June 5, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Kids Discover the Circle of Life at VSU’s Camp Discovery

VALDOSTA — Nearly a dozen boys and girls spent Wednesday morning at Valdosta State University learning all about the life cycle of plants.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, they gathered around their teacher and listened to a story. Then, they created a sunflower with paper baking cups, chenille stems, glue, seeds, markers, and scissors.

“My sunflower’s gonna be tall,” said Alex Gee, 7, as he listened to his teacher provide instructions for the project.

The children finished the day’s lesson by filling a cup with potting soil and planting a seed.

Emily Byrd said that this is her first year teaching at VSU Continuing Education’s Camp Discovery. She noted that the week-long Circle of Life camp is geared toward boys and girls ages 5 to 8 who love nature and want to learn about the life cycle of various animals and plants.

“We’ve learned all about the life cycle of frogs and butterflies,” said Sophia Wells, 7, who talked about holding a young frog with a tail stub.

Byrd said that she uses PowerPoint presentations, videos, songs, books, hands-on activities, crafts, games, and even a nature walk to instruct the children. She planned to teach them the life cycle of ducks and fish before the end of the week.

“I knew the kids would love this camp,” said the former Lanier County High School special education teacher who will be teaching at Lake Park Elementary School this fall. “They get so excited, and they are so smart. Every morning, they want to know what they are learning that day. I love it.”

“Camp Discovery 2013 is off and rolling this year,” said Suzanne M. Ewing, program coordinator for Camp Discovery, a summer day camp program offered through VSU Continuing Education and designed to provide enrichment opportunities for youths and teens in the Valdosta area. “Parents want their kids to relax during the summer, but they also are looking for activities that will get them away from the TV, surfing the Web, and video games. Our programs provide opportunities for children to get out of the house, interact with their peers, and learn something in the process. Our summer camp program has been growing each year as more and more folks discover what we have to offer.”

All Camp Discovery programs are age-appropriate, designed to be fun for boys and girls participating, and opportunities to improve academic, artistic, and/or physical skills. Enrollment is limited to 20 students per camp, unless otherwise noted in the description, to assure good student and teacher interaction. Most of the camps are held from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Regional Center for Continuing Education, located at 903 N. Patterson St. Some camps, such as those involving horses, are held off-site.

In response to parent requests, last year VSU Continuing Education developed more camps for those ages 12 and older.

A new feature this year is the extended day option that allows parents to pick up their children as late as 5:30 p.m.

“Our science-oriented camps have been filling up for the past few years, so we have added City Builders, for ages 6-8, and Future Architects, for ages 9-12, where the children learn about architectural concepts and techniques by building structures out of household objects,” Ewing said. “We also have a new It’s Electric camp, where campers will create circuits that light bulbs and run motors and buzzers, among other projects. Music Makers, for ages 6-8, will introduce kids to the science of art and music and will include visits from grown-up musicians demonstrating different types of instruments. For the teens, new offerings include Spanish Quickstart and Fun, Friends, and Food in French camps to give participants a head start on their high school foreign language studies.”

VSU Continuing Education’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the region by providing educational, artistic, cultural, technological, and economic development activities and programs. It works to develop and present programs and activities for professional and personal enrichment of community persons.

Visit www.valdosta.edu/conted/ to view a complete listing of Camp Discovery programs, as well as other programs offered through VSU Continuing Education.

Call (229) 245-6484 for more information or to register.