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Horizons Unlimited will hold in-person summer camps

SALISBURY – Horizons Unlimited’s summer programming went all virtual last year, but in-person camps are back and the facility is planning to bring in students for programs for the first time in a year.

Horizons Director Elise Tellez said staff members worked to figure out what felt safe and talk about what people were excited for this year when planning the camps. This year’s list is lighter than normal, with four camps. Horizons is still offering one virtual camp and a hybrid camp as well.

For families interested in the virtual options, Horizons is offering a rocket engineers camp, which is mostly virtual except for one day when families will come out to launch their rockets. Horizons also is bringing back its Bloxels camp, using the software to learn about coding and creating video games.

Kyle Whisenant is bringing back the virtual camp because it was a success last year and he wanted a virtual option to still be available. Students use an app to build games with a classic 8-bit aesthetic, and they get to create whatever they want.

“We meet once a day just to talk about how to do certain things,” Whisenant said.

He is also working with Rowan County Museum to bring back a time warp camp that teaches students about local history by taking them out in the community. Whisenant can drive a bus, and students will be fed by the district’s nutrition department.

He said getting the option to take kids on field trips again is what excites him most about the coming months.

Horizons naturalist Haylie Dixon will teach the junior naturalist camp. The five-day program will focus on wetlands, plants, reptiles, amphibians and birds. It wraps up with an adventure day to learn about outdoor survival skills, featuring activities like archery.

The students will be outdoors all week for the camp and get a glimpse into the day in the life of a naturalist by doing things such as animal identification and nature crafts. Students will get to paint their own swallow boxes and put them up on trails. Students will also get to interact Horizons’ live animals. The latest additions are corn snakes and a rat snake named Fluffy.

Neil Pifer, director at Horizons’ Woodson Planetarium, will be running the rocket camp and the Mars camp, which will bring students back into the planetarium to learn about the red planet and just how far away from earth it is.

All of the in-person camps include breakfast and lunch provided by Rowan-Salisbury Schools and sign ups will be available soon.

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