Dozens of school-aged children have participated in five week-long camps so far this summer at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. A full class of students, ages 8 to 13, is engaged in Fisheries Science Camp this week.
Caitlyn Jernigan, who is signed up for this week’s camp, also took Ocean Explorers at the beginning of summer. Her mom, Debbie, has plenty of good things to say about the educators at Jennette’s Pier.
“Ocean Explorers was the most well-rounded camp Caitlyn has ever attended,” she said. “Education, exercise and fun in a small group with enthusiastic instructors, what more could you ask for? Caitlyn woke up every day excited about going and recapped the events of the day without prompting each evening. I couldn’t have been more pleased. We can’t wait for the Fisheries Science and Fishing Camps.”
Next week, the wildly popular Waterman’s Ocean Adventure Camp will be offered for the second time this summer.
“Campers surf, fish, go kayaking and learn other skills to create a well-rounded waterman,” said Pier Educator Lydia Courtright.
Education Coordinator Christin Brown has been extremely pleased with each of the camps so far. “Both visitors and locals have enrolled their children,” she said. “All the kids have learned about the ocean, environment and fish.”
Brown also said she enjoyed helping teach the recent Marine Science camp in partnership with John McCord and Dave Sybert of University of North Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI). Jennette’s Pier and UNC-CSI have a long-term agreement to conduct ocean observation and energy research projects at the pier.
One of the projects the students took on during camp was making remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). McCord helped them problem solve their respective designs when they launched the ROVs in a small pool set up on the education department’s pier deck. With simple motors, sections of PVC pipes and a battery tethered to the craft, the students learned how to adjust such elements as ballast.
Thanks to the generosity of the N.C. Beach Buggy Association, Manteo’s Skyler Bradley attended the Marine Science camp on a scholarship. Past Director of the organization, Jim Keene, said they were happy to help out.
In addition, Pier Educator Lydia Courtright secured two scholarships from the OBX Angler’s Club for campers. She recalled attending one of their meetings at the Sea Ranch in Kill Devil Hills to request a sponsorship for children in need. “When I finished, a gentleman in front raised his hand in a motion to agree to sponsor a child,” Courtright said. “Seconds later, another voice erupted from the back row and made a motion to sponsor two campers.” The 50 or so members voted to sponsor two slots; one in the Marine Science Camp and one in the Fishing Camp.
Courtright has also worked closely with Bonnie Bennett, coordinator of Dare County’s Friends of Youth program, to find children for the scholarships. They were placed in camps that matched their interests, Courtright said.
A third business, Outer Banks Kind Confections, an area vegan bakery, also sponsored a camper in the Fishing Camp, Courtright noted.