Summer camp guide 2020

Friday, February 21, 2020, Vol. 44, No. 8

Camps provide children and teens a chance to connect with nature, participate in team-based activities and develop relationships. From academics to athletics, there is a camp for everyone at every age, with any interest. Here are just a few.


Adventure Science Museum

The ScienceQuest Camp at Adventure Science Center provides a wide range of science enrichment programs in grades K-6, with special programs for rising 7th-twelfth graders. Programs combine science, technology, engineering and math in ways that encourage children to actively discover and examine concepts for themselves. This summer the center has partnered with Harpeth Hall and Montgomery Bell Academy for a variety of off-site programs, like Mini Pet Vets and STEM Heroes.

Battleground Academy Summer Camps

There are options for every interest, from basketball and football, to academics and gaming – one week at a time or all summer. Some themes this year for the enrichment camps include American Girl, Apple Technologies and Battle Bots.

Belle Meade Plantation Camp

Get the children outside and immersed in history with Time Travel Camp, an interactive trip through the past 200 years, discovering the resourcefulness of frontier years, the richness of Native American culture and the struggle of the Civil War. Campers are divided by grade level for age-appropriate games, crafts and activities. Other themes include a camp for book worms and STEAM into History.

Belmont University Summer Camps

Children get a collegiate experience with enrichment classes for students K-12. Camps at the school include athletics, music, health, pharmacy and law. This summer’s options include a health academy, athletics, music and bug camp.

Camp St. Cecilia

This program is designed to give girls ages 4-17 the opportunity to have summer fun while remaining immersed in learning. The campers will be able to experience St. Cecilia Academy’s academics, athletics and fine arts programs while interacting with faculty, students, coaches, alumnae and parents.

Duke TIP

Accepted campers spend a week collaborating with their teammates as well as students from other research teams to solve a hypothetical crisis inspired by real-world headlines. This approach gives students the chance to learn about a wide range of disciplines in a fun and exciting classroom/laboratory environment. A three-week residential program is offered for students in grades 7-10 at 13 campuses across the country.

Engineering for Kids

With sessions located all over the area, including at Harpeth Valley Elementary, Scarritt Bennett Center, Sky Zone, Harding Academy and Battleground Academy, children can learn how to design a video racing game or create 3D print super heroes.

Historic Travellers Rest Plantation

Travellers Rest Plantation camps offer opportunities for children to enjoy a summer of frontier heroes and creepy critters while experiencing hands-on activities at Nashville’s oldest historic house. Upcoming themes include the Tennessee Tales and Legends, Stitching History and Archaeology Camp.

Lancaster Christian Academy camps

For kindergarten through sixth grade. Campers can participate in a wide range of options, including art, cheer, music, football, drama, dance, soccer, cheer, hockey, swimming, gaming, cooking, science and cosmetology, with two field trips each week.

Math in Motion

Campers engage in puzzles, games and explorations, both individually and in groups, at this math camp. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other as they brainstorm ideas and solve problems to achieve common goals. The goal is building campers’ self-esteem and allowing them to see that math is more than numbers and is about creative solutions to real life experiences.

Mr. Bond’s Science Guys Day Camp

With multiple locations across Middle Tennessee and more than 20 years of experience, children ages 5-12 can indulge their love of science in a totally fun way by choosing from themes like Engineering Camp, Cirque Du Science and Superhero Science Camp.

Nashville Pilot Camp

Specially designed for ages 13-18, Nashville Pilot Camp offers the opportunity to find out what it really takes to learn to fly. Students will learn through hands-on participation at Nashville Flight Training, discovering the aviation experience, including the disciplines of aviation through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while meeting like-minded aviation enthusiasts their own age.

Tennessee State University Biotechnology camp

Children preparing for grades 6-9 can learn the basic techniques and tools used in biotechnology, DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, genotyping, restriction digestion and DNA fingerprinting at this camp.

