Summer Camps for Oxford’s youth

Published 10:30 am Monday, May 28, 2018

Summer vacation is officially underway for the LOU community, and there is no shortage of summer camp options for children of all ages.

Organizations like the University of Mississippi Museum, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, University of Mississippi and Oxford University School have all expanded their programs this year.

The UM Museum will be hosting seven different weeklong camps, beginning June 1 and ending on July 27. The camps will cover a wide range of topics for students up to eighth grade, including Southern artists, photography and storytelling and more.

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Kate Wallace, communications coordinator for the museum, said Emily McCauley, curator of education, and her team go to great lengths to develop summer camps that will help children learn about art and view themselves as artists.

“The UM Museum provides a unique opportunity for children grades 1-8 to learn about, interact with, and create art,” Wallace said. “Emily and the education team do an amazing job of pulling information and activities from all different subjects to encourage more children in the Oxford community to appreciate and enjoy art as a whole. Making friends is just a bonus.”  

Each camp is $65 for museum members at the family level or above, and $85 per participant for non-members. Some camps are filled to capacity already, so Wallace said she encourages those interested to register sooner rather than later. To learn more about the UM Museum’s summer camps, visit

YAC has one of the more extensive summer camp lists in terms of programming, thanks to the council’s wide interpretation of art. The first camp started last week, and programming will run through the end of July. There are camps for children as young as age three as well as adults and every age in between.

This year, YAC is adding four different LEGO camps, in which “student engineers” in kindergarten through fifth grade can learn about problem-solving, design and physics in a STEM-influenced artistic environment.

Wani McFarland, who leads the LEGO camps, said keeping students engaged is the key to a successful camp.

“LEGO camps bring learning alive through incorporating hands on activities that keep students actively engaged,” McFarland said. “During this camp students participate in cooperative learning activities while also acquiring 21st century skills and learning basic engineering principles.”

Camps held on June 4 through 8 will be “Terrific Turbines” and “Elementary Engineering.” Camps held on June 25 through 29 will be “Amusement Park Fun!” and “City Engineering.”

Each camp costs $125 for YAC members and $140 for non-members. Campers will get to keep their creations. To register and see a full list of camps offered, visit

Ole Miss is offering several week-long camps, for students in first through twelfth grades. All of the programs are learning-based, and the majority are geared for high school-aged children, or the “pre-college” crowd.

There will be camps for those interested in coding, acting, stage production, feminist literature, game development and much more. Each program lasts five days, with camps beginning this week and running through the end of July.

Some camps, like the popular RebelQuest for children in first through sixth grades, are nearly full, but others, like the Ecology Day Camp, still have spots available, according to Wendy Pfrenger, assistant director of pre-college programs.

“Middle and high school students want experiences that introduce them to new professions or challenge them academically in ways that go beyond the traditional classroom experience,” Pfrenger said. “Our one-week programs for middle and high school generally run around $400 for commuters, $700 for residents. The price reflects our commitment to hiring professional educators and trained, background-checked counselors. We feel so fortunate that we have professors, engineers, scientists and writers willing to spend their summers with us.”

The $700 residential price tag also includes room and board in one of the university’s dormitories, which Pfrenger said provides a unique college experience. To learn more about UM Summer Programs, visit

Oxford University School is adding half-day and full-day summer camps to its programming this year. Although OUS is a private school, the camps are open to all children, whether they are OUS students or not.

There are camps for age three through eighth grade, with various topics depending on age groups. “Eagle’s Nest” camps are for three- to eight-year-olds, and include topics such as drama, gardening and dinosaurs. Camps for older students will cover a variety of STEM topics, including robotics, coding and math.

Adding a STEM component to the camps is something OUS Head of School Kim Chrestman said is important to the OUS experience.

“Our summer camps offer Oxford students an opportunity to learn new skills and develop new interests during the summer months,” Chrestman said. “At OUS we are committed to helping children reach their fullest potential year-round. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to work with so many children who love learning and to ensure that OUS continues to inspire, engage and challenge our students.”

OUS summer camps will run from June 4 to July 27. Rates are dependent upon length of camp time. To learn more, visit