The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 20, 2010

Summer school | Pitt-Johnstown offering classes for youthful campers


— Youthful campers can continue to learn this summer in a variety of classes at area colleges and learning centers.

On the campus of Pitt-Johnstown in Richland Township, kids will be doing everything from learning about vampires to participating in a triathlon in the “Rock Your Summer” program.

At the new Junior Triathlon Racing Camp geared for ages 11-16, which will be held Aug. 9-13, campers will be running, swimming and bicycle racing.

“They wanted more, so we’re giving them more,” said Jeanne Susko, director of community education and outreach at Pitt- Johnstown.

“They will be bringing their bikes and running shoes. It will be a physical challenge.”

For this camp, students will be able to choose to commute or to live on campus.

Those who wish to try out college life will stay on campus from Sunday to Thursday night of camp week, receiving all their meals and participating in extra afternoon and evening activities.

“Some have already registered,” Susko said.

“They told us they wanted to stay on campus. This is good for kids who aren’t ready for the classroom yet, but want some structure. It’s a good end of summer program.”

The outdoor adventure will begin for the season at the Junior Naturalist Outdoor Adventure Camp, which will be held Monday through Friday.

Campers ages 8 to 12 will be rappelling down some of the campus buildings, learning about firestarting and shelter building and sliding on a traverse line above the trees.

“It’s like a survivor kit,” Susko said.

“It’s a very popular class. We try to cap it at 40, but we’re already in the 30s for signups. It sells itself. The kids are sweaty and exhausted, and they have a ball.”

Susko said interest for the adventure camp is divided equally between boys and girls.

Camp will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include some off-campus excursions to the Quemahoning Dam, where campers will kayak and canoe.

They also will swim and snorkel at the dam and at the pool at Pitt-Johnstown.

“This is truly an outdoor adventure,” Susko said.

“There is nothing in the classroom. This is hands-on. They will be bringing their sunscreen and bug spray.”

Moving indoors to more conventional classrooms, students in grades three through eight will have a lot to learn at an educational day camp held July 12-16.

“There will be five classes each day,” Susko said.

“It’s very well-rounded. These are different kinds of activities that wouldn’t be done in a typical classroom.”

Campers will become scientists and inventors in “Sensational Science,” explore the outdoors on a nature hike, create new worlds and creatures on computers, take a theatrical trek and learn about theater and do some wild writing in a multimedia writing workshop.

“On Friday, we’ll wrap up with a graduation ceremony,” Susko said.

“It’s a family day so parents can go through the classes. If they take it back to school, the program did well and we’ve done our job.”

For campers ages 4 to 14, there are plenty of Summer Fun classes scheduled throughout the summer.

The youngest campers from ages 4 to 8 will have classes on sunflowers, dancing, caterpillars, pajama parties and geology.

The 7- to 10-age group will have classes on Russian games, mysteries, Alice in Wonderland and Fantastic Mr. Fox & Friends.

“I try to listen to what’s at the theater,” Susko said.

“There’s going to be a science class on how they do the special effects in the “Twilight” series and another class based on vampires and werewolves.”

A family series offered in partnership with Conemaugh Health System will feature babysitter training and classes for mothers and daughters and parents and sons.

There also will be classes on painting, hiking, star gazing, nocturnal critters, yoga, cooking, theater, hip-hop and scrapbooking.

“This is for preschool through middle school,” Susko said.

“The classes are offered ala carte, and students can pick based on their interests.”

For information on how to register for any of the summer camp programs at Pitt-Johnstown, call the Community Education and Outreach Office at 269-2099.


For information on how to register for any of the summer camp programs at Pitt-Johnstown, call the Community Education and Outreach Office at 269-2099.