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Mote launches new kids camp themes for summer

As the first week of camp starts, Mote's education department dives into a summer of fresh takes on learning.

Campers Xander Francois, Brooke Turner and Nicky Korenek find sea urchins while dip netting.
Campers Xander Francois, Brooke Turner and Nicky Korenek find sea urchins while dip netting.
Photo by Petra Rivera
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After redesigning its camp program last year, the education department of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is starting this summer camp season fresh by introducing new themes for their incoming campers.

After cultivating these themes with her team all year, Education Programs Coordinator Madison Royer is ready to take on another successful summer from June 3 to Aug. 9.

Instructor Shannon Powers holds a sea urchin for camper Isabella Ford.
Photo by Petra Rivera

Children can sign up for a morning, afternoon or full-day camp for the week. Each camp includes a water day or multiple for a hands-on experience. Last year, parents signed up their children for multiple weeks in a row for the chance to try different camps since they switch up each week. 

For the “Tidal Tykes” age group from 5 to 7 years old, one of the new themes they are offering is Tales of Tails: Marine Mammals. This camp will teach the children about a new marine mammal every day. In the “Aqua Kids” age group of 8- to 10-year-old children, the new camp Wildlife Warriors: Animal Rescue will inform the children about the different animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts at Mote. 

For the “Sea Sleuths” age group of 11- to 13-year-olds, Sustainable Fisheries: Fish for the Future will explore how to support a healthy fish population by maintaining a balance between fishing and conservation. Royer said that she is looking forward the most to this camp because the department will teach the children how to make their own fly for fly fishing. 

After launching day camps this year, Mote summer camps have been able to attract a whole different demographic of children. 

The single-day camps allowed children on vacation to attend and spread Mote’s mission to tourists in a more personal way. Many local children were also able to use the day camps as a test run to see if they wanted to sign up for the longer summer camps.

Camper Brooke Turner collects different sea animals while dip netting in Sarasota Bay.
Photo by Petra Rivera

With the new Mote campus in progress in Sarasota, the education department is looking forward to taking advantage of new possibilities for summer camps. Royer said they will continue to offer their adventure-based camps on City Island to keep the integrity of the classic camps with different water activities in Sarasota Bay. Over at the new Mote Science Education Aquarium, they will focus more on the education side with STEM-based camps that will provide more hands-on laboratory experience about Mote research.  

“Our goal is to make sure that campers leave happy always, but also with knowledge of our research and everything that Mote does for our community and our world,” said Royer. “I'm most excited to see how some of these new themes play out. Also just seeing how much the campers learn and grow through their time with us.”

After finishing their training for the summer, Royer and her team are anxious for the children to come and excited to see Mote’s mission in action through their education programs. 



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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