NIU offers summer camps for high school, junior high students


Northern Star file photo

A group of students on a walk.

By Ian Gough

While the semester is ending for college students, learning opportunities are only beginning for junior high and high school students.

Starting June 1, NIU will offer numerous summer camps for junior high and high school students. The camps are set up through the office of external programming within the College of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

External programming coordinator Mark Pietrowski said in an email these camps are an effective way for young students to experience campus life while making friends.

“We found that the vast majority of students that attend a summer camp program end up enrolling at a university,” said Pietrowksi. “We are always pleased when they choose NIU.”

Pietrowski said while NIU students can be counselors at these camps, the camp directors are put in charge of hiring counselors and spots for students are not always open.

These academic camps are available for students in middle school through high school, according to the camp web site. The size of the groups and the planned activities vary from camp to camp, but enough students are part of these camps that they can receive adequate attention from counselors.

“This experience will either help to confirm a passion or direct a student to a different career field,” said Melissa Burlingame, environment and sustainability science camp director. Her specific camp was established last year.

“It’s good to get this level of experience at such a young age,” Burlingame said.

Many camps will include 65 to 90 students, whereas camps with limited resources will sometimes be limited to 20 students, said to Pietrowski.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts hosts camps like creative writing, film and speech. Science camps exist as well, with some aimed toward junior high school students and the other more advanced camps designed for high school students. Jazz, visual arts and two theater camps are hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“These are immersion experiences, in which kids stay for a week and are heavily involved,” said Deborah Booth, office director of external programming for visual and performing arts.

Booth said students and their parents will arrive at one of the residence halls, depending on which hall is closest to their camp. They attend orientation and parents will leave while the students stay. The students receive relevant, hands-on experience through activities during the day.

According to the camp web site, film campers will learn to use cameras and direct, while visual arts campers will learn about realism and acrylic painting.

The students then break for dinner at the Holmes Student Center or the dorm. They return to their camps for more activities before they are ushered back to their rooms, Booth said.

According to Booth, discounts are available for faculty ad returning students.