Wayne County Schools once again pulled off the ultimate summer day camp for kids with
cleverly woven themes striking an interest amongst both the elementary and middle school students. In
fact, the schedule was so extensive that it included two separate camps that divided the ages of the
children so the subjects would be age-appropriately custom designed for each group.
Each camp included the use of literacy skills, which is an ongoing focus at Wayne County
Schools. Students who do not read in the summer or use their academic skills are prone to experience a
summer slide backwards, so the camp is particularly valuable in keeping kids’ minds engaged.
At the extravaganza open house, the elementary and middle school kids combined efforts
where their work was showcased, along with accompanying demonstrations. It was a fun time for
families to see how enthusiastic their children were about what they had learned. The kids had fun
sharing Minecraft, paper quilling art, virtual reality, and a sock puppet theater – just to name a few of
This is the tenth year this program has been held at Wayne County Schools under the direction
of 21st Century Coordinator Katherine Kidd. Not only is the five-week camp a tremendous experience for
local students, but the after school program is also popular during the school year.
“We were over our limit on elementary with about 55 students in attendance and we were at 40
students for middle school this summer,” said Kidd. “The five day a week camp was held from 8:00 until
2:30 p.m. each day. We had a field trip every week…one for elementary and one for middle school.”
The staff are familiar with the children because 90 percent of the summer campers participate
in the after school program too. “I have about 10 percent that only attend during summer because their
after school activities keep them from attending,” explained Kidd.
The elementary camp theme for the summer was The Magic Tree House books. Kidd explained
that they chose five of these books – one for each week that they read together at camp. “At the end of
the week, the child got their very own Magic Tree House book to take home with them.”
Their first week centered around the Titanic, complete with Science experiments on sinking
versus floating. They learned about Morse code, buoyancy, and social class and inequalities between
them. “One way we discussed the differences in treatment of people back in that time was to have a
first class tea like they would have had on the Titanic and then have a third class tea like they would
have served on the Titanic,” noted Kidd.
Travelers attending the first class tea were served fruit tartlets, egg salad sandwiches, cucumber
sandwiches, lemon curd, blueberry scones, and of course tea (with cubes…one lump or two?) on fine
china. Those attending the third class tea received bread, water and a piece of cheese.
“The culminating event that week was going to the Titanic Museum. Students were given
‘tickets’ with the names of real passengers aboard the Titanic and they anxiously waited to see if they
lived,” explained Kidd.
The second week was Pirates Past Noon. “This week we did walk the plank math, tried our hand
at following a treasure map to see what awaited us at the end of the ‘X’. We had an ARRRRGH contest to see who had the best pirate voice. We made pirates to put on our wrist, as well as making eye
Students headed north for a field trip that week on Pirates of the Ohio Cruise on B & B
Riverboats in Newport, Kentucky.
Week three was titled Dingoes at Dinner Time as students studied the continent of Australia.
They made Australian food, created Aboriginal art, read some of their folk tales and traveled to
Kentucky Down Under.
During the “Civil War on Sunday” fourth week, the elementary students discussed the causes of
the war. They also learned games like marbles, jacks, and even croquet that children of that time period
would have played. They got in the kitchen and made homemade biscuits and churned butter to go with
them from that period. They traveled to the Civil War museum at Nancy, while also visiting the West
Metcalfe house and the Brown Lanier House.
The book review for week 5 was “Stallions by Starlight”. The week centered around horses and
learning more about them and the tools used to groom them and keep them healthy. That week
culminated with a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.
The middle school sixth through eighth graders also enjoyed great learning opportunities. The
first week, they teamed up in tribes to try their hand at Survivor Camp. Teachers had fun decorating for
the island theme. Students learned to work together on their teams and get along as they solved riddles
for the immunity idol, along with several challenges.
That was followed up with Escape Week where students worked in groups to escape from
different situations. They raced against the clock and each other to find clues to help them solve riddles
and the mystery. Students were also exposed to a service-learning club where they performed chores
for the school like sweeping, mopping, taking out the trash, picking up trash, and even pulling weeds
from the flower beds.
One of the most popular events was the culinary arts week where students traveled to
Lexington to the Wild Thyme Cooking School where they took lessons from professional Chef Allison
Davis. That event led to the competitive Cupcake Wars Challenge at the end of the week where students
had to modify her recipe to something unique, complete with a theme and display they built. School
Nutrition Services Supervisor Casey Holt instructed students on how to use piping kits so they could
decorate their cupcakes. They presented their creations to a panel of judges and were questioned about
Week four was called “Express Yourself” where students were encouraged to let their creativity
flow. Guest art instructors taught students how to make sock puppets, paper quilling and salt and glue
watercolor painting. They also got to try their hand with 3D pens and the cray pen. They did string art,
wood burning, and crayon melting art. They traveled to the University of Kentucky Singletary Museum of
Art and were invited to create their own art.
The final week for the middle school students was called “Production Week”. Students worked
with the green screen, virtual reality headsets, and they took their sock puppets from the week before and created scripts and made sock puppet movies. The rest of the kids joined Drama Camp and worked
on presenting the Fairy Tale Ball at the historic theater.
“It was a three-day roller coaster, but it was fun,” said Drama Coordinator Nicholas Kidd, who
had just a short time frame to pull off the play. “Besides the actors, we had a crew that made a lot of
the props…The backstage production is just as important as what the audience sees on stage. It’s a work
He also said he was especially proud of his senior cast members who have participated in the
play production for three years. His seniors were Carolyn Criswell, Riley Lewis, Amelia Ramsey and
The middle school went to Crossville to see the musical “Matilda” that was playing in the main
auditorium. It was the first time for many of the students to see a “real” play and none of them had seen
a musical before. They loved the play and took in everything from the orchestra pit to the catwalk.
The camp broadened the students’ worlds and enriched their experiences. Hopefully, this highly
successful program will continue to be funded in the future. Kidd will know this March if the federal
grant will once again be offered to the local school district. One thing for sure is - it has been a terrific
perk in local students’ education.
(L-R) Caroline Criswell, Camp Leader Ben Rose, and Camp Leader Emily Keith checking all the projects made by campers
(L-R) Myra Harris and Evan Sullivan introduce their family members to Minecraft
Owen Harris and Grandmother Ellen McKinley check out Minecraft
Nathan Coffey and his parents, Bobbie and Jamie Coffey, get refreshments after touring the Open House
(L-R) Amanda Phillips and son Clark Phillips enjoy the Open House
Salt and glue water color art made by Middle School students
Middle School paper quilling art
Simon Gregory and his mom check out the VR goggles
(L-R) Campers Kaiden and Amelia Ramsey at Open House with parents Mary and Brandon Ramsey
(L-R) Grandparents Mack Hurd and Glenette Hurd with granddaughter Braylee Kirtley
Students created sock puppets for week 5 of the camp