Want to make a fort in the woods? How about put together a recipe to cook with secret ingredients? Is your favorite sport calling to your child to get better at some skills?
The Glenelg Country School has been offering Summer in the Country camps for more than 30 years. The program was first started by current Head of the Middle School Kevin Boland in the 1980s. Various day camps exist for youth to teenagers. Adventure camps look to get children outside and into nature with plenty of activities. The Counselor-In-Training program aims to help ninth and 10th graders get the proper training to be future camp leaders. Specialty camps take on many topics including art, chess, coding, graphic novels and young authors.
Kirsten Mahoney, director of youth and membership programs, notes the most popular offerings include a creative cooking camp modeled after the television show “Chopped,” several of the adventure camps and Painting in the Country camp.
“We can meet the needs of a lot of different types of children with their different interests,” she says. “It doesn’t really matter what your interests are. You can find something to do here.”
Located on nn approximately 100-acre campus, the camps include before and after care as well as a pool on the property.
Camps all across the country have seen an increase in interest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents have been looking for safe activities for children to partake in after nearly two years of virtual learning, quarantines and social distancing. This year, Glenelg opened registration on Feb. 1 and were already 50% full within the first 12 hours. Some camps are now already wait listed. While opening day always brings a large turnout, Mahoney notes this year’s activity is the largest early enrollment she’s seen in her 15 years at the school.
The Ellicott City-based facility has seen many campers return year after year. “They love coming back and having that annual camp experience of reconnecting with people that they maybe don’t get to see during the school year,” she says. Mahoney notes that due to the camp’s longevity, staff are now seeing parents who were campers bring their own children to participate.
This school year, Matt Walsh took over as the head of school in July after the retirement of Greg Ventre. Coming from a private institution in Arkansas, Mahoney notes Walsh has been able to offer a fresh perspective at the school and camps.
“The beauty of our program is we have been around for so long but that we constantly reinvent ourselves and try to tap into newness. I think that is what we continue to try to do all these years,” she says.
Mahoney hopes that kids will have fun during their camp experience whether they are trying something they have never done before or tapping into their passions. “I want kids to walk away saying they had the best summer ever.”