had on campers over the years.

“It’s really cool to see these kids that I’ve known for the last four years come back every year and just be excited about the new topics that we offer and also see them grow,” Bernavil said. 

Bernavil has worked with the museum since 2018 and has coordinated different learning activities and themes to expose children as young as first-graders to STEAM-related topics.  

One program includes bringing real-world inventors to guide fourth to sixth-graders through experiments and let them present their own inventions to the museum. 

To Bernavil, teaching STEAM allows students to explore critical thinking and creative opportunities.

“We want kids to be able to tap into every side of their brain and know that you can be any part of [STEAM] and still be an inventor, a creator and a thinker,” she said.

Scholarships covering the payment for one full-week program were available for campers who needed financial aid. The museum provided the scholarship through a partnership grant program with the Children's Trust of Alachua County. 

Scholarship applications open annually each April and recipients are notified the first week of May. 

For more artistic children, ceramic workshop Studio T/M, located at 1854 NE 2nd St., Suite A, is hosting a weekly program throughout July, where students have access to hands-on activities and creative projects.

Each week will focus on a specific theme as instructors guide students through 3D art.

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Sara Truman, co-owner of Studio T/M, hopes participants can enjoy hands-on creative enrichment.

“Kids can expect, I guess, a really good time… a lot of activity, a lot of moving around, a lot of sitting down and a ton of using their hands,” Truman said. 

The first and third weeks of the workshop will be for students in and going into middle school while the second and fourth weeks will cater to elementary-aged students.

Each week is priced at $300, and all the materials and clay will be provided. Classes are expected to have 15 to 20 kids each week.

Studio T/M is offering a 50% fee waiver scholarship for LGBTQ and BIPOC youth.

Truman and her wife Naomi Mostkoff are proud to host the camp for two reasons: to help kids learn the importance of the arts, and to celebrate the camp being the first program hosted in their new building.

“I think Gainesville has a huge lack of space for summer camp and access specifically in the arts and we are very proud to be adding to that,” Truman said. “As a former educator in the public school system and as a parent… we love seeing kids thrive in a non-academic setting and using their creativity and understanding.”

Jack Manfredi, Studio T/M ceramic instructor, is excited to work with tweens and give them a creative outlet they might not have otherwise, he said.

“Being in middle school is so difficult, so [the camp] will be like a creative outlet that’s not connected to school,” Manfredi said. “It is a great way to kind of break up their day.” 

Manfredi is excited to introduce returning students and their friends to wheel throwing, hand building and glazing clay sculptures.

Registration is still open. The first week of camp begins Monday.

While Cade Museum’s registration is closed, Studio T/M can be reached for more information at its email.

For other camp options, Fun4Gator Kids and the City of Gainesville’s Youth Programs and Camps offer resources and a wide range of summer camp options local to the Gainesville area. They provide parents with information such as registration forms, pricing and schedules. 

Contact Emma Parker at Follow her on Twitter @emmaparkerg.

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Emma Parker

Emma Parker is a first-year journalism student. She is the metro desk news assistant. When she is not writing, she is reading a book or listening to Indie music.

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