InZone summer enrichment and sports camp returns to campus

InZone campers on a digging excursionAfter the 2020 edition was moved online, Harper College’s InZone camp will be back on campus this summer.

The annual enrichment and sports camp will run from June 14 through Aug. 13 with a mix of in-person and online courses that will have young students shooting hoops, designing video games, enrolling at Hogwarts and much more.

Dozens of InZone sessions are available for kids ages 6 to 14 (with select offerings available for older teens). Unless otherwise specified, in-person courses will take place on Harper’s campus from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, including morning and afternoon sessions, lunch, and optional before and/or after care.

Online sessions can run on a slightly different schedule because they are not bound by campus logistics – something InZone staff learned last year with the all-virtual edition forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We learned that we had more flexibility with online courses,” said Kevin Hahn, Harper’s wellness and youth programming manager, who has been leading InZone for nearly 15 years. “Some worked really well online: cooking, coding and gaming-related programs. We learned what worked and what didn’t.”

InZone camper holds the cookies she madeWith a mix of on-campus and online sessions, 2021’s InZone camp can offer online options for courses that suit that method and in-person access for sessions involving athletics, 3D printing and clay sculpture sessions.

That said, there will be some differences with on-campus courses compared to previous summers, due to Harper’s safety protocols. InZone has smaller class capacity limits and is focused on one-week courses to ensure student safety and keep shared spaces to a minimum.

Instructors and campers will wear masks indoors and outside when social distancing is not possible. The camp will take place in four campus buildings instead of eight and all spaces will be cleaned between sessions. Lunch will be outdoors (weather permitting) and appropriately distanced, with participants bringing their own food. There will be no cafeteria service.

“Usually, we take over campus in the summer,” Hahn said, although he mentions that some offerings are already full. “It will be different this year but I’m excited for us to be back.”

Also new this year is the InZone Swim and Sports Camp. In the past, InZone collaborated with the Palatine Park District to offer swimming lessons that took up a portion of a typical three-hour session. To limit the number of people in one area (and because three-hour swimming sessions are impractical), students will be able to swim for half of the session time and play indoor or outdoor sports for the other half.

In addition, InZone Junior Explorers offers an option for the youngest campers, ages 6 to 8, to experience a variety of what the big kids do at camp, with hands-on activities involving science, technology, art, music and play. Hahn said a 2019 pilot program was successful, leading to the sessions being offered all nine weeks this time.

“It’s a great way for both kids and parents to get a taste of what we do at InZone,” Hahn said.

Cooking classes will remain online this summer due to kitchen renovations on Harper’s campus, but also because of the success of the remote culinary courses last year. Participants buy their own ingredients, as directed by the instructor.

Other new courses include the on-campus and online IDEAShop sessions (funded by a grant from the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association) involving engineering, programming, and robotics. Building on the popularity of 2020’s virtual InZone comedy course, Stand Up and Sketch Comedy Creation will allow students to find their funny bones in both solo and team settings, with a performance at the end of the week.

As Harper nears 30 years of summer camp programming for young learners, InZone continues to evolve. Hahn said he is equally excited about the return of in-person sessions as he is about the proven viability of online camp courses.

“We’re thrilled to be back on campus this summer,” Hahn said. “But in the future, we will still be offering some sort of online camp in addition to what happens in person.”

For information on InZone, visit harpercollege.edu/inzone or follow InZone on Instagram or Facebook. For registration questions, call the Continuing Education registration desk at 847.925.6300 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or email ce@harpercollege.edu.