USN Summer Camps

University School Nashville offers a full range of camps for children in grades K-12, including sports, academics, arts and technology. Each camp session lasts for one week, and USN offers half-day programs and some full-day programs.

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory Space Summer Camp

At Dyer Observatory rising fifth-eighth grade campers learn how scientists discover the secrets of the universe, from black holes to the nature of light, with a camp curriculum created by an expert team of astronomy professors, space scientists and area science teachers. There is even a trip to the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth

Accelerated academic classes for gifted students K-12 encourage problem-solving, compassion and independent thinking. Classes teach children everything from erosion to journalism, debate to chemistry and bioengineering to coding.


Ann Carroll School of Dance

A variety of performing arts camps for children ages 2-18 includes tap, hip-hop, musical theater, tumbling, acting, dance and vocal performance.

Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt

A variety of options are available for young musicians, and in some instances for the whole family, including the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute for grades 8-12.

Camp Rock Zone

Located in Mt. Juliet, Camp Rock Zone offers activities around music, art, gaming and building, with field trips to the Adventure Science Museum and Chuck E. Cheese. For children age 7-11.

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens Camp

Children ages 4-15 can explore the gardens, make masterpieces, with those choosing the full-day option able to dive deep into either painting or drawing and illustration.

Country Music Hall of Fame Songwriting Camp

Aspiring songwriters can experience what it is like to be a professional while learning how to hone their craft. Workshops include one-on-one mentoring sessions, instrument instruction, performance coaching and a showcase for their original works. They will even get to participate in a group recording session at Historic RCA Studio B on Music Row.

Expression City Arts and Fitness

Children can take crash courses ranging from circus and improv to art, dance, aerial skills, juggling, hooping and artistic professional development. This summer they will be doing a production of Moana Jr. in addition to circus camp.

Elite Dance, Music and Art camp

Sign up for one of the Summer performing arts camps in Nolensville for children of all ages – including pre-K – that includes hip-hop, jazz, tap, piano, ballet, pointe, voice, theater and even yoga.

Frist Center for Visual Arts

Camps returned last year after the recent renovation of the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.

Hendersonville Performing Arts Company

This year includes camps for two age groups – the junior camp for students in grades 2-6 performing Moana Jr., and children in grades 7-12 performing Urinetown.

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center

Children can immerse themselves in all things artistic, with camp options such as Performance Art, a beginner’s course for any child with an interest in combining movement with voice in inventive ways using basic acting techniques, simple rhythms and choreographed motion.

Sarratt Youth Art Institute at Vanderbilt

With two different sessions for grades 2-6 and grades 7-10, children will embrace this year’s theme of “A Wonderful World of Art.” The younger group will use clay, metals, fibers, paint, photography, paper and other materials to create their own versions of art that are based on traditions and influences that have been passed down for years. Older children will focus on glass, pottery or jewelry.

School of Nashville Ballet

No audition necessary for the Junior Intensive (Ages 9-13). School of Nashville Ballet students must have completed Academy Level 2 or have received special invitation for participation after completing Academy Level 1. Outside students must have 2+ years of ballet training for the series of ballet, pre-pointe, repertory, pantomime, jazz, character and other specialized workshops.

Southern Girls Rock Camp

Southern Girls Rock Camp is for girls and gender-nonconforming youth ages 10-17 put on by YEAH! SGRC’s mission is to support a culture of positive self-esteem and collaboration among youth while building community through music. SGRC recognizes the potential of every young person to be a strong, talented, creative and empowered individual while providing a safe space where all children rock.

Watkins College of Art, Design and Film

Young people learn to think and follow through on an idea, to accept and integrate feedback, and to see the world through more innovative and richer lenses – all while learning, growing and creating.


Climb Nashville

Children ages 6-12 will get instruction from expert climbing staff along with team-building activities, games and objectives that encourage children to make friendships, gain confidence and participate in a challenging physical activity. Two groups by age are available, Rockhoppers for ages 6-9, Cliffhangers for ages 10-12.

