I’m a strong believer in summer camps for children. Some of my fondest childhood memories are rooted in summer camps.

They’re all about discovery, enrichment and making new friends. Every child should get a chance to experience that.

But under the summer glare of COVID-19, camps may not be quite so experiential. Part of the discovery and forging of new friendships in summer camp is about exploring together. That’s not so easy to do in virtual camps, the alternative being offered to kids this summer.

Although dance schools are offering onsite summer camps this year, other arts-oriented camps are going online via the Zoom conferencing platform. Some places, such as Joplin Little Theatre and Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, have canceled their annual camps altogether.

Two arts groups are partnering to offer online camps. Originally, Carthage’s artCentral was planning to cancel this summer’s camps. But after learning about the virtual camps of the Neosho Arts Council, it began funneling its young patrons to those summer art experiences.

The NAC camps are scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. July 13-17. Aimed at youngsters 8 to 15 years old, there will be a new daily offering with participants allowed to sign up for as many as desired. Supply fees, the only charge, are $35 for two classes; $75 for three; $95 for four; and $100 for all of them. While Zoom allows more than one camper to gather around a computer screen for classes, each must pay individually.

The schedule:

• July 13: Welcome to Songwriting, led by Violet Vonder Haar of Violet and the Undercurrents, an indie rock band out of Columbia.

• July 14: Creating Comics with professional comic book artist Jeremy Haun of Joplin. Haun works for DC Comics.

• July 15: The Addictive Art of Zentangle, led by artist Teri Diggs of Weathered Willow Studio in Carthage.

• July 16: Acrylic Painting Adventure with Matt Myers of Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

• July 17: Wizards and Wands, led by Neosho artist Sarah Serio, president of NAC.

Deadline for registration is Saturday, and it may be completed online at www.neoshoarts.net. A free Zoom app can be downloaded from the site.

Spiva Center for the Arts is going virtual with two summer camps, one on the basics of drawing and painting and the other on mixed media art. The camps are for ages 6 to 12.

For a $100 fee, campers receive a supply box via curbside pickup. A private Facebook page will be provided for questions and to display student artwork, and lessons will be recorded for later referral by students or parents.

The first class, Back to Basics Art Camp, focusing on drawing and painting, is set for 1 to 3 p.m. daily from July 6 through July 9 and from 1 to 4 p.m. July 10.

The second class, Mixed Media Art Camp, is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. daily from July 13 through July 16 and from 1 to 4 p.m. July 17.

Both classes will be taught by local artist Sandra Conrad, a lead instructor at Spiva.

Registration may be completed by emailing Sarah Clements, Spiva education director, at sclements@spivaarts.org. After registering, participants will be emailed the dates of supply pickup and provided with a Zoom link.

Youngsters looking for dance summer camps will find plenty offered onsite through Karen’s Dance Studio and Midwest Regional Ballet Company and School. Don’t worry. There will be plenty of regular sanitizing throughout the dance studios and classes will be limited in size to allow for social distancing among dancers.

Camps at Karen’s Dance Studio, 2113 Davis Blvd., will run throughout the month of July, and they’re broken into the age groups of 4 to 7 and 8 to 11. Each class is $49.

The camps for those 4 to 7 years old may be taken at 10 to 10:45 a.m., 4 to 4:45 p.m. or 6 to 6:45 p.m. The offerings: July 6 through July 9, Princess Ballet; July 13 through July 16, Rock and Troll; July 20 through July 23, Tiny Tumbler; and July 27 through July 30, Hippity Hop.

Camps for 8- to 11-year-olds may be taken at 11 to 11:45 a.m., 5 to 5:45 p.m., or 7 to 7:45 p.m. The offerings: July 6 through July 9, Lyrical Ballet; July 13 through July 16, Jazz Beach Party; July 20 through July 23, Broadway Bound, which includes both singing and dancing; and July 27 through July 30, Dance Team Prep Camp.

Campers may register by phoning 417-623-1093.

Camps at Midwest Regional Ballet, 2101 Stephens Blvd., are scheduled in July and August, and they include two free classes.

The first session, Frozen 3 Day Camp, which includes both singing and dancing, is set for 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 18. It’s for ages 5 to 11. The cost is $80, which includes crafts and a snack.

Free classes in karate and ballet are set for Aug. 8.

A karate class for 5- to 7-year-olds is scheduled for 10 to 10:45 a.m., and for 8- to 11-year-olds from 11 to 11: 45 a.m.

A ballet class for ages 5 to 7 is set for 10 to 10:45 a.m. and for those ages 8 and 9 from 11 to 11:45 a.m. The class will be offered to 10- to 12-year-olds from noon to 12:45 p.m.

Registration for the camps may be made by phoning 417-439-9549.

Marta is an arts columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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