By Julie Winsel

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time to start planning for summer. The kids will be out of school and looking for a place to make friends, create, and be active (learning is also a bonus). Many local organizations are gearing up for their summer programs, offering weekly camps for all types of kids. So, whether your kid wants to spend their summer on a stage, in the forest, chasing a soccer ball, or learning about space, there is a camp for them.


Whole Earth Nature

Through their camps and all of their programs, Whole Earth Nature seeks to mentor students in the outdoors to foster confidence, resilience, and kinship with nature. They have both day and overnight camps for ages three through 17, focusing on direct experience with nature, like in their “Raised by Wolves” or their “Elven Archers” camps. They also have leadership training for older kids.

Ages 3-17 | Weekly | $36-$630 | Whole Earth Nature School, PO Box 5223 |

Duck Trails

Ducks Trails camps encourage positivity and a growing sense of self-confidence through their many programs through the summer. They have a “Classic Camp” as well as sports, cooking, climbing, and “EmpowerU” camps. They also have their “Imagination Factory” and junior counselor programs.

Ages 5-18 | Weekly | $105-$205 | University of Oregon Physical Education and Recreation, 1273 University of Oregon | 

imagine That!

Kids at imagine That! rotate through drama, art, music, and dance classes with their age groups to create a unique musical production in only ten days. Although the overall theme is the same, each camp gives their own spin with the creation of characters, a script, songs, choreographed dances, costumes, and sets.

Ages 7-13 | Two-week program | $365 | Village School, 3411 Willamette St. |


The Shedd Institute

Performing arts is the common thread through the Shedd Institute’s summer camp offerings. They have programs for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through 12th grade, and ninth through 12th grade, including their weekly SongFest series, and mariachi program and Musical Theatre Training Academy, which are for several weeks.

Kindergarten-12th grade | Weekly or over several weeks | $285-$660 | The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, 868 High St. |

Oak Hill School

Oak Hill School, which runs as a full kindergarten through 12th grade school during the year, offers summer programs with goals to honor diversity and create caring and responsible critical thinkers. They offer many different kinds of camps, with some that start at different times of the day and extend for one to three weeks depending on the camp. They also have overnight, residential camps for older kids.

K-12th grade | One- to three-week programs | See website for prices | Oak Hill School, 86397 Eldon Schafer Dr. |

Eugene Family YMCA

At the Y, their goal is “for kids to have the Best Summer Ever!” They have camps for kids in preschool through middle school that teach themes of friendship, accomplishment, and belonging. Their week-by-week camps include options for field trips and campouts, arts activities, sports, horseback riding, tennis, and training to be a counselor or a lifeguard.

Preschool-middle school | Weekly | $100-$350 | Eugene Family YMCA, 2055 Patterson St. |

Summer Science Adventure

The Eugene Science Center’s summer programs offer your child the opportunity to experience chemistry, geology, nature, space, animals, and robotics in creative and hands-on ways. They’ll do things like make productive messes, come face to face with some furry friends, or even teach a robot how to move through a maze.

1st-8th grade | Weekly | $275 | Eugene Science Center, 2300 Leo Harris Parkway |

Girl Circus

Girl Circus is celebrating its 20th year of teaching acrobatics, flow and aerial arts, clowning, public speaking, and acting. Girls will receive strength and flexibility training and learn to juggle, dance, sing, and other circus-related activities. They hope to encourage creativity, skill building and body confidence through their camps and year-round programs.

Ages 7-12 | One-week programs | $125 | Girl Circus, 2650 Adams St. | 

For information about what local community centers have to offer this summer, visit Eugene Parks and Recreation or Willamalane Park and Recreation District.