University Park

Penn State summer camps help youth learn and explore careers

Campuses statewide are hot spots for summer camps on art, theatre, forensic science, technology, engineering and the environment

University Park, Pa. — Penn State summer youth camps are cooking — they’re also creating, performing, volleying, tackling, broadcasting, forecasting and designing.

According to camp organizers, Penn State summer camps are more than a place to spend time; they’re learning experiences that allow children to discover new things, explore future career choices, make new friends and see what it’s like to go to college. Summer academic and sport camps annually bring nearly 30,000 youth to University Park with thousands more young people attending summer camps at Penn State campuses statewide.

Penn State’s award-winning Cooking Camp is just one example of youth programming available this summer at University Park. Cooking Camp was the recipient of a community of practice conferences and professional programs exemplary award from the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA).

The Penn State Young Writers’ Workshop will be offered this year. The workshop offers exceptionally motivated young writers the opportunity to live and write at Penn State. The students will work with published authors and engage in workshops with like-minded students. Students will earn four college credits for the two-week workshop. The credits can be transferred to nearly any accredited college or university in the country.

At University Park, summer sport camps attract some 12,000 youth annually from all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.

Penn State Sports Camp activities include a return of the popular Happy Volley Club Championships. The girls’ volleyball tournament will be held May 23-25 at Penn State, the home of the Home of the 2007 and 2008 NCAA Women’s Volleyball National Champions.

Summer camps also allow young people to spend time one-on-one with Penn State faculty and coaches. Their camp experiences lead some participants to apply for admission to Penn State when it comes time to apply for college, according to a new study of summer camps coordinated by Penn State Conferences, a unit of Penn State Outreach. The study found that five percent of the incoming freshman class of 2006-07 at University Park previously attended a summer camp at University Park.

Executive Director of Statewide Continuing Education Bill Curley said that youth camps give the state’s young people a chance to explore the possibilities of higher education.

“Youth programming is one of our key pillars in Continuing Education,” Curley said. “Our goal is to provide learning opportunities in a variety of areas — to encourage young students to think about higher education at an earlier age.”

Camps are available across the state through Penn State’s Commonwealth campuses.

“Our campuses all across Pennsylvania offer creative summer learning opportunities for youth,” Curley said. “These range from academic-based programs to sports and activity-based camps. All of our programs are designed to be learning experiences where kids can grow and have fun.”

Each year, more than 220,000 youth participate in programs at Penn State campuses throughout Pennsylvania. Other Penn State Outreach units also deliver programming to youth on campus, in schools and at public events, including Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, which conducts environmental and outdoor education programs, and Penn State Extension, which offers 4-H youth development programs in all Pennsylvania counties.

Summer Camp Highlights

The Penn State Young Writers’ Workshop, July 5-19, ( offers exceptionally motivated young writers the opportunity to live and write in Happy Valley. They will work with published authors and engage in workshops with like-minded students. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2009.

The Penn State Communications Institutes are great opportunities to gain an understanding of the technical and professional aspects of a career in film or journalism and to meet and mingle with faculty and real industry professionals. Visit our Web site at for dates and details.

Penn State Weather Camp, June 21-26,( — During this week of camp, students will receive hands-on experience in many aspects of weather, including the actual process of making a forecast.

Penn State Cooking Camps, July 13-17, July 20-24 and July 27-31 ( — Cook like a Chef! is a half-day camp designed to introduce boys and girls ages 11 to 13 to healthy cooking and eating habits that will set them on the right path for their lifetime.

Penn State Architecture & Landscape Architecture Camp, July 12-16 ( — A career camp for high school students interested in architecture, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, construction management, or any field closely allied with architecture.

Penn State High School Summer Music Camp, July 12-18 ( — If you are a student who loves music, wants to study music with outstanding teachers, and experience college life at one of America's great universities, this is the camp for you.

Science-U, a series of summer science camps hosted by the Eberly College of Science, is offering eight different inquiry-based, hands-on science camps at University Park for students entering grades 2-12 in 2009, including camps such as "Penn State CSI," "Busted! Myth Meets Science," "Gee Wizard's Science," "Science Leadership Academy" and "Science-U Energy Crew." For more information regarding camp offerings, registration and financial aid, please go to the Web site

The Penn State Summer Theatre Project offers a unique professional training opportunity to the young theatre artists, ages 17 (rising high school senior) to 22. Visit our Web site at for program dates and details.

Center for Arts & Crafts Summer Art Camps for Kids — One of the highlights of our year is summer! This is a time when we offer a wide variety of specialized art camps designed to stimulate the imagination and attract the individual interests of children (ages 5 to teen). Check out

Penn State Sports Camps — Penn State hosts approximately 95 sport camps each summer that draw more than 20,000 young athletes. Penn State coaches and faculty provide instruction, feedback and tips that can help athletes improve their performance and develop the skills. Visit for more information about Penn State Sports Camps.

For information about Penn State summer camps, visit the Penn State Youth Portal at online.

Kids can explore everything from sports to creative arts, 4-H, 'Science U' and technology at Penn State summer camps. Click the image above to view photos from several 2008 camps. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 18, 2010