Area children and even some visitors are learning while having fun through Coastal Carolina Kids Camp this summer.
The camp is sponsored by Coastal Carolina University’s Division of Academic Outreach for children ages 6 to 12 and runs from June 10 through Aug. 9. Classes are being held at the Myrtle Beach Education Center for the fourth year, and it cover topics from “Magnificent Musical Theater Camp” and “Brains, Blood and Bones: The Human Body,” to a new addition, “Guts, Goop, Gobs and Gas,” where kids participate in science experiments.
“The classes provide an educational experience that is engaging and entertaining, and many of our children are with us the entire eight weeks of camp,” said Kelli Barker, camp director. “Some people on vacation even bring their kids to camp – we have one now who’s from North Carolina.”
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Parents are surveyed after each camp, and classes are tailored to what they’d like to see, Barker said. Offerings change each week, are broken into two age groups (6 to 10, 10 to 12) and consist of full- and half-day classes that cost $150 and $75 respectively.
Hannah Mullen, 11, and Rianna Kearns, 10, are in the musical theater camp for the first time and are learning performance exercises, as well as songs from musicals such as “Wicked” and “Hairspray.”
“It’s fun, and I’ve always really loved to dance and act – it’s a passion of mine,” said Hannah, who will be attending Ocean Bay Middle School. “This morning, we did a lot of improv.”
Rianna, a student at Forestbrook Elementary School, said she has taken a similar class at a different camp in the past and was enjoying being able to learn cool dances and sing songs such as “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” from the musical “Annie.”
The camp also has been held in Georgetown County at the Waccamaw Higher Education Center. That location was not available this year, but the plan is for camp to resume there next summer, Barker said. Classes have filled to 20 kids with a waiting list, and they are taught by certified teachers, along with some professionals and even a few professors, she said.
Gretchen Millwood has been teaching at the camp since it came to Myrtle Beach. She leads the popular “Jurassic Dinosaur Adventure Camp,” which she started last year.
“It was not what I wanted, but it’s turned out to be my favorite class, and I’ve learned a lot,” said Millwood, who said she has a lot of freedom to design exercises around the standards for the class.
Running the camp is a change of pace for Barker’s division, which deals with students 50 and over at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute during the rest of the year.
“The children want to be here, and it’s seamless – we have a lot of fun,” Barker said. “We love Lifelong Learning, but for summer, this is a breath of fresh air.”