Lilly Astrow

Even though it’s just barely warm enough to feel like summer is on its way, this year we at the Weekly decided to present our guide to South Side summer camps in the spring, so that students and their families can begin planning out their not-so-dog-days well before school lets out. This guide features nearly thirty camps, youth programs, and internships for South Side kids to explore the best Chicago has to offer them—Afrofuturist dance therapy, robotics from scratch, community gardening in Pilsen, and everything in between. Adults, don’t fear: there’s something (one thing) for you in here as well.

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Art Summer Camp @ Olín Studio

Olín Studio Chicago, 1957 W. 23rd St. July 5August 3, MondayFriday, 9am3pm. Ages 712. $550 for the full duration; weekly rates available upon request. Register before April 31 for $30 off. (312) 874-3170.

Send your young one to a “culturally rich summer experience” at Olín Studio in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood, offering lessons in different visual arts, Mexican folk dances, music, mindfulness, and more. (Sam Stecklow)

The Revival Summer Camps

The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. Week-long camps, June 18–August 17. Monday–Friday, 9am–3pm. Ages 6–12. $300. (Financial assistance available; email for information.)

The Revival, the two-year-old comedy club in Hyde Park, is offering week-long camps all summer. Attendees will participate in improv and music–related activities at The Revival’s theater, the nearby church, and neighborhood parks. Each week will culminate in a Friday performance in front of friends and family; for shyer campers, participation is “encouraged but not mandatory.” (Christian Belanger)

ASM Newsroom @ Urban Prep Academy-Englewood

Urban Prep Academy, 6201 S. Stewart Ave. June 25–August 2. MondayThursday, 10am – 2pm. Teens ages 14+. Free and paid. (312) 742-4182. Apply on (no deadline; applicants accepted on rolling basis)

After School Matters is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing teens with opportunities in the arts. The ASM Newsroom is a great opportunity for teens to get hands-on journalism experience and to explore how the media works within their own communities. Teens will explore their interest in media through photography, writing, and journalism. Teens will create a weblog as a final project and will receive a stipend. (Roderick Sawyer)

Community Actors: Perform, Engage, Lead

University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. June 25August 2. MondayThursday, 10am2pm. Free. Ages 14+. Stipend available upon completion. (312) 742-4182. Apply on

The Community Actors Apprenticeship is a six-week program training teens to be impactful and engaged actors on stage and in society. Besides honing their theatrical chops, participants will also get the chance to think more deeply about social justice issues and about the ways they themselves might make a positive difference through art and activism. At the apprenticeship’s end, teens will present a short play or a collection of scenes that have to do with issues in their own communities. Stipends will be available to those who complete the program. (Michael Wasney)

Design Apprenticeship Program

University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday, 9am-1pm. Teens ages 14+. (773) 834-0224. Apply on

Teens will work in teams at UChicago Arts + Public Life in Washington Park’s Garfield Boulevard corridor to develop their carpentry, landscaping, and design skills. They will participate in the creation of a community-based design project that responds to a local need by building their project in the space’s woodshop using tools and assisting other community-oriented projects as well. (Rachel Kim)

Hyde Park Art Center’s Creativity Camp

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. One and two-week sessions from June 11–August 31. Monday–Friday, 9am–3pm. Group A: PreK-1, Group B: grades 2-3, Group C: grades 4-5, and Special Topics Camps: ages 10 & up. $355-$710/session, early registration and member discounts available. (773) 324-5520.

Creativity camp gives kids the chance to work with professional artists to develop their imagination and creativity, focus on their creative process, explore different themes and mediums, but mostly importantly, to have fun creating art! Campers will have a chance to work hands-on with provided materials and collaborate with other young campers! There are options for camps in the following categories: Visual Arts, Performance Arts, & Special Topics in Art. Register today! (Roderick Sawyer)

Intonation’s Rock-n-Pop Summer Camps

Robert Taylor Park, 39 W .47th St. Grades 3–5, June­­ 25–July 6 or July 9–July 20; Grades 4–7, July 23–August 3; Grades 6–8, August 6–August 17. Registration available until start date, $25 refundable registration fee. (312) 469-0554.

