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Local summer camps offer high quality experiences at affordable prices

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BETTENDORF, Iowa – Summer camps aren't what they used to be.

Parents today want their children to actually do something, get something out of the summer weeks out of school.

Playing in the Park

In Bettendorf, that could mean getting involved in a Summer Playgrounds program that starts June 6th, 2016.

"We offer the afternoon playgrounds program for ages 5 to 12, what we traditionally see is a lot of different neighborhood children that come and attend this," said Liz Solis-Willis, Recreation and Aquatic Program Manager for the City of Bettendorf.

The price tag is $25 for Bettendorf residents, $85 for everyone else.

The selling point?

"It gives the parents some comfort to know that they're not up at the park by themselves that they do have the supervision," said Solis-Willis.

And the city says there's always room for your child.  Plus you can save money on registration fees if you sign up this week.

Option for Budding Musicians

The River Music Experience has "KidStock". Local musicians work with eight to 18 year olds with a live concert at the end of each of the three sessions.

Bret Dale is the Programming Assistant for the River Music Experience.

"You see the older kids mentoring the younger kids and watching them grow throughout a two week session, from not knowing what they're doing to actually performing live at the Redstone Room. It is really a treat," said Dale.

This camp may seen pricey at $440 but that breaks down to $10 an hour for music lessons.

And if that's still too costly, call the RME.

"There's funding available to all families that need help to come to camp," said Dale.

Camps for the Mind

Then, there's exploring through play.

The Putnam Museum's science camps are getting harder and harder to get into,  so you'll have to hurry. One of the only camps available is at the end of the summer and it's designed to make children more tech savvy.

"So right now we have a camp that we partner with the Iowa State University extension, and that camp is still available," said Octavia Houtekier-Boyd, Vice President of Education at the Putnam.

And some of the camps are tailored to the children involved.

"It's per grade level, we also have one that's specifically for the girls... only girls can come, no boys allowed," said Houtekier-Boyd.

It's $40 for the one day Engineering camp.

"The Iowa State Extension Office is really striving to reach those that are under served in our area so we do have scholarship opportunities available," said Houtekier-Boyd.

Outdoor Exploring

But summer camps are still best known for kids getting outside.

"It's not a job for me, it's fun," said Camp Abe Lincoln director Nick Martinez.  "I get to wake up every morning to this."

There are seven one-week resident camps throughout the summer at Camp Abe Lincoln.

"With the resident camp the kids stay with us the whole time, it's not like they get to go home and get away from camp, that's where the relationships really form," said Martinez.

And at this camp, YMCA members get a discount on registration fees.

"We raise funds and we apply for grants as well to make sure that we don`t turn anyone away," he said.

These days, even the traditional camp is geared toward kids learning.

"Whether it's a kid who doesn't know where his next meal is going to be coming from or doesn't have that mother/father role model, this is that same camp that can help them be successful," said Martinez.

And not wasting their summer.