Summer Youth Programs

2024 Summer Camps

This summer, our camps invite explorers to dive into the wonders of both nature and history. Through interactive experiences that blend exploration, creativity, and education, we aim to inspire a lifelong love for learning and a deep appreciation for both local history and the environment. 

Join us this summer to create memories and a deeper connection to our world! 

Historical Roots & Garden Shoots

Dates: Tuesdays, July 9-July 30
Time: 10-11:30am
Ages: 6-12 years
Location: Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods
Fee: $40

Questions: 217-586-2612, [email protected] 

Historical Roots & Garden Shoots is a camp fusing history and the vibrant world of gardening. Join us every Tuesday for a thrilling four-week camp that collides history and nature. Each week campers will explore an ecosystem and learn about the plants and people that live there. 

Week 1 (July 9): Prairie

Campers will discover how early people lived and utilized native plants and how prairie plants can thrive in their own gardens. 

Week 2 (July 16): Woodland

A place where woody plants and people grow! Campers will explore the woodlands, understand its past, and why wildlife and people thrive in forests. Campers will walk away with a handful of fun facts, tree care basics, and stories of their fun-filled adventures. 

Week 3 (July 23): Wetlands

Let the wetland adventures begin! Get ready to step into the shoes of explorers from the past, uncover the hidden stories of the land, and dive into the natural wonders of the wetlands in Illinois. Campers will have fun while learning how the ecosystem thrives and its rich history through hands-on garden activities and games! 

Week 4 (July 30): Celebrate Illinois Ecosystems

Campers will spend the last day together wrapping up their adventure on their exploration of the ecosystems of Illinois with a festive flare. This final celebration will leave an impression on campers to keep exploring Illinois' history and to keep growing their native gardens! 

Eco-adventures Day Camp

Dates: July 9-August 2
Time: 10-11:30am
Age: 3-Age 11 (at the time of the camp start date)
Fee: $40 per child

Questions: 217-896-2455, [email protected]

When registering choose one: 

  • Tuesdays at Homer Lake
  • Wednesday at Homer Lake
  • Thursdays at Lake of the Woods
  • Fridays at Lake of the Woods

Week 1 (July 9-July 12): Close to Home

Some plants and animals are easier to spot than others! During this week we will reacquaint ourselves with animals commonly found in populated areas, like squirrels and songbirds, and learn how they adapt to living alongside people. Campers will also explore commonly found plants and be introduced to native plants that thrive in home gardens and urban areas. 

Week 2 (July 16-July 19): Illinois

Did you know Illnois has two state flowers? A state song? What about a state snack? Learn about those, and other state symbols! Animal lovers will be delighted to learn more about the white-tailed deer, cardinal and monarch butterfly. Not to be outdone, plants like white oak and milkweed will also be a central focus of camp this week. 

Week 3 (July 23-July 26): Something Old, Something New

Central Illinois has a rich natural history and the evidence is everywhere! Glaciers, prehistoric plants and animals, and even living trees, much older than the preserves themselves, will tell the story of our past. But new, exciting things are happening as well. Ecosystems are being restored and plants and animals are making their way back, some for the first time in years! Experience our preserves: past, present, and future, during this exciting week of camp!

Week 4 (July 30-August 2): Recreation and Relaxation 

This final week of camp is all about those little things we do to relax and unwind. Campers will be able to explore various ways to enjoy the preserves all while tailoring their experiences as they choose from a variety of activities. Campers can expect plenty of games, opportunities for artistic expression, and, simply, time to slow down and marvel in the beauty of nature at our preserves. 

Junior Golf Clinics

Dates: June 4, 11, 18, 25

  • Ages 8-9; 1-1:55pm
  • Ages 10-12; 2-2:55pm
  • Ages 13-17; 3-3:55pm

Location: Lake of the Woods Golf Course

Questions: 217-586-2183, [email protected] 


Get your youngsters involved in the wonderful world of golf. Our golf professionals and staff will provide them with all the skills they need to enjoy the game of golf in this group setting. 

  • Option 1: $50 per junior
    • 4 hour of instruction
    • handout materials
  • Option 2: $60 per junior
    • Option 1 plus comeback coupons
  • Option 3: $75 per junior
    • Option 2 plus individual lesson with PGA Professional

Junior Golf Camp

Dates: July 8-11
Time: 8-12:00pm
Age: 10-17 years
Fee: $150 per junior

Questions: 217-586-2183, [email protected] 


The Junior Golf Camp is designed for ages 10-17 and is a more hands-on and in-depth teaching of the game of golf, its rules, and proper etiquette. Limited to the first 25 paid participants. 

One Day Camps

Teen Outdoor Survival Camp

Date: June 25 or June 26
Time: 10-2:00pm
Age: 12-17 years
Fee: $25 

Questions: 217-896-2455, [email protected]

Join us at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve for the inaugural Teen Outdoor Survival Camp! Unleash the explorer within as you learn and practice essential skills like fire starting, shelter building, orienteering, identifying native plants and animals, and the art of cooking over coals. Teens will participate in hands-on activities which promote teamwork and foster a deep connection with nature. 


Past to Present Games Camp

Time: 10-11:30am
Age: 7-12 years
Fee: $10

Questions: 217-586-2612, [email protected] 

Choose one day:

  • June 18 @ Salt Fork Center, Homer Lake Forest Preserve
  • June 20 @ Activity Center, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve
  • June 21 @ Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve

As the nation gears up for the Summer Olympics, your child is in for a thrilling adventure exploring the incredible world of games from centuries past to present. Campers will dive into the joy of play, experiencing games from diverse cultures and different times. 


Wilderness Explorers

Time: 10-12:00pm
Age: 6-12 years
Fee: $10

Questions: 217-896-2455, [email protected] 

Choose one or multiple days:

  • June 11 @ Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve
  • June 12 @ Walnut Hill Shelter, Homer Lake Forest Preserve
  • June 14 @ Activity Center, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve

Investigate nature through woodland expeditions, scavenger hunts, and games! We'll hike and explore our way through the preserve!


Pop-Up Programming

We are excited to announce the concept of ‘pop-up’ programming! These activities may include spontaneous outdoor adventures or a day spent with a school marm at the one-room schoolhouse. Our goal is to craft unforgettable moments that bring an extra element of excitement to your summer. 

One-Room Schoolhouse Openings

This summer, the schoolhouse will host pop-up openings throughout the summer. These pop-ups are free and take the place of the daily schoolhouse open hours, allowing visitors an opportunity to interact with staff or volunteers while experiencing the schoolhouse. 
Each of the below dates, the schoolhouse will be open 10:00am-11:00am.

  • Thursday, June 13
  • Saturday, June 15
  • Friday, June 28
  • Saturday, June 29
  • Thursday, July 11
  • Saturday, July 13
  • Monday, July 22
  • Friday, July 26



Junior Golf Clinics/Golf Camp

All Other Camps: Registration opens March 6 at 8:00am

Need assistance with registration? 

Junior Golf Clinics/Golf Camp: David Sebestik, [email protected] 

All Other Camps: Stacey Clementz, [email protected] 

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available that cover half the cost of individual camps and open to all children. If you are interested in receiving a scholarship for your child(ren) please contact Stacey.

Email Us