Summer camp season awaits when school bells stop

By Steve Palisin


“Mad Science” weeklong camps, covering technology, art, science and math, and for students entering grades 1-5 or 6, rotate among sites in Carolina Forest, Surfside Beach area, and Pawleys Island.
“Mad Science” weeklong camps, covering technology, art, science and math, and for students entering grades 1-5 or 6, rotate among sites in Carolina Forest, Surfside Beach area, and Pawleys Island. Courtesy photo

With about three weeks left in this school year, the countdown only heightens for parents in planning summer camps for children.

A variety of choices await parents and children to consider, ranging from science and aquarium camps to some specialties including golf and sailing instruction, and arts and youth theater.

The many options let children find new ways to continue learning, all while having fun and socializing, and maybe, meeting new friends outside of school.

Stuart Smith began Mad Science’s Myrtle Beach-area franchise in 2009. He said shifting the after school program to weeklong camps in summer lets participants immerse themselves. Instead of one hour weekly in the school year, youth have time to take a deeper focus on the theme for 3-4 hours a day for a week.

This summer, the rotating sites are in Carolina Forest, the Surfside Beach area, and a charter school in Pawleys Island, an entry in Georgetown County that Smith said he hopes to expand, with hopes to scout for a north Strand spot in coming years as well.

Smith said the summer offerings change with each year, and the choices for 2016 are “Rock’n Rockets & Aerodynamics,” covering such aspects as flying devices, Newton’s Laws of motion and the Milky Way, and “Our Planet Earth,” which includes entomology (insects), geology, and plants’ consumption of water. The latter, Earthly theme, he said, has been “hot” topic of interest among youth for a few years.

With every program or camp, Smith said, “we’re trying to pack” in all the staples: “technology, art, science and math.”

“We want something in all these of categories,” he said.

Some youth might like to hit more books in summertime, or at least, page through extra ways to pave their scholarly path after high school.

This marks the 12th year that Bill McKenzie, a longtime professional tutor, has coordinated his “Reach for the Stars’ PSAT-SAT Camps.

Three high schools – Myrtle Beach, Socastee, and Waccamaw – and Horry County Memorial Library’s Socastee branch, have arranged the space in four-day sessions for students entering grades 9-12.

McKenzie said students who sign up, maybe to build confidence, and earn higher marks to gain admission into their desired colleges, are there by their own choice, and they in turn, feed off, and fuel, one another’s enthusiasm and energy.

“It’s not what I teach,” McKenzie said, according the credit he sees due. “It’s what they learn from other kids in the camp. ... The biggest attribute is the help they get from other kids.”

The Coastal Carolina University “Kids Camps,” for ages 6-10, at sites in Myrtle Beach and Litchfield Beach, the latter for one week in late June, bring a potpourri of choices, including “Guts, Goop, Globs and Gas” and “Draw, Doodle and Design.”

Kelli Barker, director of operations for CCU’s Myrtle Beach Education Center, said “you get teachers together” and the creativity flows, resulting in popular titles as “Candy Chemistry Camp” and “Sugary Chef.”

Check out the list nearby with a sampling of summer camps, among the many, perhaps dozens, across this area. It also might spur ideas to check out some other camps or programs to color a child’s world this summer.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.

If you go – Sampling of summer camps


▪ “Mad Science” weeklong camps, for students entering grades 1-5 or 6, rotating among sites in Carolina Forest, Surfside Beach area, and Pawleys Island. 843-651-7505 or myrtlebeach.madscience.org/campdateslocations.aspx.

▪ Coastal Carolina University Kids Camps, weeklong, in various themes for ages 6-10, at CCU’s education centers in Myrtle Beach and (June 27-July 1 only) in Litchfield Beach. 843-349-2767, 843-349-6584 or www.coastal.edu/outreach/youth/index.html.

▪ Camp Invention, for students entering grades 1-6, July 11-15 at Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success charter school, 3012 Fred Nash Blvd., Myrtle Beach, along U.S. 17 Bypass, between Farrow Parkway and Shetland Lane (near Joe’s Airport Diner). 800-968-4332 or campinvention.org/2016-program/.