Send your child and teen to Intonation’s Rock-n-Pop Summer Camps to let them flex their inner rock star. Intonation, which offers a series of intensive two-week-long summer sessions for children in third through eighth grade, gives participants in its programs the opportunity to learn how to play music by picking up the instruments themselves. At the end of each camp, participants will have had the opportunity to form their own band, prepare a song, and perform it for the community—three ingredients key for a fun summer, and maybe even for future of fame and stardom as well. Registration is now available on Intonation’s website. (Michael Wasney)

KLEO Performing Arts and Music Production

KLEO Community Family Life Center, 119 E Garfield Blvd. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday 10am–2pm. Ages 13–18. Free. (773) 363-6941. Apply at or visit

Washington Park’s community-focused KLEO Center will become a hub for teen creativity once this program kicks off. Whether they take to the stage, the catwalk, or the mixing board, participants will gain firsthand experience with producing theatre and live shows. Opportunities for collaboration and live showcases only sweeten the deal. (Christopher Good)

Praize Productions Performing Arts Summer Camp

Congregational Church of Park Manor, 7000 S. King Dr. July 2July 27, MondayFriday, 8:30am3:30pm. Ages 416. $300 with a $50 registration fee. Before and after-care services available for $5 per day or a $125 flat rate. Discounts for families enrolling multiple children. Breakfast and lunch provided. (312) 775-2046.

Students enroll in intensive courses in dance, and an elective course, in this professionally-taught performing arts camp. The summer will culminate in a showcase of students’ acquired skills for friends and family. (Sam Stecklow)

StoryArts Summer Camp

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. June 25–July 20. Monday–Friday, 9am–3pm. Ages 11-14. $50 materials fee, scholarships available upon request. Lunch and snacks provided. Apply at

StoryArts Summer Camp is an affordable, full-day summer camp for Mid-South Side middle school students who will be able to work with Chicago-based teaching artists to create films and spoken word poetry and dabble in music production. Students will be able to experience the processes behind making a video, cinepoem, zines, paintings, and comics (Rachel Kim)

Oh Art Camp

Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. August 13–17. Monday–Friday, full day 9am–3pm, half day 9am–12pm. Grades 1–6. $400 full day; $250 half day. Supplies provided. Bring lunch. (773) 569- 8582.

Held in the Zhou B Art Center and in its adjoining private garden, this camp introduces students to a variety artistic mediums including drawing, painting, and ceramics, through both individual and group projects. (Rachel Schastok)

After School Matters Youth Radio

Gallery37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph St. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm. Free; stipends provided to eligible participants. Ages 14+. (312) 742-4182. Apply on

This camp offers students interested in radio or storytelling the opportunity to create their own radio shows and podcasts from start to finish, including the processes of writing, producing, editing, and broadcasting. (Rachel Schastok)

Young Chicago Authors Write to the City

UIC School of Art & Art History, 400 S. Peoria St. July 23–27. $200. (773) 486-4331.

A group of more than 100 young poets, artists, and activists will take field trips to a wide variety arts and culture institutions across Chicago. They’ll also build up their body of work through a series of workshops led by poets and artists. (Rachel Schastok)


Red Clay Dance Youth Ensemble

Dyett Academic Center, 555 E. 51st St. June 25August 2. MondayThursday, 10am–2pm. Application required. Ages 14–18.(773) 624-8411.

If you have the passion and drive to pursue dance as a career, apply to Red Clay Dance Youth Ensemble. Receive professional training in afro-contemporary and learn various strength and conditioning techniques. Perform locally and work with top choreographers in the industry. Intermediate and advance dancers should apply. (Maple Joy)

Forward Momentum Summer Camp

Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513 W. 72nd St. June 25–August 3, 9am–4pm. Girls ages 5-14. $125 non-refundable registration fee. Lunch and dance uniforms provided. (312) 425-3875.

