NIU summer camps give a campus experience to middle school and high school students

By Shelby Devitt

DeKALB | NIU students taking summer classes are sharing the campus with younger guests.

NIU is hosting several summer camps for middle school and high school students through the end of July. These camps include day camps for the youngest kids and week-long, residential academic, arts and sports camps for the high schoolers.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is responsible for many of the academic camps, said Mark Pietrowski, coordinator for LAS external programming.

“The camps are all run by organizations within NIU,” he said.

Athletic camps are put on by individual Huskie sports programs and include athletic training, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, softball, tennis and track and field. Art, theatre and music camps are under the direction of the Summer in the Arts at NIU program.

NIU also offers day camps in many areas. The Digital Convergence Lab in Founder’s Memorial Library is running its Third Annual Summer Games Camp this year, according to its website. This day camp for middle school children offers two weeks of training on video game and 3D virtual world design.

NIU Community School of the Arts runs day camps throughout the summer with activities for younger kids.

All campers are living and dining in Grant South. They use campus academic buildings as well as Holmes Student Center for occasional dining and the Huskie Den and Recreation Center for activities, said Deborah Booth, director of Summer in the Arts at NIU.

College students should be aware they are not the only people on campus this summer, Pietrowski said.

“Students should take notice of the younger students and make them feel welcome,” he said. “This is the first time for many of these kids on a college campus.”

Pietrowski said that a positive experience in an NIU camp could lead to campers choosing to return for college one day.

Some NIU students who have stayed in DeKalb for the summer have a role in these camps as counselors and instructors.

“Depending on their area of specialty, [students] help the director with teaching and mentoring the classes,” Pietrowski said.

Huskies who aren’t camp counselors can also be a part of NIU summer camp programs by supporting the performances by the theatre, art and music camps. The junior high theater camp will have a performance in the Stevens building on July 15, and the high school jazz, theatre and art camps will have shows in the Music, Stevens and Art buildings on July 22.