If you walked onto the TCS campus during the summer you would not see dark hallways and empty classrooms, you would see elementary aged children in the cafeteria coloring or journaling. You would see kids on the playground swinging on the monkey bars or playing soccer on the field. If you walked into building four you would see middle schoolers engaged in improv, engineering activities, music, and more. Our elementary and middle school Summer Quest camps keep our campers busy all summer!

This year Aiyana Wilkinson and Amy Arnold ran Little Explorers Summer Quest for 8 weeks. Stephen Van Ness coordinated the Middle School Enrichment Summer Quest for 6 weeks, along with help from faculty and staff: Mrs. Colonnello, Mr. Covington, Mrs. Dagnall, Mr. and Mrs. Hubler, Mrs. Janho, Mrs. Leahy, Mrs. Martinez and Miss Mckay who created activities for the campers each in their area of expertise. He also recruited outside help from Karina Kocanowski, Gwen Nieves, and his wife Julia Van Ness.

In the elementary camp there were a total of 76 kids signed up with an average of 30 per week. This is a record high of campers in recent years. The theme of the camp this year was Rainforest Adventure. Each week the campers learned about a new Rainforest animal. They made crafts, went on field trips and also did STEM activities each week, such as making playdough, building “tiger cages,” and creating oil and water sensory bottles.

A great camp always needs great camp counselors. This year’s elementary counselors were Victoria Vega, Paula Baskiewicz, Justin Griguoli, Jacob Dyer, Aaron George, and Julia McInerney, with help as well from Gavin Walker, Alexa Salas, and Michaela Fajardo. Elementary Director Miss Wilkinson said, “I worked with some amazing counselors this year! You can just tell that they love being with the kids and getting to interact with them!”

Many parents shared that their children loved being at the camp and did not want to go home! One parent Mrs. George said, “It’s been very nice for my child, he totally loved it. Every day when he came back, he would say ‘This is the best day of my life!’.”

This year we launched our Middle School Enrichment Summer Quest camp! They had 22 campers in attendance overall. They did a variety of activities tailored to their interests such as, cooking, juggling, history, music, and Bible, just to name a few. Each day they would also have PE time where they learned and played a different game. Towards the end of the summer a Gaga Pit was installed, which quickly became a new favorite activity!

Each week the middle school camp had a different theme. One week the campers learned all about rocketry and aviation. They built rockets and had a launch day to watch them fly up into the air. At the end of the week, they went on a field trip to Central Jersey Airport 47N and were able to tour the facility, see a plane land, and even sit in the cockpit of an airplane! Another week they learned all about codes and puzzles and Mr. Van Ness set up an escape room at school. At the end of the week, they went on a field trip to an in-person escape room at Amazing Escape Room Edison to try out their new knowledge!

There were various STEM experiments and hands on projects that took place throughout the summer. One highlight was when the campers created their very own roller coasters. They brought the project to life by using unique themes, colors, and even music to make the roller coaster their own! For their field trip that week they went to Six Flags and rode real life roller coasters!

It has been an exciting summer for both of our TCS Summer Quest camps. We’re looking forward to next year as we continue to build and expand the programs!