By AMBER BLUE
Kids are taking over Niagara College.
Niagara Kids College will start up during the first week in July and run until the middle of August.
It will offer a chance for young people to take a wide variety of programs through the summer.
Programs run as half-day sessions up to a full week of activities and classes are designed and led by instructors who are experts in the various fields.
This is the third year the programs have run and Shirley Tomovic, development officer of Continuing Education here, says it is continuing to grow.
While registration for 2009 doesn’t start until April, Tomovic points out there was a “substantial leap” in registration from the 2007 to 2008 seasons, with over 600 enrolments last year.
Tomovic emphasizes the Kids College is not like other summer camps as it is largely academic in nature.
Continuing Education Operations Officer Lorraine Gelinas agrees. “It’s educational and fun,” she adds.
“It doesn’t run in regular time frames,” Tomovic says. “Some of the programs are half day and some of them are two weeks’ worth of mornings.”
Domenic Caruso, development officer for Continuing Education, says the college is excited about the growth and credits a portion of it to what he calls a “tremendous” staff complement.
“The instructors are all great with kids,” he says.
Courses are offered for various age groups, starting as young as seven, and going through 16.
Some of the courses provide two offerings, one for younger students and one for those who are older or more advanced.
Last year a cheerleading program was offered, and this year a second level was added to accommodate students who want to come back.
Tomovic says she believes it gives young people, especially those nearing the end of high school, a look at what college is like.
“It takes away some of the fear,” she says.
Caruso gives the example of a former participant in one of the culinary programs who has gone on to achieve her Red Seal in cooking as well as becoming a baking patisserie.
“It’s an introduction to those areas of interest,” he adds.
New programs include Lego Summer Fun for Kids, which, according to the Kids College program guide, allows students to “take part in an exciting week of learning, designing and creating with Lego.”
There are also programs, combining interests such as Eat Like a Pro — Sports Nutrition and Cooking for Young Athletes. This includes a sports aspect as well as a portion teaching students about nutrition and cooking.
Another “exciting” program, Tomovic says is Guitar Rocks, being taught by Rick Rose, formerly of the bands Lennex and the Perfect Affair.
“He teaches out of the box,” she says, adding students seem to respond to his teaching style.
Tomovic also says she’s excited about the Digital Photography Just for Kids program being taught by John Mitchell, a producer for shows that air on television’s Animal Planet.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have him,” she says. “We’re really pleased he’s teaching the classes.”
“The art camps are really popular,” Caruso adds.
He points out that a lot of the programs end their weeks with a “celebration.”
The drama programs put on a play, catered by the culinary students, and the art programs host a showing of their projects from the week.
Gelinas says that camp has four counsellors, all students from the college who will return in the fall.
“Three of them last year came from the Child and Youth Studies program,” she says, but adds there is no program requirement to apply for the positions.
Applicants are required to be first aid and CPR certified before they apply, or in the process of getting their certification. They must also submit to a police check, as do the instructors.
For more information on Niagara Kids College, visit the website at www.niagaracollege.ca/kids or call 905-735-2211 ext. 7510.