Bobcat Academy returns July 22-26 at OUS

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

By Terry L. Hapney, Jr.
The Ironton Tribune

Children entering first through sixth grades this fall can enjoy youth workshops while developing their leadership, academic and imaginative skills in the annual Bobcat Academy held this summer at Ohio University Southern (OUS) in Ironton.
Sarah Simmons, OUS communications and external relations manager, said there were a few versions of this camp over the years. Last year, the Bobcat Academy featured small programs in specific parts of the day. This year, event organizers expanded it to a full week—July 22-26—making it accessible to children whose parents work.

“Our drop off is between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and our pickup is between 5 and 5:30,” Simmons said. “Parents can have a full workday and still get their children to this event.”
Another priority for organizers is ensuring it is affordable.
“There are a lot of summer camps that are fun for kids, but they might be out of reach for some families,” Simmons said. “This is $40 for the full week.”
Children will engage in activities designed to “keep them entertained throughout the day,” Simmons said. One such session is yoga.
“Our chemistry instructor, Kyle Kemats, will help participants practice simple yoga poses, breathing exercises, relaxation; if the weather is nice, we will do that outside, letting kids experience the outdoors,” Simmons said.
Kemats is a certified yoga instructor; Simmons said he is “excited” to teach something in addition to chemistry.
Another session is “Lights, Camera, Action.” The OUS Electronic Media program provides camera equipment, introducing students to video and giving them hands-on experience. The instructor is Ernie Hall.
“This allows them to see what they might be able to do in that profession,” Simmons said.
Simmons said OUS is “really lucky” to have Third & Center partnering in this camp. It offers art education, letting students explore a range of media. In addition, the Academy features a cooking class with students also exploring baking.
“They’ll also get to do fun things thanks to The Ohio State University Extension Office,” Simmons said. “They are bringing their smoothie bike. Students will create their own smoothies through exercise. They’ll learn about nutrition and how to make different types of foods.”
On Friday the camp features “a big, fun day outside if weather permits,” Simmons said.
“We will have lots of visitors,” she said.
The Ironton Fire Department will bring a truck so participants may see and experience it. This permits children to get to know firefighters.
“If you see me in all this gear, I’m here to help,” Simmons said. “It’s not scary; take a look at all our different equipment.”
The Briggs Lawrence County Public Library will engage participants in crafts. The Ironton Lawrence County Community Action Organization is giving students the opportunity to explore virtual reality. The OSU Extension Office is bringing Sphero indi car-shaped robots. Students will do artwork with those.
“They will roll through paint,” Simmons said. “They’ll use engineering to create art.”
Friday also features outdoor games, music, pizza and other visitors. Students receive a t-shirt and water bottle for participating, along with a snack every day.
“We ask that students bring a packed lunch to keep it affordable,” Simmons said.
A special feature in this year’s camp is grant funding for experiential learning, just more than $4,000. Event organizers will hire OUS students looking for summer employment. They will assist staff members with making sure sessions run smoothly.
For more information or to register for the Bobcat Academy visit

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