Calling All Campers: Find Your Child’s Next Summer Adventure

Calling All Campers: Find Your Child’s Next Summer Adventure

- in Featured

Story written by Angela Gartner, Photography by Kim Stahnke

It will soon be that time of year again. Your kids will be dragging out their trunks, sports equipment, musical instruments, science and art supplies to get ready for the camp season. At what camp will your child find themselves this summer? There are plenty of options around Northeast Ohio. We provide you with where to go, but also help with your decision by sharing camp experiences through the eyes of four local kids.

ArtsLona Ann Walter

I have gone to Hawken Camps for 4 years. I’ve attended the Day Camp, Pottery and Glass Mosaics, Fort Builders, the Leonardo da Vinci Art and Science Camp, plus Hawklings when I was little.

Why did you choose this type of camp?

I chose these camps because I really like art
and science.

What are the benefits of attending this type of camp?

It is really fun. You get to make a lot of things and be creative. In Mosaics, which was my favorite activity, I really like figuring out a design and then putting all the glass shapes where they need to go. It’s like solving a puzzle. I learned lots of new art and science activities.

When first attending camp, how did you overcome any challenges?

I was a little nervous at first because I have food allergies, but Hawken is nut-free, so that really helped. The teachers always made sure I was safe, too, which really made me feel good.

How has camp helped you in other areas of your life?

It helped me to be creative and get inspired.

Do you have any siblings that attended the same camp with you?

Yes, my brother Lewi goes to Hawken Camps, too. He really likes the sports stuff. I really like seeing him around so I can give him hugs. He is getting older now, so sometimes he just wants to high five.

SportReign Robinson


Game on! Sports Camps 4 Girls for two years.

Why did you choose this type of camp?

My camp is for every girl; we learned about working hard, working together, competing, and respecting others. We also learned about how important good nutrition is for our bodies. I chose this camp because I wanted to attend an all-girls camp.

What are the benefits of attending this type of camp?

I learned to play so many sports that I never thought I could play, and everyday was a new and fun challenge. My favorite new sport is soccer, because I didn’t think that I could control the ball so well with my feet (now I can). (Since my camp is just for girls) I never had to worry about boys watching us or participating. I didn’t want boys teasing me when I play.

Who did you connect with most at camp and why?

I connected with Ms. Chanel (a camp counselor) because she encouraged me to try every sport. She gave me the confidence that I needed at camp.

What did you learn from your camp experience? 

Camp made me feel proud and strong. It taught me that if I work really hard, I can do anything. I think it is important to attend camp because it teaches you to believe in yourself. My camp skills really help me with my school’s Destination Imagination team, where I have to be disciplined, focused and a team player. I ride horses, too, and camp really helped by keeping me in shape.

Why do you think camp is important to attend?

It means meeting new people and gaining new friends. It means that I get
a new challenge every single day.

What did you learn from camp that was useful for your equestrian skills?

I am able to use posture techniques from camp that helps with riding.

Drew Jarvis

10 years old

Drew first attended Rotary Camp at Happy Day School during the summers of 2013 and 2014, says his mother, Shannon. In 2015, he started attending the Akron Rotary Camp. Drew to attend many programs at Akron Rotary Camp, including the School Days Off Program, Weekend Respite Program, Summer Day Camp and Weekly Overnight Summer Camp. 

Tell us about his first camp experience:

Drew started out by just going to the School Days Off Program to get familiar with the surroundings and counselors (Drew has a lot of difficulties with any kind of change). He eventually went to his first weekend respite overnight. I know I was more anxious than he was. After all, I was leaving him with people he did not even know for the first time, and for a whole weekend. What would they do if he had a meltdown, couldn’t sleep, got homesick, or ran off? I am sure all parents have this fear the first time they send their camper for the weekend. Drew had a blast that first weekend, and now each time he goes, he gets so excited and says, “I’m a camper.”

What are the benefits of attending this type of camp?

The benefit of Drew attending camp is that he gets to interact with all types of campers, counselors and a wonderful environment. The large, beautiful setting includes everything from a rock climbing wall, activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, a sensory room, and a large activity room where they watch movies.

Who did he connect with most at camp and why?

Drew immediately bonded with JD. Every time I mention he is going, he says, “J.D.”  J.D. (at Akron Rotary Camp) always takes time to wrestle around with Drew, make him laugh, and make him at ease when we arrive. Drew also mentions Allie often. He loves to give her hugs and sing their silly camp songs. I commend all of these young men and women who work at Akron Rotary Camp. Anyone who would observe them interacting with the children would know they are dedicated and so excited to be working with this special group of kids.

How has camp helped Drew and your family? 

Being a single parent of two boys, Akron Rotary Camp has been such a blessing and is important to us not only because it gives Drew the social and life experiences, but because it has impacted our whole family. On the weekend Drew goes to camp, this enables me to spend one-on-one time with his 7-year-old brother, Alex. Being a sibling of a special needs child is difficult in so many ways. Alex and I love our special “Alex and mommy weekends.” Last summer, Alex was able to attend a whole week overnight camp with Drew at Sibling Week. I was apprehensive because Alex had never spent the night anywhere. I was amazed by how much fun he had. It gave him a chance to do all the activities Drew got the chance to do all summer.

JoshuaJoshua Daniel Hertz


Falcon Camp, this will be my fourth year.

Why did you choose this type of camp?

My father and my uncles went as children and my older sister Alyssa started going when she was 10.
I wanted to go, too.

How did you handle being away from home?

My first year was hard, but they kept me so busy and happy that I barely noticed.

What do you like most about your camp experience?

The freedom of going from place to place by yourself, with people there if you need them, but who will always let you do your own thing. You learn how to take care of yourself for long periods of time and to grow.

Who did you connect with most at camp and why? 

To answer that, I would have to list so many names. I have made lots of friends with other campers and the counselors.

What did you learn from your camp experience?

Many wilderness skills and life skills, such as independence. It has also made me much more confident in everyday life. I also really enjoy sailing, tennis, horseback riding and drama.

What does going to camp mean to you?

Growing up and learning new stuff, but mostly making new friends. I am excited that my parents are letting me go for four weeks this summer. Until now, I was only going for two weeks.

Do you have any siblings that attended the same camp with you? 

Yes, my sister Alyssa went at the same time as I did. She is now a counselor and we still enjoy seeing each other there. We enjoy talking about Falcon all year and reliving some of our favorite times and talking about our Falcon friends.

About the author

Angela Gartner has been the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine since 2014. She has won local and national awards for her features, columns and photography over the years. Previously, her work appeared in publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers and The Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy every weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She is also a board member and past president at the Cleveland Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She loves reading, writing poetry and taking the family's Scottish Terrier on walks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.