Summer vacation without summer camp is like peanut butter without the jelly

Summer Day Camp at Tonaquint Nature Center, St. George, Utah 2011 | Photo courtesy of City of St. George

WASHINGTON COUNTY – School’s recessing for summer, families are planning vacations, shoes off, bare feet, it’s the season for youth in so many ways.  It’s a great time for discovery and one avenue for that is trying out some summer camps.  Most of them are short in term, center on special interests and provide a great way for children to try out something new and meet new friends.  When choosing the summer activity best suited for their child, parents can take advantage of a broad variety of exciting and reputable choices throughout the county. We’ve compiled some options from around the county that you might like to think about and toss around with your kids.


The City of St. George offers a wide selection of summer camps for youth of varying ages. Several, including the Neptune Aquatic Day Camp and Atlantis Aquatic Day Camp have received commendations from the Utah Recreation and Parks Association for their quality. The numerous programs on their 2012 schedule focus on everything from self-defense and sports to art and nature. A full brochure can be viewed or printed here.

The Junior Association of Golf is another comprehensive athletic program offered by the City of St. George. Open to children ages 7-17, JAG runs throughout the summer and hosts free instructional clinics and tournaments at local golf courses. The lessons are directed by a PGA professional and encourage not only proper skill, but course etiquette and respect for the sport.

For female K-12 students, the Girl Scouts of Utah will host the annual Southern Utah Camp Rocks in Dixie National Forest. The three-day adventure is guided by professional counselors and teaches outdoor skills such as knot tying, fire building and safe hiking. “It’s delightful,” said Dawn Miner, the GS recruitment officer for Southern Utah. “It’s really a wonderful experience for these girls.”

Washington City’s Community Center places an emphasis on sports with their summer camp schedule. June programs include the Little Hoopsters Basketball Camp and Little Strikers Soccer Camp, both for ages 5-8. The Summer Shootout Basketball Camp and Ace Youth Volleyball Camp for ages 8-14 will be held in June. Registration for all camps is $25 per child and must be done in person at the center.


Each week in June, children over 6 can experience the Future Farmers Camp at the Staheli Family Farm in Washington. Hands-on activities include feeding and caring for animals and tending a garden. There is also a Little Farmers camp for preschool-age children. According to staff, the aim of the program is to teach children to appreciate nature and all that it has to offer.

The Valderra Golf Club at the prestigious Ledges course offers state-of-the-art teaching techniques, which are now available to young players. Throughout the summer, club pro Nick McKinley will host a variety of instructional golf clinics for juniors 8 and over. The lessons cover all aspects of the game, from chipping and putting to proper grip and swing. Through June and July, the Bare Foot Gymnastics Club will honor their annual “2 for 1“ special, in which students who sign up for one summer recreation class can participate in another at no additional cost. The facility, which is also home to a Montessori Learning Center for preschool to 2nd grade children, will continue its regular schedule throughout the summer, including swimming and tumbling lessons.

For a limited time, Bobby Lawrence Karate in St. George will offer their six-week Kickin’ Summer Program for $99. Available to children ages 4 and up, the camp teaches karate combined with basic self-defense skills such as punching and blocking. More advanced students will also have the opportunity to earn a white belt before the session ends. Lawrence’s method combines several forms of karate and he currently owns 16 dojos throughout Utah.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from May 29 to July 31, the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum will host a Discovery Day Camp for children ages 4-11. Each week’s studies and crafts are based around a different theme, which range from animals of North America to traveling Europe and beyond. Students are advised to bring a meal each day for lunch hour, which will be followed by an educational film tailored to the needs of young learners. Prices and a detailed schedule can be obtained by contacting the museum’s gift shop.


For those looking to provide their child with a fulfilling religious learning experience, New Promise Lutheran Church in St. George hosts Summer Day Camp, a four-day retreat that mixes games, crafts, field trips and worship. Running from August 2-5, the camp is led by volunteer members of the church and counselors from Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp and is open to all Kindergarten through 5th grade students. Information about prices and the registration process can be found by contacting the church.

On June 4-6, the newly founded Desert Ridge Baptist Church will conduct a baseball clinic for youth ages 10-17. Under the direction of former Washington Senators catcher and ordained Baptist minister Mike Brumley, students can learn both basic baseball skills and take part in Bible devotions. Desert Ridge has also partnered with the First Southern Baptist Church of St. George to offer a Vacation Bible School in Vernon Worthen Park on the same days. Though the material is intended for younger children, pastor Michael Waldrop said that “Everyone is welcome and we also encourage parents to attend.” There are no charges for either program.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also offers many summer community activities for both members and non-members. Due to the high volume of LDS churches in Washington County, it is recommended that interested parties contact their local stake directly.


The Dixie area is rich with opportunities for youth; this list in no way covers the broad prism of activities that will take place this summer. Parents are encouraged to fully research programs that fit their child’s maturity level and interests, so that everyone can benefit from the experience.

Have a safe and happy summer!

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Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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1 Comment

  • Janice Markovich April 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

    What a wonderful informative article. I can clearly see your area is concerned about providing opportunities to keep the youngsters busy during the summer months. Keep up the good work.
    Janice Markovich

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