CAMP SEABEAN: A Different Kind of Summer Camp

By  //  June 28, 2013

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exploring the shoreline and pirate ships

ABOVE VIDEO: In the world of video games and I-pads, the Slotin’s aim to give children the opportunity to explore the natural world and get some exercise. Those who participated in the pilot camp offered during Spring Break 2013 or camp during June went home happy and exhausted.

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — Making bows, creating colorful dyes from local plants, exploring the shoreline and swimming around a pirate ship aren’t your everyday activities, but they can be at Camp Seabean.

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What better way to teach some basics of physics than by having kids construct and then use bows and arrows?

Christina Quintanilla Slotin, a former science teacher, and her husband Michael Slotin, a former Florida Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer, have launched a new summer camp program this year to give children in Brevard County an opportunity to learn science through hands-on activities in the great outdoors.

What better way to teach some basics of physics than by having kids construct and then use bows and arrows?

CHEMISTRY LESSON

Different plants and tree bark produce different colors – that’s your chemistry lesson. Handling a baby pompano, sand fleas, or coquinas picked up from the beach is a hands-on way to learn about Florida’s sea creatures and their habitats. And swimming near a pirate ship, well that’s just plain fun.

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“Children learn best when they are playing and having fun,” said Michael, who was inspired to launch the camp by his love for the environment, the outdoors and his own nine-year-old son who started asking a lot of questions about how things work.

“Children learn best when they are playing and having fun,” said Michael, who was inspired to launch the camp by his love for the environment, the outdoors and his own nine-year-old son who started asking a lot of questions about how things work.

His wife of 12 years Christina knows there is truth behind the claim that keeping things fun helps children learn.

She was a science teacher in public schools and at a variety of community organizations in California and in Florida for more than a decade.

“If you can make the lessons fun, they stick,” Christina said. “We have an ideal location here to get kids in touch with nature. It’s a great platform for teaching science principles.”

MOSQUITO LAGOON

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Each day offers a different schedule, which could include archery or primitive skills in the morning and science magic in the afternoon.

The couple moved to Merritt Island 4.5 years ago, because Mike discovered and fell in love with the Mosquito Lagoon 20 years ago while exploring in his kayak and he had the opportunity to return here as a Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer.

Mike loves Brevard County for its rich natural resources. So in 2012 the couple opened an eco-tourism business. They launched Camp Seabean this summer to reach children, ages seven to 12.

“Kids just need the opportunity to feel and touch nature to make the connection with science and learn to appreciate everything around them,” Mike said. “We believe that kids can understand way more than we give them credit for, so we speak to them and treat them with great respect.”

The camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate working parents. Cost is $175 for the week for the month of July and includes two snacks and a drink. Each day offers a different schedule, which could include archery or primitive skills in the morning and science magic in the afternoon.

The camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate working parents. Cost is $175 for the week for the month of July and includes two snacks and a drink. Each day offers a different schedule, which could include archery or primitive skills in the morning and science magic in the afternoon.

Another day might include making natural soap, body surfing the Cocoa Beach waves and seining the water for shrimp and fish.

Squeezed in between are nature hikes, beach time or swimming time at the hotel pool, which includes a mock pirate ship with shooting water.

That’s the benefit of having the camp based at the International Palms Hotel. The hotel provides easy access to the beach as well as bathrooms and other basic facilities.

So how does the couple know the activities are actually fun?

KID TESTED

“They’re kid tested,” Mike said. “Our children have tried most activities to make sure they are fun. We wanted to make sure there wa truth in advertising.”

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Those who participated in the pilot camp offered during Spring Break 2013 or camp during June went home happy and exhausted.

In the world of video games and I-pads, the Slotin’s aim to give children the opportunity to explore the natural world and get some exercise.

Those who participated in the pilot camp offered during Spring Break 2013 or camp during June went home happy and exhausted.

“I am so glad that we found camp Seabean,” said Michelle Kerr, of Viera.

She sent her son Meechai to camp in June. “He told me everyday that camp was awesome. He particularly loved the archery. He already plans to come back next summer and keeps telling his younger sister that next year they will go together.”

“Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of crabbing on the docks of Tybee Beach, exploring the coastline for seashells and learning how to camp,” said Mike. “We aim to help our participants create similar memories and learn a little science while they’re at it.”

The Soltins smile when they hear the kids talk about how much fun they have. The couple just wants to pass on the excitement that the natural world offers all of us if we just take a moment to enjoy.

“Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of crabbing on the docks of Tybee Beach, exploring the coastline for seashells and learning how to camp,” said Mike.

“We aim to help our participants create similar memories and learn a little science while they’re at it.”

For more information visit CampSeabean.com or The Facebook Page Or call 321-505-0974 or email at info@campseabean.com


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