McMaster summer camps have much to offer


Hundreds of Hamilton-area young people will be at McMaster this summer to try their skills at volleyball, participate in lab experiments, create their own newspaper or learn about sutures and casting. Here's a brief look at some of the camps offered this summer.

Mini University

For a mix of recreation and academia, youngsters aged 10 to 15 can attend the Mini-University, a two-week summer program offered four times between July 4 and the end of August. Participants attend two one-hour classes in subjects of their choice during the morning and afternoon, with the remaining time being devoted to athletic activities. The Mini-University also includes one overnight stay in residence. Each session includes a graduation ceremony.

The program, now in its fourth year, is developed and run by third and fourth-year McMaster students and is assisted by first- and second-year students who act as counsellors. Approximately 150 kids attend each session, with the participant-staff ratio kept at eight to one.

Cost is $310 for the nine-day session or $335 for 10 days, including the overnight stay and evening meal.

Mini U Secondary

A pilot project, Mini U Secondary also offers a taste of McMaster this summer from May 10-13. It is similar to the youth camp, but is geared for high school students, with residence accommodations and meals included. Chris Friesen, a McMaster alumnus and an enriched program co-ordinator with a high school in Woodstock approached the University with the concept.

Sport Fitness School

One of the oldest campus summer camps is the Sport Fitness School, now in its 23rd year. Over 20 sports are offered in each of the two-week sessions held during July and August. Third- and fourth-year kinesiology students provide coaching to the approximately 380 kids enrolled in each session. The cost is $150 for a one-week session and $260 for two weeks. The goal of the program, says Tim Louks, co-ordinator, campus recreation, is for children to “have fun, be active, maybe even learn a new sport or more about a favorite one.”

The Department of Athletics & Recreation runs additional camps for specific sports including volleyball, basketball, football and swimming.

Engineering and Science Summer Camps

The Faculty of Engineering provides two summer programs for youths. Promoting engineering and science for 10 years, the Venture Engineering and Science Program, provides hands-on activities for students entering Grades 5 to 8 in September. The one-week sessions during July and August are held in classrooms and labs in the engineering building. Cost is $175 for the week.

The Adventures in Engineering Computing (AEC) camps are one-week sessions held during July and August. AEC is open to students entering Grades 7 to 11 in September. The program is designed to introduce high school students to the exciting world of computers. The program costs $200 for the five days. By popular demand “Girls in 2000” has been added to this program. The all-girls week will be offered the week of July 24.

Shad Valley Experience

In addition to the above camps, McMaster joins eight other Canadian universities in offering a popular summer program for senior high school students interested in science, technology and engineering. The Shad Valley Experience is a National Research Council Canada (NRC) program for students aged 16-18. During July, about 50 students live in residence and attend workshops and lectures. In August, they are employed in placement positions across the country. The program is funded by the sponsoring companies, while the students are responsible for their tuition and transportation costs.