The Best in Summer Camps & Classes


Winter is hardly over when parents and students start making plans for summer. In the following pages, we’ll give you a glimpse of some of the best camps and classes offered in the area. With a little research and planning, we can help you find the perfect fit.



Celebrating its 15th year, The Art Academy has become a standard of quality art instruction in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.

“Our goal is to improve students’ drawing and painting abilities dramatically in a short period of time. We accomplish this by teaching time-honored techniques in classes with very low student-to-teacher ratios,” explains James Robinson, the founder of the school. The results of such focused training is evident in the amazing samples of student artwork available for viewing on the school’s website, many of which have won State Fair awards.

The Art Academy offers year-round programs, averaging 300 to 475 students per term, with special summer class and camp offerings designed to satisfy the needs of a variety of family schedules and age groups, beginning as young as age 5. A unique Create Your Own Schedule Option makes it easy for parents to fit the school’s art classes around other summer activities and vacations.

“It’s not unusual for us to have students attend our program for years. It creates a wonderful school atmosphere where teachers and students form a cherished bond that feeds creativity and skill development,” Robinson explains.

Adults with a serious interest in art can also take classes specializing in traditional drawing and oil painting methods dating back to the Renaissance.

The Academy’s summer session begins June 18 and runs until August 25. Registration starts March 1st. Call 651-699-1573 to receive a free brochure. The Art Academy is located at 1550 Summit Ave. in St. Paul. Class schedules and samples of students’ work can be viewed at


If you’re a teenager graduating in 2007, 2008, or 2009 who doodles on every scrap of paper, notices how colors complement each other, or surfs the Web constantly for the latest and greatest sites, the Summer Teen Workshops at The Art Institutes International Minnesota are a great way to explore emerging technology, techniques, and all the possibilities out there for your creativity. These five-day workshops have been designed for teenagers to express themselves, meet inspired people, and get a feel of what it’s like to work in some of the most dynamic and exciting careers in the world today. The Summer Teen Workshop will be held this summer from June 18 through June 22 and is ideal for students interested in exploring one of the following creative programs: Advertising, graphic design, interior design, photography, culinary arts, media arts and animation, visual effects and motion graphics, or interactive design media.

In addition to a Summer Teen Workshop, the Arts Institutes International is in full swing during the summer months, with summer quarter beginning July 9 and continuing through September 22, 2007. Students interested in a career in the creative and applied arts will find a competency-based curriculum delivered by qualified instructors in a learning-centered environment. The most popular programs are Interior Design and Photography.

Interested parties may contact the school at 612-332-3361 or 1-800-7777-3643 or visit the Summer Teen Workshop website at


The summer programs at The Blake School allow pre-kindergarteners through high school seniors to engage in activities that stimulate their curiosity, nurture their interests, challenge their minds, and foster their growth. Whether it’s discovering an artistic talent, engaging in sports, brushing up on academics or exploring some part of the Twin Cities, participants are certain to be rewarded with an experience that’s educational and exciting.

Photo courtesy of the
International School of
Minnesota/Kids Camp

“Summer programs are a great way for students to explore new areas of learning, enhance skills, and develop a curiosity about learning that will excite students long beyond the summer,” says Lis Viehweg, who oversees the summer programs at Blake. “Small classes allow teachers and coaches to get to know their students and tailor the class for their specific needs and interests.”

At Camp Acoma, a day camp with half or full day options, kids from 4 to 11 can go swimming, play soccer, learn to juggle, play basketball, enjoy arts and crafts, and learn about science, gardening, computers, and cultural studies in a fun environment.

Summer programs at Blake include courses in academics, study skills, college preparation, the arts, and an array of athletics, as well as service learning opportunities. There are specialty courses in driver’s ed, cooking/culinary arts, and outdoor adventures. The Science Museum of Minnesota will offer three different camps at the Hopkins campus, utilizing the science lab facilities.

