town camps

Students in Cornelius participate in an arts camp. (Courtesy of PARC)


When schools end and the summer session begins, many parents are left with a void in child care and for children, a void in daytime activities. Through summer camps offered by local town government parks and recreation departments and private camps by churches or businesses, parents can find solutions that benefit both themselves and their children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, summer camps can impact a child’s self-esteem, their physical and mental well-being and help them explore interests and skills.

Each town offers a litany of camp options in an effort to offer a place for every child, and each town offers a scholarship with varying requirements and deadlines, found on the town websites.


Davidson Parks and Recreation offers a variety of camps, including unique specialty camps – such as, cooking, sewing, math and movement, art, science and drama for children ages 3-17.  Their sports programs include: yoga, fencing, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, lacrosse and mixed-sport camps for ages 3 to 12.

Of note, one of their newest camps is a college application bootcamp. That camp may not be chock-full of fun activities, but it does ready rising seniors for the college application process, including paperwork, essays and how to submit test scores. Working on those steps in advance can make their senior year easier, according to camp directors.

Davidson offers a variety of half-day and a few full-day camps for ages 3 to 16 for full weeks, beginning June 11 through the week of Aug. 20. Most of the camps include indoor and outdoor activities, plus opportunities for fun, friendships and exploration.  Pre-summer preschool camps offer a special camp experience filled with art, games, singing, dancing, stories and playtime from March 29 through June 9.


The 2018 Summer Camp Guide is available at and at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave. The camp guide includes all of the details, dates and descriptions for more than 110 half-day and mini sports, arts and recreation camps, as well as eight weekly full-day camps. The camps include sailing, ceramics, animal exploration, painting, cooking and traditional sports camps like softball and soccer.

Cornelius has recently increased the capacity for their full-day camps this year, from 60 campers each week to 100, and will be able to offer the popular program to even more residents.

Registration opens to the general public for full-day camps on Thursday, March 15, after priority registration ends for Cornelius residents. For all of the sports, arts and recreation partial-day camps, residents of any and all towns may register now.

Cornelius camp dates vary based on the selected camp.


Recreation superintendent Tracy Houk said that camp is a no-brainer for busy parents.   
“Children are used to being active and occupied all day,” Houk said. “They don’t want to sit at home and ‘veg out’ all summer – it might be nice the first week, but after that the boredom sets in.”

She said they also see some campers, especially on their first experience, who have a hard time leaving their mom or dad on that first day.

“But then they don’t want to go home in the afternoon because they had such a fun day,” Houk said.

And those camps have been known to inspire more than just a weeklong experience.

“We keep your children active all day and hopefully introduce them to new activities and adventures that they will want to tell you about at the dinner table that evening,” Houk said. “Who knows, you might even plan a family vacation or day trip to one of the adventures your child went on.”

Huntersville offers a variety of camps as well, ranging from activities to sports. Camp themes include sports, adventure camps, gardening and more. The Huntersville Parks and Recreation website has all the details.

Of note – there are also adult camps offered.


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