FIU’s summer camp open to the community

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You don’t need to be enrolled in a college course to call yourself a Junior Panther this summer. Children and teens ages 6-14 are invited to take part in “The Art of Summer at FIU,” a youth summer camp program aimed at getting kids excited about having fun through various arts and sports activities.

Taking place on and around FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus, the summer camp will begin on June 16. FIU adjunct professors will be teaching all activities, sharing their expertise and passion.

Campers, along with their parents and guardians, will be able to create their own summer camp experience and choose two of four exciting areas: art, music, sports and dance.

Drawing or painting are the available art choices. The FIU Art Studios will open its doors so campers can get a feel of the brushstroke.

“You don’t need to be a mini Picasso to take part,” said Art Chairperson Jacek Kolasinski. “Kids will learn art techniques in fun group settings and build interest in the topics taught.”

Young music lovers will have the opportunity to excel at piano or guitar. FIU’s College of Architecture and the Arts’ School of Music will welcome campers throughout the summer. No prior experience is necessary to register.

Campers can also partake in tennis or basketball, which will be held at FIU’s recreation facilities. Staying healthy and fit is important for kids throughout the summer.

“Tennis and basketball are great ways to build endurance while having fun at the same time,” said Youth Sports Manager Raymond Gutierrez. “These activities won’t be all about winning. We really want kids to learn the important techniques of each sport.”

Either Hip-hop Dance or KidzFit will make sure campers are moving to the beat and learning a routine or two.

Fitness sensation Jamie Bernard will be leading the dance courses offered.

“There is no better place to offer these classes than at FIU,” Bernard said. “Dance is a way of life, and if we get kids interested at an early age, they’ll become hooked on it.”

Dance instruction will be facilitated at the FIU Elite Fitness Studio, located across the street from Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Transportation will be provided by Camp Personnel via shuttle service to all locations on and around campus. All fees are included in the initial camp tuition.

Camp Director Grisell Sotolongo says will be watching over campers as if they were her own. She adds FIU’s summer camp is an excellent way to not only open FIU to the community even further, but also to make sure children are safe and staying active during the summer.

“We planned these activities with both children and parents in mind,” Sotolongo said. “Parents can go to work knowing their children will be well taken care of. FIU will be a second home for these campers.”

A typical day at FIU’s summer camp will include: a 7:30 a.m. drop-off, with the fun starting at 9:15 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. in the U.S. Century Bank Arena. Campers will have free-time until 1:15 p.m, followed by an afternoon activity and snacks served at 4 p.m. Pick-up begins at 5 p.m., with an extra fee being charged for any pick-ups after 6 p.m.

The full amount for the 8-week summer camp is $1,200, or $700 for a 4-week summer camp. The program fee is due in full upon registration and includes: morning and afternoon snacks, program lunch, weekly summer camp field trips and participation in two activities.

Free-time activities will include dodgeball, pool and reading time, among others. Additionally, any lunch and field trip fees are already included.

Campers will be visiting an array of unique local spots during field trips. Some locations include: Grapeland Water Park, the Kendall Ice Arena and Kabooms Amusement and Party Center.

Playing one of two sports – along with the other arts options available – will deliver a diverse summer camp curriculum that promises campers will never have a dull day.

“FIU offers so much to the community,” Sotolongo said. “We are looking forward to camp starting and having a different group of students roam our campus.”

To register a child in “The Art of Summer at FIU,” visit for more information. You can also contact the Youth Camp office at 305-348-9053.

– Leoncio Alvarez