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| By the time exams are over, the campus will be a little quiet as the students go their separate ways. But, come the end of June, young voices of a different tenor will return as children and teenagers begin at one of McGill's four day camps. Here's a brief guide:
At Explorations, youngsters ages four to 18 may be lucky enough to discover a new passion, or a future career path. The Junior Program, for four- to eight-year-olds, is dedicated to music, science and physical activity, and parents can come to see the results every two weeks, in an open house, which might include an art exhibition, theatrical performance and a science lab.
|PHOTOS: CLAUDIO CALLIGARIS|
"This is not a summer school," says Bertha Dawang, co-director of Explorations. "It started out as a summer school for the gifted, but now the emphasis is on fun, active learning."
The intermediate program, for nine- to14-year-olds, includes such novel activities as circus arts, origami (Japanese paper-folding), 3D film animation and simple robotics using Lego blocks. They will also be creating parodies of television programs on the radio, to be broadcast on CKUT Radio McGill.
The senior program, for the 15- to18-year-old set, features A Panorama of the Sciences, in which students tour McGill pure and applied science departments and learn about current research projects. All instructors are qualified teachers.
For information, call 398-4252. The Explorations website is www.education.mcgill.ca/explorations.
The show must go on and it does when students from seven to 15 years of age, with or without musical training or background, get crash courses in percussion, dance and opera and put on a theatrical production every two weeks. For those aged 15 and older, the Broadway Camp puts on productions composed of excerpts from well-known musicals like Les Misérables and West Side Story, forming an original story line.
"Parents are always impressed by what we can do in just two weeks," says camp director Clement Joubert, a McGill graduate with a degree in piano performance and theory. "We have a ratio of one adult in the camp for every five children, which helps a lot. The kids get a lot of individual attention, training and supervision."
Students who find they have an aptitude for a certain instrument can opt for private lessons - even in electric guitar — for an additional fee.
It is well known that musical training, because it teaches discipline and structured, organized thinking, is a valuable discipline for other pursuits, including science and medicine. But Joubert says that a good number of camp participants will go on to music careers, as well.
"Particularly in the Broadway group, some of the students are remarkably good, and could easily go on to work in the business."
The camp is bilingual. For information, call 514-398-5505. The web site is at www.music.mcgill.ca/conservatory/camp.
The sports camp emphasizes cooperation rather than the win-at-all-costs philosophy predominant in professional sports. It also offers a colourful variety of athletic pursuits, from traditional North American staples like basketball, volleyball and soccer, to more exotic sports like tae box, kayaking, fencing, lacrosse and cricket.
The camp was founded in 1984. A recent addition to its program is Sports Plus, in which participants can receive additional coaching in arts and crafts,baseball, basketball, computers, gymnastics, judo, soccer or tennis. Sports Plus allows a future all-star to pursue a specific athletic skill. Outings include scavenger hunts on Fletcher's Field, soccer tournaments in the Fieldhouse and daily swimming at the Currie Pool.
Boys and girls, ages 5 to 14*, are welcome. Computer instruction, arts and crafts and dance programs complement the sports activities.
The camp director is Philip Quintal. Call 398-7011.
REACH is jointly run by 24 science students from Concordia and McGill universities whose objective is to give young participants a fun, hands-on introduction to science and its applications.
"Our purpose is to trigger, in the campers, a keen interest in science," says camp co-ordinator and McGill student Nadine Desautels. "Hopefully they will pursue that interest in their post secondary studies."
To that end, camp activities demonstrate how science touches our daily lives.
"We want them to become aware that the impact of science and engineering is all around them, and how the world today is dependent on science. Science has an impact on their lives, and they can have an impact on science as well."
The REACH program, for children in grades three to six, includes projects involving bridge-building, robotics, and the creation of holograms, complete with a lesson on the scientific principles behind the devices. A quick look at a typical agenda reveals other intriguing activities: "Solar Oven", "Geodesic Dome", "Oil Spill", "Wind Meter", and "Forensics Fun", to name a few. Campers even make their own yogourt and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Interactive demonstrations also teach campers basic principles in fields such as physics and microbiology.
The REACH Higher program, for children in grades seven to nine, conducts similar activities, but with an emphasis on more advanced scientific theory and practice. The program includes field trips to university departments and labs at both Concordia and McGill, and industrial tours, complete with presentations from company representatives.
Call 848-7991 for information. The web site is at www.ece.mcgill.ca/~reach/.*Please note the Children's Summer Sports Camp is now for children ages 6-15.