The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Seeks New Resident Artist

Three-month residency grants $5,000 stipend

Calling all photographers, videographers and creative types with a passion for visual storytelling: Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is seeking candidates for its third-quarter 2017 Resident Artist Program. This initiative gives aspiring and/or established photographers and videographers an opportunity to further develop their work and connect with the people and nature of Lee County.

What will the next Resident Artist do? Convey a sense of place, such as what it’s like to catch a tarpon, watch a sunset over the Gulf, glide beneath the mangrove tunnels or experience the River District. The VCB will use these images and video in promotions to show what it’s like to unwind, unplug, explore, gather together and be surrounded by the nature of Lee County.

The program offers a $5,000 stipend and it allows the VCB to use the submitted imagery and/or footage in the destination’s ongoing global marketing efforts. Work from the VCB’s past Resident Artists – Jamie Williams, Dennis Gingerich and Rob Hoovis – is currently incorporated into print, digital and social media campaigns across multiple platforms.

Applicants for the upcoming residency must reside in Lee County full- or part-time. During July to September, the selected candidate will be required to capture 30 digital, high-res photos and/or videos that highlight the unique attributes of different communities within the county. In addition, the selected candidate will be asked to post images regularly to social media and attend a monthly status meeting with VCB managers.

How to apply

• Submit a 500-word statement, share your approach for capturing elements of the destination and state what you hope to gain from participating in the program.

• Provide a link to your online portfolio and your active social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as well as the numbers of followers/subscribers per channel.

• The deadline for entries is June 9, 2017. The candidate that is selected will be notified shortly after the close of the application period.

“Our next Resident Artist will join a growing list of local creatives whose work has helped us to create high impact visual assets that effectively position Lee County as an attractive tourist destination,” said Brian Ososky, the VCB’s director of marketing. The bureau expects the new set of images to further bolster its Islandology marketing and advertising campaign that celebrates our unique way of life in Southwest Florida.

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau retains full rights usage for images selected. Stipend will be paid in full following program completion. No living accommodations, studio or equipment will be provided. For more information about the Resident Artist Program, or to apply, please visit

It’s All About the FOOD!

by Susan Barnett

Broccoli Salad is a time-tested favorite. In this recipe I take a few shortcuts. I use bacon bits and premade coleslaw dressing. You can certainly cook and chop bacon and make your own salad dressing if you’re a purist a heart. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad


1 large bunch of broccoli – about 3-4 stalks

1/2 red onion chopped

1/3 cup – bacon bits or 6-8 slices of crisp bacon chopped

1 cup – Craisins (or raisins)

1 cup – coleslaw dressing

1/2 cup – sunflower seeds – dry roasted


Wash and prepare broccoli into bite sizes pieces. Don’t use the woody part of the stalk.

Mix together broccoli, red onion, bacon and Craisins.

Add coleslaw dressing; adjust if you need more dressing.

Chill until served. Mix salad and add sunflower seeds right before serving.


Susan Barnett is a food industry veteran who graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics. A self-proclaimed “foodie”, Susan’s philosophy is: “It’s all about the food!” Contact her with your food questions at

Benefits of Buying Meat from a Butcher

provided by Xpress Meat Market

Have you ever felt lost in a sea of pre-sliced and packaged meats when going to a supermarket, not finding the exact cut or size you wanted, asked for help from an inexperienced worker being paid minimum wage to stack pre-packaged and frozen meats only to have them look back at you with a clueless look? Next time go to a butcher shop and experience the difference.

Butcher shops have always been around. They are where Irish go to get supplies for Haggis, where Brazilians go to get chicken hearts, and where mom goes to buy liver.

Butchering is an art, so it is a given that butchers want only to offer the best. They would never risk tainting the flavor of their art with chemicals. Plus, butchers are constantly resupplying their products, so instead of buying a treated product to endure a longer shelf life, you will be buying the freshest and most natural cuts.

Because butchers are constantly around meats, if you ask your local butcher where the meat he/she is selling came from, they will probably give you the name of the exact farm, as well as tell you about the daily routine of the animals. They know everything from the care of the animals to the best way to prepare fresh cuts. Butchers are there to cater to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want a thicker cut, just ask and it will be done. If you want your meat grounded, just ask and it will be done. Wondering the best way to prepare your fresh cut? Just ask. And who knows, they might just tell you your new favorite recipe!

