Summer Programs

What’s Your Summer Plan?

Vermont offers dozens of different programs around the state –– no matter what you are into, Vermont has something fun for you to do during your summer break. With a little planning and organization, you’re bound to have the best summer yet.

One great option is the Kids Culinary Camp in South Hero, but there are countless programs around the state that cater to specific interests. 

Hidden close to the Canadian border, the Kids Culinary Camp is a haven of cuisine, science and friendly people.

For those aspiring chefs and restauranteurs and also for those who just want to learn a thing or two about the culinary world, the Kids Culinary Academy is for you. With a farm of 80 chickens, cows, a pig and piglets, lama, and 2 alpacas, and a aquaponic garden that uses no pesticides or chemicals, students not only learn about the art of cooking but also learn the sciences of growing your own food.

The camp is owned by Chef Kelly Dietrich, (Chef/Owner of Souza’s Churrascaria in Burlington).

Madison Fischuck of Vermont was granted a scholarship to the program “I want to be a chef and I heard that the Chef was offering free scholarships on the news so I applied,” she said.

Other campers are from around the country, from Georgia, VT to Georgia, USA.

Students learn everything from knife skills to kitchen ethics and healthy eating habits plus they get to meet an amazing community of people.

Campers will meet most of Chef Dietrich’s family, who participate in different aspects of the camp.

While campers gain a true learning experience during the stay at the camp, they are also there to enjoy their summer breaks.

“But this is supposed to be fun, right?” Chef Dietrich askes campers as he drops the whisk he is using to drizzle icing on fresh baked danishes and dips his fingers into the icing, inviting campers to do the same.

While students finish their morning cooking, counselors prepare a fresh and healthy lunch for some relaxation before they head out for activities.

In addition to morning cooking, students go on day trips to Vermont destinations like the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory (Burlington) and the Ben and Jerry’s Factory (Waterbury).

Students demonstrate passion their through their knowledge of food and cooking.

“One wrong ingredient and the chocolate is ruined,” said a camper as she finished kneading her bread.

Though students are welcome to eat as much of the food they prepare as they want, there is always a lot of leftovers, but nothing goes to waste –– leftovers often find their way to neighbors.

“There are a lot of happy people in this town,” the chef’s wife, who also works at the camp, said. 

Campers also learn the basics of composting in order to prevent waste.

Outside the house where all the campers stay is a farm area where vegetables are grown and the animals are housed. Chef Dietrich’s brother is out there making sure everything is running smoothly.

“It’s a lot of work, but we love to do it,” he said.

Other fun summer programs include:

Governor’s Institute of Vermont on Arts
The Governor’s Institute on the Arts was founded about 25 years ago to allow Vermont students to explore and enhance their talents in the arts. This summer program, which is held at Castleton State College, encourages students to challenge themselves within areas of visual and performing arts while surround students with professional artists. Around 130 students enroll each summer from every high school around the state. Students must apply and the program costs $950, however, scholarships and financial aid are available. Art not your thing? The Governor’s Institute also offers programs around the state in a variety of subject areas ranging from Asian Studies to Information Technology.

Camp Betsey Cox
Camp Betsey Cox is a traditional all-girls overnight camp that offers about 20 activities options each day. Campers are encouraged to be independent and select the programs that they participate in on a daily basis. Activities range from arts and crafts, aquatics, sports, and gardening. Campers are allowed to embrace their interests. Depending on your length of stay, costs range from $1700 to $6800, though scholarships are offered on an as need basis. The Betsey Cox girl is “someone who wanders around barefoot, is into every activity, I’m a school teacher and these girls seem very smart and self motivated.”

Vermont Adventure Camps
Love the great outdoors but never have time to explore it while you’re in school? Vermont Adventure Camps offers 12-day programs for students ages 15-17 in Windsor County. Campers spend a week and a half in nature going on hikes, canoeing, learning about the sciences and enhancing their photography skills. The program costs $1450, however students learn a variety of skills and get to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. 

Camps not your thing?

Try volunteering. Contact your local firehouse, library, soup kitchen, hospital, prison, animal shelter, senior center, state park, or nonprofit organization to plan out you own summer of volunteering and learning.

Volunteer work is rewarding and leads to endless opportunities. Whether you’re interested in protecting the environment or just want to learn about the Dewey decimal system, there is volunteer opportunity for you –– if don’t know what’s in your area, the Yellow Pages are a great place to start.

Summer Planning Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute! It doesn’t matter if you’re participating in a summer program, volunteering at a local organization or finding a summer job, planning should begin around February! Spaces and jobs fill up fast and you don’t want to have to juggle final exams with planning your summer in May.