▪ Camp Brookgreen, for students entering kindergarten-grade 12, in weeklong sessions at Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach. 843-235-6049 or www.brookgreen.org/documents/OnlineInfoSummerCamp2016.pdf.

▪ Coastal Ecology Camps, for students entering grades 2-5, in four-day weeklong sessions, June 7-July 15, at Hobcaw Barony, on U.S. 17, just north of Georgetown. 843-546-4623 or hobcawbarony.org/visit/childrens-programs/.

▪ Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina camps, (membership not required) at Sandy Ridge Girl Scout Program and Training Center, 3680 Girl Scout Road, near Bennettsville. 843-479-6742, 843-479-6814 or www.girlscoutsesc.org/en/camp.html.

▪ Explorers and mermaid camps, for ages 6-14 at Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. 843-916-0888 or 800-734-8888, ext. 3226; or www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/education/summer-camp/.

▪ N.C. Aquarium weeklong camps, for ages 5-14, at N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, on U.S. 421, just south of Kure Beach, N.C. 910-458-7468 or www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-summer-camps.

City/county camps with variety

▪ YMCA Summer Fun Camps, in weeklong sessions through Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach (843-449-9622) and GeorgetownCounty Family YMCA (843-545-9622). www.coastalcarolinaymca.org.

▪ County camps through Horry County Parks and Recreation (843-915-5330 or www.horrycounty.org/Departments/ParksandRecreation.aspx) and Georgetown County Parks & Recreation (843-545-3275 or www.georgetowncountysc.org/parks_recreation).

▪ Communities In Schools of Brunswick County and Brunswick County Parks and Recreation camp, in weeklong sessions. 910-253-5327, ext. 1432; or www.cisbrnswick.org.

▪ City camps, in weeklong sessions, through Conway (843-488-1950 or www.conwayparksandrecreation.com/summercamps.html), Myrtle Beach (843-918-2290 or www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/youthprograms.html) and North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center (843-281-3744 or afc.nmb.us/2016/03/23/summer-camps-2016-open-to-ages-6-12-years-old/).


▪ Classic Swing Golf School Junior Program, for ages 5-14 in weeklong sessions, June 6-Aug. 12, at Legends Resort, 1500 Legends Drive, off U.S. 501, northwest of Myrtle Beach. 843-903-5560, 800-827-2656 or www.classicswing.com.

▪ Myrtle Beach Tennis Center, 3302 Grissom Parkway, adjacent to Myrtle Beach High School. Sign-up continues through June 13 for children ages 6-12, for free introductory sessions, 12:15-1:15 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays (details at 843-918-1465, or email jlanham@cityofmyrtlebeach.com. Reach tennis site at 843-918-2440 or www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/tennis.html.

▪ Youth Sailing Camp, for ages 8-14, in weeklong sessions, June 6-Aug. 5, at S.C. Maritime Museum, 729 Front St., Georgetown, on Sampit River. 843-520-0111 or scmaritimemuseum.org/scysp-registration.


▪ Coastal Dance Centre weeklong camps, for ages 3 and older, June 13-Aug. 5, at dance studios in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet. 843-839-5678, 843-651-2006 or www.cybt.org.

▪ Coastal Youth Theatre Arts School, summer session for ages 6-12 and 12-18, at Main Street Theatre in Conway. 843-488-0821, www.coastalyouththeatre.com, or email lundacornelius@gmail.com.

▪ “Summer KidsArt” three-day camps, for ages 5-7 and 8-12, at Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, 3100 S. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach. 843-238-2510 or www.myrtlebeachartmuseum.org/Learn/, or email afatuova@myrtlebeachartmuseum.org.

Other specialties

▪ Fourth annual Kids Camp, in “Warrior Bootcamp” theme, June 20-23 at Beach Church, 557 George Bishop Parkway, just west of Myrtle Beach, between U.S. 501 and U.S. 17 Bypass. 843-236-9700, www.beachchurch.org/#/calendarevents/upcoming-events, or email angela@beachchurch.org.

▪ “Reach for the Stars’ PSAT-SAT Camps, four-day sessions at various sites, June 27-Aug. 11, for students entering grades 9-12, with Bill McKenzie of Socastee, a longtime PSAT-SAT preparations tutor. 843-293-7551, or email billmck@sccoast.net.