Utica, NY (WIBX) - Got any summer plans for the kids yet? Well, here are a couple of ideas... Since 1947 the Department of Environmental Conservation has hosted four summer environmental education camps to prepare the next generation of Earth stewards.

Ann Harrison, Bureau Chief, Environmental Education, Department of Environmental Conservation, says the week long camps are designed for children ages 12 - 14, who enjoy the outdoors. "Spend a week learning about the environment, being outside in forest fields and streams, and we'll be able to take optional activities such as fishing, and camping archery," Harrison said.  There's also a Hunter Safety course to choose from for those interested in getting a hunting license.

But, if the outdoors isn't for you--How about taking part in what the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton is offering this summer? The Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and Foreign Language Instructor, Jennifer Fuller says, among the many options, students can choose to take part in Art, Drama, or a Language course this summer.

She says learning a foreign language gives students an advantage in life, especially now, following massive school budget cuts. "Right now a lot of the schools have budget cuts and there offering fewer and fewer choices and opportunities for kids, so a summer camp can be sort of an alternative that ensures students have the kinds of opportunities that are really adventagious for them when they're preparing for their future," she said.

Harrison said all four camps--Colby and Pack Forest in the Adirondacks, DeBruce in the Catskills and Rushford in Western New York--have openings for some weeks during the seven weeks of camp, which run from July 3 through August 20. Campers arrive on Sunday afternoon and are picked up Saturday morning. The cost is $350 per week. Also, local organizations such as civic groups, garden and sportsmen clubs can also sponsor a camper.

Applications can be found by going to, www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html or by writing to NYSDEC Camps, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4500. You may also e-mail the camps at edcamps@gw.dec.state.ny.us,  or call 518-402-8014 and ask for Randy Cotch. For those interested in signing up for KAC summer activities and classes, visit their website at, www.kirklandartcenter.org, or you can contact them at (315) 853-8871.

For additional summer camps and youth activity options go to the Oneida County website, http://www.ocgov.net/oneida/distatty/youth.

The City of Utica is another source for parents looking for a place to send their children. The Boys and Girls Club of the Mohawk Valley offers a variety of options, which can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.cityofutica.com/YouthBureau/Services/Boys+and+Girls+Club+of+the+Mohawk+Valley.htm

You can also call them at (315) 792-5238 for more information.