The West Virginia University Student Recreation Center is helping area children learn about themselves and explore the world around them through a series of outdoor activity camps.

The Mountaineer Adventure Camps teach participants, ages 8-12, a variety of outdoor skills, along with effective communication, listening and team interaction skills. WVU students serve as group leaders, encouraging children of all skill levels and abilities to put new skills into action during trips to various outdoor locations.

Campers first learn the basics about climbing, camping, hiking, paddling and caving, then apply that experience on field trips to outdoor spots such as Coopers Rock, Cheat Lake, Tygart River, Laurel Caverns, Mountain Lion Sanctuary and the Pittsburgh Zoo. In addition, they have access to the Rec Center, where they can practice their skills on the climbing wall and through scuba diving activities.

The intent is to allow the children to learn activities they may not otherwise be exposed to and help them build their self-confidence.

When the Rec Center opened, it was our charge to start a new camp,said Sherri Restauri, program manager.We wanted to provide unique activities that are different from other camps children attend.

West Virginia is an ideal outdoor recreation area, Restauri said, and the camp provides an opportunity to immerse the children in multiple outdoor activities that are available close to home.

The camp is split into two sessions; the first was June 9-20, and the second started Monday (June 23) and runs through July 3. (PLEASE NOTE : Registration for this years camps is closed.) For more information, visit http://studentreccenter.wvu.edu/adventurecamp/index.html .