An online catalogue will debut on the Blake website, at the beginning of March. Register online, by mail, or by fax. Early bird registration closes May 15. Courses will remain open for registration up to three weeks before the class start date. Class sizes are limited; early registration is encouraged.




Willkommen! Planning an upcoming trip to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, or simply want to learn German? Then summer classes at the Germanic-American Institute are right up your alley.

Adults hoping to painlessly build their everyday conversational abilities can take Praktisch Deutsch, or “Practical German.” This class is focused more on developing a speaking proficiency and less on grammar and writing than a traditional “academic” language class.

Kids anywhere from 5 to 12 have four different weekly sommerschule camp options combining language with a highly interactive, hands-on theme. Camps are available for everyone from the beginner to the bilingual child, with different activities based on age and proficiency levels.

For the third straight year, the Germanic-American Institute is offering a camp based on the Middle Ages, called “Adventure in the Middle Ages.” A variety of activities take place each day, from jousting to writing a book, and there will be plenty of opportunities for children to participate in costume.

“Our teachers spend a lot of time and energy developing structured, language-based activities that the kids will enjoy, that are also appropriate for the kids’ age and proficiency level,” says Jeana Smith, director of
language services.

Photo courtesy of the
International School of
Minnesota/Kids Camp

Online registration for children’s summer camps and adult classes is available on the website after February 5. Early registration is recommended.

The GAI is the sponsor of the Twin Cities German Immersion School, a two-year charter school. They also operate a Saturday morning school (Samstagsschule) for grade school children learning German as a foreign language, and operate a “Kinderstube” German immersion preschool in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

For more information, visit or call 651-222-7027.


Campers at the International Kids Camp, offered weekly at The International School of Minnesota (ISM), will experience the “flavor” of different cultures by exploring the unique languages, food, games, music, sports, songs, crafts, literature, and customs in a variety of Gaelic, Dutch, Hebrew, and Hindi speaking communities. With energetic camp counselors and weekly “specialists in residence” as tour guides, Kids Camp is guaranteed to be a memorable, fun-filled adventure. International Kids Camp is a true camp experience!

“I think one of our biggest draws is the land our camp resides on,” says Angela Ponto, co-director of the camp. “We have 55 acres of nature just waiting for the kids to explore.”

The weekly camps begin June 18 and run through August 17 for children ages 3 ½ through those entering sixth grade. Full or half day options are available.

Campers can choose from The Explorers (age 3 1/2 through students entering first grade); The Pioneers (students entering second through sixth grade); Sports Adventurers (students entering second through seventh grade); and Counselor in Training (students entering seventh, eight, or ninth grade). The sports camps include baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, basketball, fishing, water sports and safety, and outdoor adventures such as canoeing, archery, and hiking.

For more information, call 952-918-1828 or email Sign up before April 1 to take advantage of the early bird discount.


Photo courtesy of Tamera Shintre and
the Germanic-American Institute

Koronis Ministries is an 85-year-old United Methodist Camp located on the north shore of Lake Koronis. The camp has evolved from a summer camp to a year-round camp with a variety of camping options, including weekend, five-day, or six-day summer camp packages and conferencing events. Catering to adult groups, youth groups, and family groups, the campground is capable of housing 240 people in the winter months and 500 in the balmy summer months. The camp includes 180 acres of wooded area with approximately three miles of winding trails, creating fantastic opportunities for bird watching and observing deer and other small wildlife. Activities may include boating, swimming, hiking, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and fishing during the summer; and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice fishing, and indoor recreational activities such as basketball and volleyball when the temperatures drop. Upcoming special summer camps include the “Red Rock Family Camp” June 18-24, “Ultimate Challenge Teen Camp” June 25-July 1, and “Autumn Gathering for Seniors” September 6-8.

Camp Koronis was established in 1951 as a cabin camp for boys and girls from kindergarten through eighth grade. Campers can try horseback riding, archery, fishing, drama, music, and more. First time campers can ease their way into the camping experience with a fun-filled three-day Teddy Bear Camp. The camp capacity is 60 campers per week.

