By Maddy Vitale
Sure, there’s the beach, the bay and the Promenade in Sea Isle City. But there are also some pretty cool summer camps for kids, and they aren’t all sports-related.
Cooking camps, by Kathy Wolper, owner of Kitchen Wizards, teaches children the magic of cooking and the classes are offered at the Sea Isle City Community Lodge, 300 JFK Boulevard, in July and August.
“I’m thrilled to be back for another season at the Community Lodge. At the shore, we’ve found we need to think outside the box,” Wolper said. “First of all, the Community Lodge is heavily used. Secondly, there are some families that are at the shore for only one week. Others are down for the summer looking for something different to do.”
There are multi-day camps and one-day classes. Each class is geared toward a particular age group and has an interesting theme, Wolper noted.
“At Kitchen Wizards, we help kids of all ages to discover the magic of cooking,” she said.
Desserts from Around the World kicks off the camp program from 12-2:30 p.m. July 10-12. It is for children ages 7 to 11. The price is $155. A one-day class called USA, USA, USA is for ages 8 to 12 and is scheduled for July 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. for $35.
There are also classes focusing on Thanksgiving cooking, New Year’s Eve cuisine and one program called Fruits & Veggies Never Tasted So Good for children ages 5 to 9 from 12-2:30 p.m. Aug. 7-9 for $155, to name a few.
Sea Isle City Public Information Officer Katherine Custer, who is also the director of the Department of Community Services, called Kitchen Wizards cooking classes a fun experience for children.
“Our recreation staff tries to offer something for everyone when it comes to our summer camps and clinics because some children enjoy sports, but others prefer different activities,” Custer noted. “The Kitchen Wizards cooking class is a fun experience kids really seem to enjoy.”
She said this year, with Kitchen Wizards offering an even broader line-up of culinary experiences than the year before, there will be more than enough classes to choose from.
“It makes me hungry just thinking of the great food they will be preparing,” Custer added.
Custer explained that Kitchen Wizards is not the only non-sports option on the summer camp line-up this year. There is also a National CSI Class for children as well as a Marine Science Camp and an Art Camp.
Parents who are interested in summer camps and clinics for their children should go to Sea Isle’s visitors website at www.VISITSICNJ.com where they can click the recreation link on the homepage for an updated list of options.
Custer said there were a few late arrivals to this year’s programs that are not listed in Sea Isle’s 2019 Visitors Guide.
“Our recreation staff is ready to answer any and all questions about the many events they have planned this year,” Custer said. “Just give them a call.”
For Wolper, who, along with her instructors, travels around the region to offer the classes, returning to Sea Isle means a lot.
“I was raised in the Philadelphia suburbs. When I was a kid, our family would rent a place for a one-week vacation in Sea Isle. The times there were among our favorite childhood memories,” Wolper recalled. “My parents are now 93, and we still reminisce about those days.”
As a young adult, Wolper rented a shore house with friends for the summer in Sea Isle.
“Later, my parents would rent a place for the entire family, the kids, the in-laws and the grandkids,” she said. “Sea Isle City has a special place in my heart.”
Before starting Kitchen Wizards, Wolper was an elementary school teacher and then a technical trainer in the corporate world.
After the company she worked for filed for bankruptcy, she started her own home-based baking business called Kathy’s Just Desserts, Inc. and later created Kitchen Wizards.
“I quickly missed the interaction of teaching and training,” she said of Kathy’s Desserts. “I began offering culinary enrichment programs for children, then also for adults. As the programs grew in popularity, I decided to spin off a division, called Kitchen Wizards.”
More than 17 years later, Kitchen Wizards has grown in popularity. There are 20 instructors who teach the classes.
In addition to summer programs in Sea Isle, Kitchen Wizards also offers programs in Avalon, Margate, and North Wildwood. Year-round, they offer monthly programs through the Cape May County Library system along with many in the Philadelphia suburbs, Wolper explained.
“Our programs give children hands-on learning, connect what they’re learning in school with real-life situations,” Wolper said. “They try new food. It helps them learn a life skill, make friends who have a similar interest, and have fun.”
For more information visit Kitchen Wizards at www.kitchenwizards.info or email Kathy Wolper at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Sea Isle City, go to www.VISITSICNJ.com or call the Recreation Department at (609) 263-0050.