Young area children can take to the great outdoors and get some cleverly disguised education when the Gross Out Camp returns to north Tuscaloosa this summer.

Fresh Air Family, the Alabama nonprofit that organizes Gross Out Camp, hosts camps all over the state to deliver award-winning science lessons through a kids-centered lens that doubles down on the slimiest and grimiest aspects of field biology.

They plan to host two Camps in Tuscaloosa this summer in the woods and creek near the Buddy Powell Pavillion off Northridge Road during which rising students headed to first through fourth grade will work with a plan, not a schedule, to learn about salamanders and slugs, crawfish, roly polies and more. There are also options available for older kids - fifth through seventh graders.

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Verna Gates, the executive director of the outdoors-focused Fresh Air Family, says dynamic lessons like theirs have been proven through the generations to make kids smarter and more resilient.

“We studied the best way to get the brain engaged and found it was the old way – through finding millipedes and building forts - the childhood that raised the Greatest Generation,” Gates said. “Also, science teaches critical thinking – it gives you a map for decision making. When children grow up and make good decisions, it prospers them, their family and their community.”

Gross Out Camp returns to Tuscaloosa's Buddy Powell Pavilion during the weeks of June 17-21 and July 15-19. Camps run all day long, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., and organizers say they guarantee to send kids home tired and dirty.

Space is limited to 20 campers for each session, and although registration costs $300 for the week, financial aid is available and Gates said in 2023, Fresh Air Family awarded nearly $50,000 to camper families so they could attend camp.

“We have never turned a child away because they couldn’t pay," Gates said. "We make a way."

Find out more and register today at the Fresh Air Family site here.

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)


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