“Camp Koronis is large enough to offer a good variety of activities, but small enough to care for individual camper needs,” explains Marcus Nettz with Camp Koronis.

Summer programs can be viewed on (search under Koronis Ministries). Potential campers can sign up online. It’s best to register early, with registration beginning as early as February. Some of the youth camps are small and will fill up quickly.




Does your child or someone you know have difficulty learning? Chances are, he or she may have a vision-related learning problem. Visual wellness evaluations, recommended before the school year starts, are recommended to help determine the best course of action. Many symptoms of visual disorders mimic symptoms of dyslexia, ADD and ADHD. Many children and adults carrying these labels have functional vision problems. At the Minnesota Vision Therapy Center—one of the largest vision therapy centers in the country—founder Dr. Lori Mowbray and highly trained therapists work together to treat the visual side of learning.

“There are over 90 visual pathways to the brain, and what we do is break down old habits and rebuild brain connections,” explains Jeri Leatherdale, a certified optometric vision therapist with Minnesota Vision Therapy. “Eyesight is 20/20, but vision is what you process. It’s both learned and developed.”

Therapists work one-on-one with children and adults from 3 to 83, everyone from children and adults with brain injuries, to frustrated children, teenagers, and adults who have trouble reading and concentrating.

Seeing double or seeing words and letters jump around on a page aren’t visual skills screened for during a routine eye exam. Symptoms that might signal a bigger problem include trouble balancing, motion sickness, excessive clumsiness, frequent blinking and eye rubbing, and headaches.

One out of four children and seven out of ten juvenile delinquents have a vision disorder that is interfering with their ability to achieve. With proper diagnosis and treatment, reading levels improve significantly, comprehension increases, and even sports performance can improve.

Minnesota Vision Therapy will be holding an informational seminar Thursday, February 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bloomington office. For more information, visit or call 952-844-0844.


Summer is a great time to relax, but resting our bodies doesn’t give our brains permission to go on vacation. Exercising the brain can be as simple as taking a summer class in reading, writing, math, study skills, spelling, or test preparation—classes available at St. Paul Academy and Summit School (SPA). SPA also offers summer classes in fine and performing arts for children ranging in age from 4 to 14, and tennis for all ages, starting with 3-year-olds.

“We have tennis classes for adults, including a special tennis class for moms,” says Melanie Spewock with SPA.

Photo courtesy of Minnesota
Vision Therapy Center

A particularly unique program is an early childhood multi-arts program designed for children ages 4 through 8 (with this year marking the 20th anniversary). Teachers are practicing artists who are in tune with young children. Kids participate in music, movement, theater, visual arts, and creative writing activities. The program is organized around a theme, with this year’s theme being “Treasures in the Attic—Exploring Activities From Long Ago.” The literary art specialist is McKnight award-winning author Susan Marie Swanson, who published the children’s books: The First Thing My Mama Told Me, Letter to the Lake, and Getting Used to the Dark: 26 Night Poems.

Kids participating in the Academic Action program will work in small groups (no more than four per group) to brush up on or improve skills in reading, math, and writing.

“It’s particularly well-suited for children with learning disabilities or other learning differences, but it’s been extremely successful with learners of all kinds who need an extra boost to be successful in school,” Spewock explains.

Admission is open to anyone interested in joining, available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the best selection of classes, people are encouraged to register before March 31. For more information, visit


Students can get a jump-start on their college education by attending a nationally recognized Summer Scholars program at the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) from July 8-20. Current high school sophomores and juniors who rank in the upper 20 percent of their class are invited to be part of this highly regarded program. Now in its 21st year, Summer Scholars offer scholastically talented students an introduction to college academics and life through an emphasis on writing, critical thinking, discussion, individual and group projects, interdisciplinary perspectives, and campus life. Summer Scholar participants choose one of two courses, “From Avian Flu to Ebola Zaire: The Reemerging Threat of Infectious Disease,” or “Talking About a Revolution: Dissent and Freedom of Expression in Today’s World.” The courses can help students earn two college credits in two weeks.