Calling all dancers interested in learning everything from Ballet to Hip-Hop! Over the course of six weeks, dancers of all skill levels will join the talented instructors at Forward Momentum for a summer of dancing, performances, and fun weekly field trips around Chicago. Campers will showcase all of their hard work at an end-of-summer camp performance for family and friends. (Amy Qin)

Release! AfroFuturism Dance Therapy

Hirsch High School, 774 S. Ingleside Ave. June 25–August 2. Monday-Thursday, 1pm-5pm. Ages 14+. Apply on

Join this dance therapy class in Avalon Park that promises to “create your own language through dance.” Combining the practices of hip-hop, modern, lyrical, and jazz dance, Release! AfroFuturism Dance Therapy will allow students to “dance their ideas into existence.” (Rachel Kim)

South Shore International Dance and Performing Arts Program

South Shore College Preparatory High School, 1955 E. 75th St. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm. Free. Ages 14+. Stipend available upon completion. New applicants will be placed on a waitlist. (312) 742-4182.

Teens will take to the stage during this six week dance and performing art apprenticeship. Participants will get to try everything from ballet and hip hop dancing to performing scenes and delivering speeches. Teens can apply regardless of experience level—the apprenticeship is ready to accommodate those who’ve had years of dancing experience or as well as those who’ve never busted a move in their life. Over the entirety of six-week apprenticeship, teens will be working towards a final showcase, which they’ll perform in at the end of the program. Stipends will be available to those who complete the program. (Michael Wasney)


Pilsen Urban Garden Project: Art of Community

Mariposas Garden, 1833 S. Carpenter St. June 25–August 4. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9:30am–1:30pm; Wednesday 4pm–8pm. Stipends available. SSN not required for application. Ages 14+. Must be enrolled in high school. Apply on (312) 226-7767.

Art and gardening go hand in hand. That’s the leading conviction behind this summer program for high schoolers run by the Pilsen-based arts education studio ElevArte. Four days a week, students will learn how to grow, compost, build, and curate. To round out the 6-week program, students will invite family and friends for performances, exhibitions, and a presentation of the work they’ve done in the garden. (Emeline Posner)


Free Spirit Media Flash Forward Internship

Nichols Tower, 906 S. Homan Ave. Floor 5. Sessions run June 26August 11. Ages 1624. Paid $10.25/hr. Applications due April 30 at 5pm. (312) 444-0562.

Free Spirit media is providing paid internships, fellowships, and assistant positions to young adults this summer through their program Flash Forward. Students will have the chance to participate in film production, audio casting, work with casting agencies & local news stations, and much more. Did we mention that the three positions all come with a stipend? Apply today! (Roderick Sawyer)


The Dusable Museum Docents of the Future

Dusable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm. Teens ages 14-22. Free. (773) 947-0600. Apply on

This program offers teens the chance to learn all about African American History at the Dusable Museum this summer. Through exploring the museums archives and exhibits, participants will gain important writing and public speaking skills. Topics covered include African American Folk Art and Slavery, the Chicago Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement. (Amy Qin)

Chicago Housing Authority Summer Youth Opportunities

Locations and age requirements vary depending on program. Apply at Applications for most programs due by April 30. Stipends provided through One Summer Chicago. SSN and DOB required for application. For questions, contact (312) 786-6930.

This summer, the Chicago Housing Authority will offer courses on everything from documentary filmmaking, public art design, game and graphic design, and screenwriting, to a course geared toward career exploration and a course on being a “peace ambassador” for your neighborhood. There is one essay prompt (150-825 words) for each program application, so make sure you pick your program(s) wisely! (Emeline Posner)

Morgan Park Academy’s Summer Camp

Morgan Park Academy, 2153 W. 111th St. For students K–12. Dates and times vary by camp. Tuition varies by camp ($98–$1,653). After & before care provided for an extra fee. (773) 881-6700. Apply on

Morgan Park Academy is offering a multitude of week-long programs for any student to explore their interests. From Drone Flying Missions, MasterChef camp, and Filmmaking Camp to Harry Potter Young Wizards Camp and Zombie Apocalypse Survival Camp, Morgan Park promises to expand your student’s horizons in a unique way. (Rachel Kim)

Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camp

Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 3360 S. State St. August 1–August 6, times vary. Incoming sixth graders through recently-graduated eighth graders. $75; lunch provided.