What can you expect from a butcher shop? Excellence. Don’t settle for less. The next time you go to buy fresh cuts of meat, treat yourself to a quality experience and visit your local butcher shop!

From Corporate Employees to Visionary Entrepreneurs

Creative Duo Start Unique Online Menswear Company

by Yvette Schultz

Geoff Argue and Tom Severini hit it off immediately when they first met at New York City’s Parsons School of Design. Geoff, a fashion design major, was known for going against the grain and pushing limits of design and authority and inviting others to do their best work. Tom, a graphic design and branding specialist, liked that about him, and as their friendship grew they talked about ways they could one day work together. It took 14 years and separate tracks through the corporate world, but this past February, Geoff and Tom launched their own collective creative effort: Batch Men’s: Casual Shirts for Today’s Modern Man.

Geoff was working as a designer at Fort Myers-based Chico’s, following stints at Tommy Hilfiger, Talbots and DKNY. He decided to take the leap of entrepreneurship after discovering that menswear is an emerging niche market in the fashion world.

“I figured, what better time start something?” commented Geoff. “A shirt company – yes there are a lot out there – but there are not a lot of new companies. Plus, the shirt companies that are out there are mostly custom. The custom trend is good, but there’s not a lot of creative design in it. Design is my background and I have a love of actual true design.”

So Geoff, already Fort Myers-based, convinced Tom and his family to relocate to Southwest Florida in 2015 and begin a brand they hope will one day be a household name.

Tom brings experience doing digital and web design for fashion designers like Marc Eckô as well as record labels. He previously was the creative director at a boutique marketing agency. “I led a team of designers, developers, copywriters and cinematographers in developing successful brand identities, web sites and national television commercials. I left there after 10 years to move to Florida and start Batch with Geoff.”

Geoff says Tom is the stable one, balancing out Geoff’s visionary ideas. Over the past year and a half, the men have fine-tuned their product, working out design issues and gaining a deeper understanding of their target audience.

The concept behind Batch is to offer quality over quantity by producing shirts in small batches. Attention to detail is translated not only in the look and feel of the product but in the buying experience as well. The company’s demographic is men 25-35 who enjoy quality and tasteful merchandise and care about the products they purchase. The company has a big following in California.

But it’s more than shirts – it’s a lifestyle. “A great life can’t be mass produced,” believes Geoff. Today, the company makes only shirts, but a full line of menswear is in sight, and eventually “…a whole universe, maybe even a hotel one day,” smiles Geoff. “Seriously! As we grow, there is nothing that shouldn’t be batch made.”

Sit with Geoff long enough and you realize he is not kidding. He labels his choice to launch Batch a “calling” and a “worthwhile challenge.” And it seems a challenge is precisely what drives his creative ambitions.

“Menswear is probably one of the hardest lines ever to be successful in. Second to that, menswear online. Then, men’s online shirts … that’s even harder. Then I chose an exclusive factory in India. I stacked everything against myself,” explains Geoff. “I wanted a challenge that would excite me and turn my brain on. Fashion is tough. You make it one day, and you’re out the next. It’s not for the faint of heart.”

The factory in India that makes Batch shirts is an integral part of the company. The team chose to partner with one exclusive factory so they could control the quality and destiny of the company. Thanks to technology, Geoff works from the comfort of his home office with his partner in India to design and tweak shirts, and can have a sample in his hands within a week. Even this design process is considered part of the Batch lifestyle.

Geoff explains, “Because I have worked in corporate my whole career, I understand processes, but I also understand the layers that slow things down and don’t need to happen.”

“We get to be nimble,” adds Tom. “We get to offer quality without all the waste.”

Batch shirts are sold direct-to-consumer, all online, with free shipping and free returns on all products. The vision for the company’s future expansion also is online. Tom and Geoff believe there is no reason not to order from home.

“That’s just the new business model that people understand and are slowly embracing. You have everything at your fingertips. You can live in a small town in Nebraska and find us and have a world-class experience,” says Geoff. “Online has changed everything.”

Anywhere from 20 to 50 shirts are made at a time once a design is final. The majority of the line is cut from 100% mercerized cotton, which is the key benefit of Batch shirts. The mercerization process allows the fabric to accept 25% more color saturation than non-mercerized cotton, and is the reason Batch shirts have such rich colors and maintain them longer than shirts made of normal cotton. The mercerized cotton also makes the shirts extremely soft. Single needle stitching is used along with Mother of Pearl buttons for all lines, which include Utility (the company’s most popular line), Casual, Business Casual, Dress, and Collarless (which will be introduced this summer). Shirt prices average $80.