Goodpasture Christian School

The summer program includes tons of sport-focused options, including basketball, baseball, football, cheer, volleyball, speed and strength, softball, soccer and even yoga.

Nashville Sail Camp

With options at Old Hickory and Percy Priest Lakes, Leadership Academy’s Nashville Sail Camp is for all levels of experience from beginner to advanced. Qualified instructors will teach boating safety, points of sail, boat parts, rigging and basic maneuvering during the weeklong camp.

Nashville Sailing Foundation Youth camp

The Youth Sailing Program is intended for children 7-17 and is structured with an eye introducing young people to sailing, racing, advanced knowledge of small boat handling and skills in a safe, fun environment. Teachers are required to complete a U.S. Sailing counselor training course. Hosted by the Harbor Island Yacht Club.

Nashville Youth Soccer Association

A division of the Heartland Soccer Club, this recreational soccer league is for players age 3-18 with skill levels that range from novice to extremely experienced players from rec leagues. There are no tryouts and children are accepted regardless of whether they’ve played soccer before or not.

Nashville Predators Hockey School

The annual camp gets children on the ice. Boys and girls can learn more about the game of hockey, log quality ice time and receive instruction from qualified and professional staff alongside the Preds Youth Hockey Development team, players, prospects, alumni and/or coaches. Participants are grouped by ability.

Scott Hamilton Camps and Clinics

Located at Ford Ice Center, Hamilton offers a variety of specialty skills sports camps and classes, as well as a variety of freestyle ice options, available throughout the summer.


Creekside Riding Stables Camp

Horse lovers will appreciate the focus on safety, proper technique, grooming, care and tacking, while campers engage in everything from trail riding, lessons, reading a horse’s personality and even making treats for the animals.

Gait Keeper Farm Camp

Campers will spend their day along 88 acres in the bend of the Harpeth River, riding and learning about horses and ponies, and ride up to twice daily. Other activities include learning about daily care, the anatomy of the horse, breeds, colors, and demonstrations from professionals, horsemanship and more.

Peachtree Farms Horseback Camp

Peachtree Farms offers horse riding camps designed to improve all aspects of horsemanship for riders of all ages – sportsmanlike conduct and a spirit of cooperation, patience and kindness. Riders are encouraged to become a partner with their mount. Day camps are scheduled Monday through Friday each week of the summer.


Camps at Currey Ingram

There are two camp options at Currey-Ingram, including the ADHD Summer Treatment program, a six-week summer program designed like day camp with academic time, outdoor play and social skills work. The other Camp Beech Creek filled with nature exploration.

Camp Davis at Gordon Jewish Community Center

At the GJCC Camp Davis children are encouraged to try new things, get dirty and form memories and friendships that last forever. Camp is filled with sports, art, music, nature and leadership opportunities.

Camp at Franklin Road Academy

With camps for grades Pre-K-8, FRA offers ample opportunities for enrichment and fun with sports camp, a full-day option or an academic experience with the goal to deliver a positive and seamless experience for campers and their families.

Montgomery Bell Academy

MBA offers a wide variety of camps, classes, and special programs throughout the year. These programs are open to MBA students, as well as the community at large including sports options, academic prep, enrichment camp, drivers ed and summer sports leagues.

Camp St. Bernard

The summer program at St. Bernard, Summer Play Days, helps enrich students’ knowledge and further enhance their SBA experience through themes, visitors, art projects, games, water days, and additional weekly camps.

Camps at St. Paul Christian Academy

St. Paul offers camps to children ages 4 and older, with offerings that range from reading and writing to cardboard construction and young Jedi training. Camps begin June 8 and run through July 17.

Leadership Academy

Youth day camp options include Camp Warner Park nature camp, GROW Enrichment Camp, Camp Bells Bend Beaman adventure day camp, Nashville Sail camp, Teen Leadership Adventure and Mountain Bike Camp with STEM focus for children ages 6-17.

