Surviving Summer with Kids’, Teen College

Charles County Science Teacher of the Year for 2008

CSM Unveils New, Updated Course Offerings at March 10 Event, Open Houses

The Realms of Cascadia is a world like no other, with elves, rangers, wizards, hobbits and fantastic struggles of good versus evil. With imagination and a little help from instructors at the College of Southern Maryland’s Kids’ and Teen College, students ages 7 to 14 can journey to Cascadia this summer without traveling too far from home. The “Lord of the Rings Survivor Camp” as well as “Hunger Games Survival Camp” and “Star Wars Survival Camp” combines obstacle courses, survival first aid training, navigation tips, camouflage techniques and tracking skills training to help guide students in a week-long adventure to the end-game.

Survival camps as well as all of CSM’s popular Kids’ and Teen College programming can be previewed during the Summer Camp Fair 2014 on March 10 at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick. Kids’ and Teen College Open Houses will be held on May 17 at the La Plata Campus and as part of the “Raiders and Invaders” weekend of activities on June 7 at the Leonardtown Campus.

            “Nearly 95 percent of all course offerings this summer are new or revamped. Kids’ and Teen College is aligning its programming with the Common Core to help students become more excited about learning throughout the school year,” said Youth Course Manager Jennifer Hamilton. “Survival courses modeled after Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Chronicles of Narnia are new this year to help students to increase self-confidence, and learn basic first aid and survival skills.” 

In addition to returning favorites of robotics, computer gaming and animation, campers can learn about creating apps for mobile devises and computers, and making their own digital music videos and video games.

            In conjunction with Black Rocket Productions, LLC, Kids’ and Teen Camp attendees can learn the basics of coding languages like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS through a series of web projects and design challenges.

            For future pastry chefs, offerings for kids and teens, include “Cake Decorating Basics,” “Desserts and Pastries” and “For the Love of Chocolate.”

            Reading camps include sessions with American Girls characters exploring life in 1850s New Orleans, the 1930s and the Great Depression, and Maryland in Colonial times, for ages 7-10. Additional reading and literature camps include, “Adventures of the Magic Tree House,” “Chronicles of Narnia” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

            Last summer CSM served more than 3,700 students in the tri-county area through Kids’ and Teen College programming. Many students return year after year, including Gwyneth Luster, 10, of Waldorf, who gravitates to science and computer classes but also likes trying new things.

“I want to take more science classes, and maybe some of the design classes. I would love to take a sewing class and another cooking class. I really enjoyed the computer animation classes and the film class—I love summer at the Kid’s College,” she said.

Cameron Williams, 15, of Indian Head has been attending Kids’ and Teen College every summer since he was 8, he said.

“Once I took a housing and construction class and I learned that I like architecture. Now, I’m at North Point [High School] for drafting and plan to attend college and major in architectural engineering. If it weren’t for Kids’ College, I most likely wouldn’t be where I am today and who knows when I could have possibly discovered what I like to do most,” Williams said.

            “Unlike the rigors of a normal school day where students move from one subject to the next, CSM’s Kids’ and Teen College allows children to explore areas of interest for an extended period of time. Our instructors are energized and passionate about working with children on subjects that interest them,” said Hamilton.

            One of those instructors is 2008 Charles County Science Teacher of the Year Jason Walent who helped students explore the mechanics and engineering behind bridge building last summer. Using toothpicks and gumdrops, students worked on designing structures that were durable yet flexible.

            In addition to area elementary, middle and high school teachers, courses are also taught by CSM professors.

            CSM Mathematics Professor Stepanie McCaslin has been a Kids’ and Teen College instructor for five summers teaching LEGO math and STEM for children in grades third through fifth.

“I really enjoy working with young children during the summertime because the math methods I teach to college students during the regular school year are built upon the ideas that children generate during their elementary school years. It is energizing for me to see students engage in activities that will help them develop concepts they will use in upper level mathematics,” said McCaslin. “Children learn differently than adults do. In elementary school, children use manipulatives and kinesthetic activities to incorporate their physical world with mathematics concepts. If they are able to develop and witness these concepts at work in their own lives, the math becomes so easy.”

            “In stringent and structured classrooms, teachers don’t always have the luxury of offering topics that are outside of their curriculum and students don’t always have opportunities to linger on subjects that interest them. That’s why summer vacation is so important,” said CSM Youth Program Coordinator John Terlesky. “We try to design our summer programs so that there will be something for everyone, whether the student is interested in space, animals, computers or art, the subjects can be explored at the student’s pace.”

            For students interested in theater, new this year are two-week courses: “Explore the World of Theater,” providing instruction on acting, directing, producing and reviewing a play, and “Set, Stage, Costume Design,” for students who want to experience a theater’s backstage life including how to design the set, stage the props and transform actors through their costumes.

            New art and drawing courses include, “A Sticky Situation—Duct Tape Art,”  “Pinterest Plenty,” “Multicultural Art,” “Design Your Own Wearable Art” and “Starving Artists.”

            For teens wanting to explore various careers, the college offers opportunities to learn about human resources, cyber security, homeland security, criminal justice, nursing and firefighter careers.

            Little Kids’ College camps offer programs for children ages 5 and 6 with morning and afternoon sessions. Kids’ College camps are for children ages 7 through 10, Teen College is geared to children 11 through 14 and now Career Academy is for teens ages 14 through 17.

Registration is open and can be completed online, in person or by mail. Camps run in half-day or full-day sessions from June 16 for Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campuses and June 23 for La Plata Campus courses through Aug. 8, excluding the week of July 4. Before and after care is available. Financing is available through the CSM’s FACTS payment plan.

            To view 2014 Summer Catalog or for information on registering for camps, visit



Calvert County

CSM Summer Camp 2014 Preview. 6:30-8 p.m., March 10. Calvert County Library, 850 Costley Way, Prince Frederick. The College of Southern Maryland will preview its popular Kids’ and Teen College summer programming during the Summer Camp Fair 2014 in Calvert County.

Nearly 95 percent of all course offerings this summer are new or revamped and include arts and crafts, theater, science, computers, cooking and sports. Free. 301-934-7634.