The 34th Annual Henjum Creative Study Institute (CSI) will beo offered at UMM June 11-22. Gifted and talented students ages 12 to 17 can explore the arts, music, and technology during these two weeks. Outstanding teachers, unique classes, bright and motivated students, college facilities, and fun activities make the Institute a great place to go for exciting summer study. Students can choose three courses from a variety of subjects in radio broadcasting, printmaking, robots, computer science, painting, theater, jazz and vocal music, digital media, and more. Family and friends are invited to attend a showcase program of student projects and performances on June 22.

Registration is open until courses and programs are full. Visit for more information and registration deadlines for individual programs.




Minnesota high school students interested in news reporting and writing are urged to apply for a two-week summer workshop at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul from June 17–29, according to Lynda McDonnell, executive director of ThreeSixty, a youth journalism program based at St. Thomas.

The free workshop includes food and lodging on the St. Thomas campus, with a stipend for students with financial need. Students completing grades nine through 12 this spring are eligible to apply for one of the 16 workshop spots. The workshop is targeted at students of color in hopes of encouraging greater diversity in the profession. No prior experience with journalism is necessary.

The workshop also includes an extra week for up to 10 of the students who want additional work in broadcast news. They will commute to campus each day during that week. Applications for the workshop are available at or by calling 651-962-5282. Applications must be postmarked by April. 15.

Classes in writing, reporting, photography, layout and design are part of the curriculum. Each student has a professional reporter/writer as a mentor during the workshop.

“This camp really inspired me to write more and think more and explore the world,” said Brittany Kingbird, a 17-year-old senior at Red Lake High School who attended the camp last year.

In addition to the summer camp, ThreeSixty sponsors an annual career fair, Saturday workshops and after-school classes on writing and reporting and, a website featuring student work. ThreeSixty also hosts several educational programs at Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.

Students, parents and teachers with questions about the workshop are asked to contact Lynda McDonnell at 651-962-5282,, or David Nimmer at 651-962-5255,


So much of what we do today is indoors. YMCA Day Camps encourage old-fashioned outdoor play and help reacquaint kids with Mother Nature in a safe, cared for, fun environment away from TV, video games, and passive activities.

Photo courtesy of the YMCA

There are six Minneapolis and five St. Paul Day Camps for kids ages 4 to 14, with a typical camp day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with before and after care from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing, archery, games, hiking, outdoor cooking, songs, and skits are offered at all Day Camp locations. Bus stops are available at most locations each day.

Specialty Camps, available for kids ranging from 6-14, are available based on each site of location. For example, Camp Manitou in Monticello has 1,200 acres of property with four private lakes, and with the help of a donated boat, YMCA is able to offer water skiing and tubing, activities that are hugely popular with the campers. The St. Paul Northeast Day Camp in White Bear Lake has an ongoing relationship with a sailing school in White Bear, making it possible to offer a sailing specialty.

Another well-attended program is the Wee Backpacker program for 4 and 5-year-old campers.

“Sometimes their backpacks are bigger than their little bodies,” jokes Kathy Marker, Minneapolis Day Camp product manager. “Both of my girls started out as Wee Backpackers and did amazingly well. Tired babies by the end of the night, but what a great experience.”

YMCA Day Camps are unique in that most offer Leaders-in-Training for teens in grades seven through nine, learning confidence building skills, responsibility management, and group development through planned activities. If a LIT receives a reference from a camp counselor, then they may apply to be a Counselor-in-Training or Junior Counselor, some volunteer positions; some paid.

A second unique feature of YMCA Day Camps is available financial assistance. YMCA Day Camps welcome all who want to participate.

“The YMCA annually raises funds through our Y Partner campaign to help make funds possible for families that need a bit of assistance,” Marker says.

Registration is open now. For more information, visit or visit a local YMCA branch on Rally Day March 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.