Deer Run Camps and Retreats

Deer Run is a nonprofit Christian ministry providing day, adventure and overnight summer camps, family camp, year-round retreat and meeting facilities and team building through the high and low ropes course experiences. Family events help parents and children connect on a deeper level. Day and overnight options available.

Barefoot Republic Camp and Retreat Center

Camp at Barefoot focuses on Christ-centered relationships between individuals from diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds through an equally diverse platform of artistic, athletic and team-building programs. Day and overnight options available.

Harpeth Hall Girls Summer Camps

Offering summer camp for more than 700 girls, campers can sign up to learn tennis, yoga, catch bugs, play basketball, string a violin or gemstones. The school offers the same excellence in teaching, leadership and coaching that is found throughout the year.

Nashville Christian School

This summer NCS is offering a wide range of camps for children, including traditional day, specialized sports and academic and fine art-based offerings. Improve on skills or learn a whole new set, with 2020 offerings listed soon.

Middle Tennessee YMCA

Locations all across Middle Tennessee are offering a full slate of summer camp activities from Summer Adventure and Camp Widjiwagan that promote youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. There is also Camp Little Y for younger campers just learning to make new friends.

Ezell-Harding Christian School Camp

Offering weekly day camp, academic and sport options for students of all ages, from volleyball and cheer to basketball, art and soccer. Looking for something a little different? Try cooking or learning to be a showman.


Tennessee 4-H Camps

Tennessee 4-H operates four 4-H Centers located throughout the state which all offer an extensive summer camping program for young people in fourth through 12th grades, as well as camping programs during the school year to accommodate school groups. Information: Local 4-H camps,

Camp Idyllwild

For children age 5-13, this nature-based camp provides a special experience playing in the creek, climbing trees and playing with critters through a balanced mix of indoor and outdoor activities.

Camp Warner Park

One of Leadership Academy’s programs, Camp Warner Park has a mission of connecting children to nature, children will splash in creeks, meet local wildlife and get an appreciation for the great outdoors. The camp day is unstructured by design so children age 6-16 will have a better opportunity to interact with each other and the environment.

The Food Initiative Summer Program

For high school students in grades 9-11 in the Clarksville area, the youth work hard in the sustainable garden and the community at hunger relief organizations for four weeks. Each youth is sponsored by a business so he or she may receive a stipend for their hard work. Diversity is critical to the unique culture at camp. Teenagers are selected from a variety of economic, ethnic, religious and social backgrounds.

Lucky Ladd Farms

The annual farm camp allows ages 5-10 to explore the wonder and magic of Lucky Ladd Farms including working with animals, going on pony rides, gardening, playing games, participating in arts and crafts, archery, water play, wilderness exploration, gardening and more.

Gentry’s Farm

Each summer the day camp for children in grades 1-6 gets them outdoors and participating in games, crafts, activities and more, all on the farm. Children and grouped by age, junior camp for grades 1 and 2, senior camp for older students.

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Children can go on a true outdoor adventure, splashing around in a mountain stream, climbing ridges to an unbelievable view, or choosing from a variety of activities to discover nature through hands-on explorations, day hikes and crafts all in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

Hickory Hill Farm

Now in its fifth year, the outdoor camp for children age 7-13, offers a visit to the Slip n’ Slide each day and a variety of activities throughout the week such as team-building games, a community service project, a Reading with Rescues program and more. A counselor in training program is available for students age 14 and older.

Nashville Zoo

With 10 weeks of programming, children age 4-18 can participate in camp for all types and interests. Younger children will love the Dr. Doolittle half-day camp, while older teenagers can immerse themselves in a three-day veterinary camp. The Zooper Heroes camp is specifically designed for children with special needs.

Whippoorwill Farm Day Camp

Children have the opportunity to enjoy nature to the fullest, splashing in creeks, climbing trees, playing in the dirt and getting up close and personal with animals – and each other. A big part of the process for campers is free choice so they are encouraged to sign up for activities that truly interest them, like pottery, camp newspaper, archery or kayaking.