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Heads up, parents Summer camps available for children at both UTRGV locations

The Orange Team plays Capture The Flag at last year’s Summer Youth Camp in the University Rec. Center in Edinburg. Courtesy Photo

School’s almost out. For many parents, two dreaded words come to mind, “I’m bored.” For those who have children, UTRGV has a solution to this inevitable problem. Both campus locations offer opportunities for children of all ages to engage in academic and athletic summer programs. To review eligibility, as well as information, dates and enrollment, a completed list of summer programs available can be found at utrgv.edu/camps.

The P-16 Educational Outreach program organizes the academic programs, which range from art academy day camps to STEM programs and more. The majority of the academic programs are only available for grades six through 12, but elementary level children can participate in the popular Summer Youth Camp, soccer camps for boys and girls and the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) program, which teaches students about careers in transportation energy with a focus on STEM activities.

While the academic camps are available on both campuses, many have prerequisites for enrollment. The programs that do not require other academic or regional qualifications are as follows: Team Mario, a summer camp for children with autism ages 8-14, the Art Academy Summer Series for children in grades four-12 and the Migrant University Summer Experience (MUSE) program, which is available for migrant students ages 15-17.

Athletics camps are taught by trained professionals, as well as UTRGV athletes. Programs developed to train soccer players and enhance athletic ability are taught for children ages 5-18. The programs are divided by age range and gender, availability is dependent on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Summer Youth Camp program offers a combination of these programs, with an emphasis on fun and fitness. It is a more engaging alternative to daycare or three-hourlong funny cat compilations on YouTube, and is available for children ages 6-11. The day camp takes place on the Edinburg campus and consists of activities, art and recreational games all taught by trained instructors, coaches or UTRGV athletes. The Youth Camp sold out all sessions last summer. Registration for this year is open and applications can be found and submitted at the University Recreation Center.

Assistant Director Art Cabrera has worked within the program since its inception nine years ago. He said the camp offers a unique learning experience for children that promotes health, fitness and fun.

“One thing our camp offers is structure,” Cabrera said. “Instead of just baby-sitting we do offer activities that try to teach them something. We offer basketball classes, art, dance, we take them swimming and give them swimming lessons and we have recreational games and so much more. With all our classes, they are part instructional and we teach [the children] specific skills and how to work together as a team.”

Cabrera reassures parents that their children will be well taken care of while enrolled in the program. The Summer Youth Camp has a veteran crew that is there to guide the incoming instructors.

“We have a good, experienced staff that are trained in child protection and CPR,” Cabrera said. “We also have an 8 to 1, student-to-counselor ratio. So, for every room of 24 children, there are three counselors. Registration is going strong; sessions will fill out.”

Cabrera also advises that parents enroll now while there are still slots available, as they are expected to fill rapidly.

For more information on academic and athletic summer programs available at UTRGV, go to utrgv.edu/camps. To enroll children ages 6-11 in the Summer Youth Camp program, applications are available at UREC. For questions and concerns, call 665-7808.

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