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  • October 24, 2014

SummerQuest: Taking Fun Seriously - Ladue News: Kids & Parenting

SummerQuest: Taking Fun Seriously

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 pm

From making movies and playing water sports to launching rockets, SummerQuest day camp is packed with exciting adventures for kindergartners to eighth-graders.

The six-week summer camp, which draws about 600 kids annually, runs from June 9 to July 18. It offers three two-week sessions for kindergartners through third-graders, as well as fourth- to sixth-graders, and a two-week session for seventh and eighth graders.

On the grounds of Shaw Park, Center of Clayton and Clayton High School, campers participate in arts, sciences, sports and other entertainment that keeps them coming back summer after summer, says camp director Doug Verby, who has been involved with SummerQuest for 10 years. Kids enjoy the camp’s exciting—and educational—programs, with favorites from swimming, cooking and archery to chemistry blowout and mini-med school classes, Verby says.

For kindergartners through third-graders, SummerQuest campers rotate through a day of themed adventures during art and science classes and recreational sports such as tennis and kickball, as well as instructional and free swimming.

Fourth- through sixth-graders experience four daily periods of recreation, such as cooking, art studio, movie-making, dancing, cheerleading, photography, computer animation, magic, theater and rock band. "For the iMovie and band classes, we screen their movies and they perform a couple of songs at the end of the session,” Verby notes. Participants also have the opportunity to play a multitude of sports, including baseball, soccer, swimming, tennis, fencing, archery, bowling and rock-climbing.

For seventh- and eighth-graders, there is more of an emphasis on the arts and sciences, including a canvas art class, Iron Chef and Confections and Pastries cooking classes, mini-med school and chemistry blowout science labs, rock-climbing, rocketry and brain games. “There are strategy games like chess and backgammon, as well as online games,” Verby adds.

The enthusiastic and experienced staff makes SummerQuest stand out from other area camps, Verby says. There is a counselor for about every 10 to 15 kids, and the groups rotate through different classes led by certified teachers. “We hire the cream of the crop,” Verby explains. “These counselors are high school- and college-age students who really like kids. And we have a certified teaching staff from local school districts, including Clayton, Rockwood and Parkway.”

Verby notes SummerQuest is much more than a daycare. “We emphasize fun as the No. 1 rule. If there is an activity where kids are having fun, we expand and improve it; and if there are activities kids do not like, we end them. We take fun seriously.”

For working parents, the camp also provides before- and after-care kids’ programs from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Registration is open for this summer’s sessions. The sign-up deadline is May 30.

ON THE COVER: SummerQuest strives to offer kids an adventurous and unforgettable summer, from fun with arts and sciences to recreational sports. For more information, call 854-6614 or visit summerquest.org.

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