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Kick off your summer with Kirkwood’s hands-on KICK camps

Kick off your summer with Kirkwood’s hands-on KICK camps
Photo credit, Kirkwood KICK Camps

Are your kids looking to take summer fun to the next level? Maybe they’d like to solve a crime, build and launch their own rocket, or master the art of telling jokes.

Kids ages 8-15 can find a treasure trove of adventure, science, art and more through Kirkwood Interactive Camps for Kids at Kirkwood Community College. Through these hands-on camps, kids can learn about STEM fields like computer programming or chemistry, explore careers in health care or law, try out their acting skills or learn to prepare a perfect pizza pie!

Hands-on learning approach

Casey Shoemaker, a teacher at the KICK Summer Camps, said the fast-paced, hands-on approach of these camps can help students understand complex concepts and have a blast at the same time.

“I think hands-on learning is really important for students,” he said. “It helps them make connections and grow different skills in ways that they might not be able to otherwise. It also helps students understand why the things they learn are important.”

Shoemaker was a camp counselor during his first summer with the program. He had no previous experience working with kids, but a friend who had worked at KICK talked him into giving it a try.

“I remember not having a ton of expectations coming into the summer, but ended up having a great time,” he said.

Shoemaker became a KICK teacher the following year and has continued with it ever since. His experiences were so positive that he decided to change his career path to education. Now he’s an eighth-grade teacher and coach in the Alburnett Community School District.

“I’m always grateful for KICK because it ultimately was the main factor in my decision to switch my college major from business to education, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experience,” he said.

Some of Shoemaker’s favorite camps to teach are Rocket Camp and Mock Trial.

Make new friends this summer

In addition to helping learners build key skills that set them up for future success, Shoemaker said KICK camps are a great way to make new friends.

“One of the coolest experiences I’ve had with KICK is seeing kids make genuine friendships over the course of the camp,” he said. “I’ve had several students sign up for my Mock Trial course for multiple years in a row with friends they had made in previous years.”

Working together to solve problems can help kids form lasting bonds.

“Something that makes KICK unique is the experience of learning something new, facing challenges and accomplishing goals with a group of people that you may not have known at the beginning of the week,” Shoemaker said.

Develop important life skills

In addition to hands-on learning, KICK camps help kids develop important life skills, Shoemaker said.

“One thing students and parents can expect from enrolling in a KICK camp is a growth in confidence as a problem solver, communicator and leader,” he said. “Most importantly, they can expect to have a great time!”

KICK camps are held throughout the summer in Cedar Rapids and Coralville. Online camps are also available. Summer camps begin the week of June 12. Tuition varies by camp and ranges from $39 to $200. Limited tuition assistance is available.

For more information or to register for camps, visit the program website.