Kids at College and Civics Leadership Academy return to Polk State campuses

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College students won’t be the only ones taking classes this summer on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses. A pair of summer camps will make their returns.

Kids at College, a time-tested summer staple, has been a part of the community for nearly three decades. Civics Leadership Academy returns for a second year. Both will offer Winter Haven and Lakeland sessions.

Kids at College

Kids at College will offer two sessions on each campus. The month of June closes with two sessions on the Lakeland Campus. Session 1 takes place from June 17 through 21 with Session 2 coming a week later from June 24 through 28.

Kids at College shifts to Winter Haven in mid-July. Session 3 takes place on the Winter Haven Campus from July 8 through 12. The fourth and final session also takes place on the Winter Haven Campus from July 15 through 19.

“Kids at College is not just childcare and it is not summer school,” said Brenda Bracewell, Project Support Specialist for Kids at College. “We offer enrichment classes that keep a student’s brain engaged during the summer months. We ask our teachers to develop classes that the students will beg to be at each day and that also provide the parents with some educational return on their investment. Our instructors have exceeded our expectations.”

The camp, which introduces children to the idea of college, offers courses for ages 5 to 13. Two-hour classes range from $65 to $75 for five days.

New courses for 2024 include Destination: Milky Way, Journey in Jewelry Making, and Life on the Farm. Balloon Twisting also returns after a one-year hiatus along with classic favorites such as 3D Printing, Book Cook, and Rocketry.

“There are lots of opportunities for a student to spend a week at a sports camp, a STEM camp, or an art camp,” Bracewell added. “Kids at College gives a student the chance to take a variety of classes during the same week. It is important for students to try a variety of topics because that is the only way they can discover what they enjoy and in what areas they are gifted. A 10-hour class is not too much if you decide it is not your thing, but it is enough to spark an interest that the student might pursue after Kids at College ends. “

The class schedule is available here and class descriptions are here. Registration opens May 1. More information is available at

“Kids at College is also an excellent way for students to become comfortable on a college campus. Every summer children tell me they can’t wait until they can come to ‘real’ college,” Bracewell concluded. “That always makes me smile. There is no need to tell them that they might not take Balloon Twisting or Games Unplugged in ‘real’ college.”

Civics Leadership Academy

Following a successful first summer, Civics Leadership Academy returns for a second year. The weeklong camp allows teams of students entering sixth through ninth grades to work collaboratively to identify an issue specific to their community or school that they are passionate about and then find a solution. They also meet with community leaders spanning different organizations and career fields, including local government officials and public safety professionals.

“It gives students an opportunity to think critically, work together, and solve problems,” said Cathryn Goble-Smith, Program Director for Public Service Career Pathways. “It also ties into what they’re learning in their history and social studies classes at school.”

In its inaugural year, Civics Leadership Academy served about 60 students over two sessions. This year, Session 1 takes place from June 24 through 28 on the Lakeland Campus. Session 2 will be held at the Winter Haven Campus from July 8 through 12.

“We saw how valuable it was for students to get to meet with community leaders,” Goble-Smith added. “It was something they really seemed to enjoy.”

The cost is $150 for the weeklong camps, which are held daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a limit of 50 students per session. Students are urged to bring their lunch.