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Summer camps begin return to in-person activity

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 14, 2021

As College of Lake County (CLC) opens back up, in-person opportunities for summer camps are back to being a reality. Despite not being fully in-person, CLC’s summer camp participation has returned.

“Even though they were online last summer, people still wanted something,” said Tammie Johnson, senior program coordinator. “For the camps that needed kits, we put them together and campers could either pick them up or have them delivered.”

Photo of culinary summer campThe numbers have rebounded back to normal this summer, even with most camps still being done virtually.

Camps were planned out months ago when the country was still on the fence about reopening, so while some have since been moved to in-person, most remained online.

“We planned more for online just to be safe,” Johnson said. Coming back to in-person helps provide a better experience for those participating."

Photo of a chair being made during a summer camp“You can simulate online, but it’s so much different,” Johnson said. “For the nursing camp, a lot of students love the surgical tech day because they dress like they’re going into surgery. They’re covered head to toe and get the immersion. It feels like they’re working in the area."

Because career exploration is one of the goals of the camps, allowing the participants to be more hands-on allows them to better judge whether they enjoy doing whatever it is they’re trying.

Not only is working hands-on beneficial, but so is the in-person ability to work with others.

“There’s an advantage to being in person,” Johnson said. “You’re learning from each other and forming new relationships. These are things you can’t get when you’re at home. Online learning can be effective, but because our camps are so interactive, in-person works better.”

Coming out of the all-virtual world, there have been some good takeaways that will help the summer camps in the future.

Johnson said there had been plans in the works to try online camps, but the pandemic forced the issue. It ended up working much better than expected and proved that CLC can run online camps really well.

“It gives us access to a group of people we normally can’t get on campus,” Johnson said.

Online camps give the college reach even further than Lake County. Last summer, a mother in Florida learned of CLC’s LEGO Robotics camp and signed her son up. A kit was mailed to them, and he was able to participate in the camp from across the country.

Johnson expects the popularity of camps to rise next year when they transition into fully in-person.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.