2022 Sidwell Summer Camps Open In Person

Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan 24.

Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

Offered each June, July and August, Sidwell Summer provides an exciting opportunity for kids to engage in educational and enriching activities. The goals of the camp are to promote independence in lower and middle school students and to teach younger children valuable lessons while providing opportunities for current freshmen and sophomores to work as junior counselors.

The program offers dozens of camps where campers engage in activities ranging from sports to arts. The camps take place on both the Washington and Bethesda campuses. Throughout most of the summer, the camps repurpose classrooms and cafeterias for various activities and after-camp programs. For some campers, the program is an extension of their school year, while for others, it serves as an opportunity to explore new places and to make new friends.

The Discovery camp is divided into grade-level cohorts that travel to different classes taught or managed by instructors. In prior years, campers participated in off-campus activities, such as waterslide or pool visits. Interspersed with these classes, students are allotted several intercohort electives, where they sit for storytime or engage in a number of other activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Director of Summer Programs Elizabeth Mayer commented on the value of these day camps. “Day camp allows [students] to try all activities, and experience a variety of choices and activities throughout the summer,” she said.

Other camps include sports camps such as soccer, tennis, baseball and wrestling. In addition to providing an opportunity for athletes to continue their training outside of the school year, these programs allow younger children to play while also introducing new potential hobbies.

Some programs dive into social justice topics, introducing campers to important issues, while others focus on STEM-related education. Beyond fostering interest in science and technology, these camps teach basic skills that can be used in the classroom once school starts again in the fall.

Beyond the academic and creative effects that these programs have on children’s development, the camps provide a place for fun.

“​​At the end of the day, [I] hope folks walk away feeling like they perhaps learned something or tried something new, interacted with new peers and had a positive experience,” Mayer commented.

While Sidwell summer camps were halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff returned last summer to in-person activities under strict safety guidelines. Counselors and campers were allowed to return to both the Bethesda and Washington campuses. However, many of the activities, such as pool visits and crowded events, were canceled.

With updated masking and social distancing policies, Sidwell hopes for a more smooth summer program that will provide a much needed reprieve from both schoolwork and summertime boredom this year.

“There’s the great possibility that there could be something for everyone here at Sidwell Summer, and it’s a way to be in a safe, nurturing, caring community,” Mayer added.

Sidwell Summer also provides further opportunities for high school students looking to gain leadership experience. Teen counselors are able to learn important life lessons as well as how to facilitate the same fun that they have experienced in prior years.

“It’s a first job for some individuals, a way to gain responsibility, interpersonal skills,” Mayer explained. “If you are a Sidwell student, and you’re looking to work, it’s a way to give back to the school or serve the school in a different way.”

For both campers and counselors, Sidwell Summer is an exciting and valuable experience that builds future life skills and an interest in learning. The program’s variety of camps encourages curiosity and allows participants to make new friends and connections.

“I personally find great value in day camp. We spend a lot of time on specialized activities, whether that be on sports teams, or other various topics children are passionate about,” Mayer exclaimed.