No mosquitoes, no canoeing and no campfires.
But spending time playing video games will be encouraged.
The University of Akron is hosting its inaugural esports summer camp for middle and high school students — a spinoff of its new Zips Esports championship-winning program for college students.
The five-day camp, which will be at UA’s main campus, will be offered in three sessions July 8-26. It is being billed as the only camp of its kind in the Midwest.
The cost for an overnight camper is $500, including room and breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cost for a day camper is $300, including lunch. Overnight campers will stay in dorm rooms.
The camp follows the inaugural year of UA’s esports program, a successful initiative to lure new students in the face of falling enrollment.
Often, gamers are competing online and don’t interact with other players in person, said Nate Meeker, a Zips Esports staff member.
“This camp gives them a chance to build team and communication skills — not only in the realm of esports, but in their everyday lives as well," Meeker said.
The camp — providing exposure to collegiate esports — is for gamers of any experience level.
“If they’re really competitive we can help them improve in the game they’re interested in,” Meeker said. “And if they’re novice gamers we can introduce them to some new games and strategies.”
Campers will play popular games, such as Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Fortnite.
The camp will involve more than playing video games. Campers will spend about two hours a day in classrooms, with lessons focusing on such topics as IT skills, working with teams, and esports-related professions, ranging from broadcasting to PC building.
Campers also will go each day to UA's Student Recreation and Wellness Center for physical exercise, playing such games as basketball and dodge ball.
"This will give them a chance to build those in-person, team-based communication skills,” Meeker said.
Members of UA’s esports varsity teams will analyze campers’ gaming and provide one-on-one coaching, as well as lead team-building exercises.
At the end of each week, parents and friends will watch campers play a live match at UA’s esports arena inside InfoCision Stadium.
Parents and guardians can register campers at uakron.edu/esports/events/summer-camp. Registration closes June 10. About half of the roughly 140 slots are already filled.
Two years ago, UA revealed it planned to join the growing number of universities with esports programs. UA became the first public university in northern Ohio and one of the first Division I universities in the country to have varsity gamers who are eligible for scholarships. UA students can also play at the club level.
UA is among 70 institutions offering esports scholarships, according to the May 6 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
UA spent about $750,000 to renovate existing space at three locations on campus for the program, with sponsorships expected to offset some of that cost.
In April, the Akron Rocket League Team, one of UA’s varsity teams, captured the Spring 2019 Collegiate Rocket League National Championship. This was after the team became the first in the history of Collegiate Rocket League to qualify for the national finals twice consecutively.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com.