For kids who love animals and parents who don’t want their own home to turn into a shelter, local animal rescues have summer camps that could be the answer.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has camps for kids ages 6 to 15. Camp Ruffin it, for ages 6 to 12, is designed to keep kids entertained with lots of hands-on activities. Kids will meet a variety of animals and learn the basic care each animal requires. There are different themes for various age groups. The week-long camp is available for full- day or half-day sessions.

Camp Vet is a career discovery program for kids ages 12 to 14. The camp will teach kids what it takes to become a veterinarian and give them a chance to observe surgeries, dissect organs, learn anatomy, and practice hands-on pet first aid. For slightly older or more experienced campers there is an advanced Camp Vet. Kids who have attended Camp Vet in the past will work side-by-side in one-day rotations with veterinary technicians in the shelter’s Pet MD Clinic.

Camp Vet and Advanced Camp Vet are full-day camps from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. AAWL does offer after care for all of its campers from 4 to 5:30 p.m. For more information on the camps, visit

The Arizona Humane Society has a camp for kids ages 8 to 12. Camp Compassion gives kids a chance to select their own shelter buddy for whom they’ll dedicate their efforts with the goal of finding that animal a forever home. The camp includes crafts and activities and visits to a farm.

Each camp day at the Humane Society is dedicated to a particular pillar of character including trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Each topic is coupled with a complimentary group of animals.

Camp sessions are Tuesday through Thursday, 12:30 to 5 p.m., to allow campers flexibility with other summer trips and activities. The camp takes place at the Nina Mason Pulliam Campus, 1521 W. Dobbins Road. For more information, contact or call (602) 997-7586, ext. 1015.

The Phoenix Herpetological Society is once again offering its Reptile Encounters summer camp for ages 9 to 14 Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Campers will have a chance to learn about different lizards, crocodilians, tortoises and snakes as well as reptile safety. The camp will combine classroom lessons with field sessions for a hands-on experience kids will remember. The camp is divided into age groups to ensure age-appropriate activities for each group. The camps will take place at the sanctuary, 20701 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 107, in Scottsdale. For more information on the camp and registration, visit or call (480) 513-4377.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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