Making summer special

Making summer special

STS summer programs are designed for curious, creative, and active young explorers. 

Are you a kid who has always wanted to fly a drone across 220-acres of open space just to explore the landscape from 300-metres in the air? Or maybe you’re a student who’s watched the Royals playing the complex sport of polo on TV and wondered what it’s like to ride a pony while trying to hit a ball with a mallet. Or a parent thinking that if your child loves those darned video games so much maybe they should try to program one.

All of these are actual activities from over 30 STS summer camps on offer this summer for children ages 4 to 17 in areas from Science, Technology, Math and Innovation to Athletics to Outdoor Adventure. We also offer Summer School, an opportunity for all students in Grades 10 to 12 to push ahead with their learning and make the most of a summer when international travel may still be on hold. And you don’t need to be an STS student to sign up for either of these programs. In fact, for those who have never been to our beautiful campus and facilities, summer camps offer the opportunity to discover all that STS has to offer, plus make new friends from all over the region.

Scott Bennett, Director of Campus Sustainability & Program Development, says that besides being able to learn a new skill (there’s a camp on computer programming language Python!) or improve an existing one (senior students often use the volleyball camp as a way to tighten their skills for the fall season), he loves the fact that camps provide an excellent opportunity to bring the community to the STS campus and make greater use of it in the months when it could sit idle.

“We want to share our campus with the community so that kids can enjoy our natural oasis in the foothills area. We have a beautiful 200+ acres of outdoor campus to explore, including a pond to canoe on, campsites, hiking trails, and amazing indoor facilities for STEAM activities, athletics, climbing, the arts, etc.,” says Bennett. The camps program helps develop relationships within the STS community and beyond. Last summer, the school launched a new camp called “Taste of STS”, just for new incoming students to STS to enjoy the campus and make friends before the start of school.  

While STS teachers facilitate some camps, others are led by professional camp organizations, including Coded Minds for technology camps, HoopStrength for basketball, and Two Wheel View guiding bicycle trips. When he took charge of STS camps, Bennett says he went looking for organizations that were already providing specialized training geared at school-aged children. “STS partnered up with some after-school programs, as we want these camps to offer top-notch experiences with experts in a variety of areas,” he says.

Not surprisingly, last summer saw a lot of cancellations of camps due to COVID-19. Yet the program itself continued, with Alberta Health measures in place. In some cases, students switched over to STS summer school. Summer school takes place in July and is a great opportunity for all students in Grades 10 to 12 to take courses to accelerate their learning, in subjects from Biology to English to Sports Medicine. Many students take summer school to lighten their load for the upcoming year, either making room for a spare or increased participation in an extracurricular activity. They can explore new interests by taking a course that’s not offered at their school during the year, and summer school classes are capped at 20 students for a more intimate learning environment. As with summer camps, summer school also allows students to get a little taste of STS, benefitting from our state-of-the-art facilities and hanging out on our beautiful campus.

For both summer school and summer camps, STS is committed to following health regulations and making plans to comply with whatever requirements are issued.

Returning to the benefits of summer camps, Bennett says there are many: the opportunity to try out new skills, the chance to make new friends, and even the opportunity to explore outside students’ comfort zone. After being cooped up for the long pandemic winter, he adds that outdoor adventure is also appealing. “I do think families are craving that outdoor activity or physical fitness.”