Enroll your junior architect in this short five-day course from the Illinois chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, hosted at IIT, a school famous for innovative design, both in its students and throughout its campus. There they will be guided through all stages of design by real-world architects and planners. (Sam Stecklow)


Rainbow PUSH Excel Summer STEAM Program 2018

Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Headquarters, 930 E. 50th St. June 23–August 25. Saturdays only, 9am–3pm. Registration fee $25. Register at

The Rainbow PUSH nonprofit will be hosting their summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) camp at their national headquarters in Kenwood. Students will be able to learn about computer graphics, robotics, and programming to build games, animations, apps, robots, and model airplanes. There will also be opportunities to show off their acting, dance, singing, spoken word, and sports skills. (Rachel Kim)

Youth Connections Pathways Robotics Challenge

New Beginnings Church of Chicago, 6620 S. King Dr. June 25–August 2. Monday–Thursday, 9am-1pm. Ages 14+. Apply on

If your student is obsessed with robots, this camp held in West Woodlawn will be perfect for them. Students will be able to be participate in a collaborative team atmosphere in order to take part of every step in the process of making a robot: from designing, assembling, programming, and operating. (Rachel Kim)

heART of Science Camp

South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Two one-week sessions either August 20–24 or August 27–31. Early Day Camp from 9am–2pm, ages 5–12, $55/day or $225/week. Afternoon Camp from 2pm–5pm, ages 4–12, $35/day or $150/week. Full day camp from 9am–5pm, ages 5–12, $75/day, $350/week. Sibling discount available. Referral discount available. Bring a lunch with no nuts. Registration closes July 27. (708) 733-2936.

Dionne Victoria Studios, INC. is hosting the heART of Science Camp in Bronzeville with an integrated curriculum of arts and science in order to focus on the subjects of geology and geography. Students will be able to study the Earth, its physical features, rocks, resources, climates, and populations. Activities include art classes, outdoor/indoor games, and community service. (Rachel Kim)

MOMS Enrichment Center After School and Summer Program

Foundations College Prep, 1233 W. 109th Pl. Mondays–Fridays, 2:30pm–7:30pm; Saturdays, 9am–2pm. Ages 5–high school. Transportation is provided for a reasonable fee; inquire regarding all costs., (312) 774-2069.

Offers a wide variety of creative and educational pursuits for children, including life skills courses, internships at small businesses and organizations in the Roseland neighborhood, a Saturday youth music program, sports and arts and crafts days at local parks, and, for older participants, serving on a mock jury that hears real restorative justice cases involving Chicago students. MOMS Enrichment Center provides productive outlets for youth throughout the school year and summer. (Sam Stecklow)

DIG DEEP! Adult Retreat

Br. David Darst Center, 2834 S. Normal Ave. May 5–6 or May 11–12. 18+. $60, including three meals and lodging.

An overnight immersion retreat for adults, DIG DEEP!’s participants will explore the roots of food insecurity and social injustice through storytelling and community meals. Each weekend will be limited to fifteen participants, who will stay at the Bridgeport social justice education-focused Darst Center. (Sam Stecklow)

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Rachel Kim is the education editor at the Weekly. She is a University of Chicago student originally from the suburbs of Georgia. Her favorite spot on the South Side is Humbert Park in Bridgeport and she is a devotee of the strawberry lemonade from Medici on 57th in Hyde Park. Her writing has appeared multiple times in the Weekly covering CPS, arts, and ice cream.

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