“‘You get what you pay for’ is an adage that has always existed,” explains Geoff. “Americans lost sight of it for a couple years, but that is switching. The trend is moving away from mass production, and that’s what we’re about: a world-class experience, quality over quantity, a lifestyle of Batch.”

To learn more about how the Batch menswear fashion company deepened its start-up roots in our back yard, visit it online at Be sure to check out Geoff and Tom’s blog as well, which features articles on topics such as non-iron vs. formaldehyde-free shirts and whether a black or white shirt is more versatile.

The “Third Draft” is Creating a New Entrepreneur

A Lee County resident is dusting off the book-bags and going back to school! Local entrepreneur, Jim Griffiths, stated “As a society, we’ve been taught to put a round peg in a round hole for decades. Jobs come with instructions while entrepreneurism requires creative thinking. Business classes are available for kids and adults, but few offer thinking skills. If younger people don’t learn to think like an entrepreneur, starting a business or even maintaining a career in our new high-speed society will be challenging.” Jim is volunteering to work with staff from local schools and colleges, not to rewrite curriculum, but to add skills to it. Skills that would include leadership, creative thinking, trouble shooting, overcoming setbacks, character branding, brainstorming ideas, and personal presentation into an existing state-approved entrepreneur’s business class. Jim adds, “The goal is to offer education that will enable students to grow into adults that can think of a way to hit any pitch that life throws their way, business or personal.”

Local, writer, speaker, and publisher of SW Florida’s Nautical Mile Magazine, Jim Griffiths, commented “Barely acquiring a minimal passing grade and being permitted to move on to the next level does not offer acceptable long-term odds to our youth. We’re setting out to bridge that gap with something that has the power to alter the educational system as we know it. And yes, an adult night-class version is being created.”

Jim adds, “I’ve heard that kids want the summit but are not willing to make the climb. I don’t believe that. I think they’re smart enough to know that if they make the climb using the economic system we’ve created, they’ll most likely never reach the summit of their dreams. Our youth has worthy goals. They want to change a world that needs changing, they’re willing to stand their ground, and I support them.”

The long term goal is to incorporate life-skills into Florida’s school system. What Jim thought may take a lifetime to set a foundation for has only taken months, thanks to the local educational system’s interest in helping students prepare for real world experiences.

The Lee County school system, especially Jeff Spiro, principal at Cape Coral High School, is excited to see this project move forward. Plans are to have the class available to students in the 2018 school year at a Cape High. Jim stated, “As this moves forward and proves to have successful results, other schools throughout the state will quickly want to replicate the class. Young entrepreneurs will have a new face, one that can cultivate any idea, weather any storm, and face any fear with creative thinking and problem solving abilities!”

Everything needs funding. Instead of tapping into the school’s budget, or seeking donations and grants, Jim has formed a group called The Third Draft that will be hosting a monthly business luncheon where paid speakers will offer professional advice on what it takes to create, run, and maintain a successful business. The luncheons are called the Entrepreneur’s Balcony and being held at the VFW Post 8463 located 4709 SE 11th Pl., downtown Cape Coral on the first Monday of the month starting June 5. The business luncheons will offer a unique and educational meeting with priceless information. $40 per person includes food from the Lobster Lady, Jets Pizza, Ceno Grill and an assortment of snacks and deserts. Proceeds from this new luncheon will financially benefit the Third’s Draft’s new project. Find more information about The Third Draft and the Entrepreneur’s Balcony at

Green Things….

Free Backyard Farming Workshops every Saturday Morning in June & July

Workshop will offer planning solutions for potential future food shortages

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket will host free backyard farming workshops every Saturday morning in June and July at 10:30 a.m. at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. Workshops will cover topics about food security, backyard vegetable gardening, beekeeping, raising livestock for eggs and meat, permaculture, brewing and distilling and food preservation.

This year’s workshop series is titled “When the Shelves Go Bare” and deals with increased concerns about a potential future food shortage.

“Just as we pay insurance for our cars, but don’t expect to be in an accident, we should know the basics of growing our own food as insurance against potential disruptions that may or may not come,” says organic farmer and GreenMarket Manager Santiago De Choch.

Inspired by growing up in civil unrest in South America, De Choch experienced his share of bare shelves. Later, he traveled and lived in areas that went through different events affecting the food security of the population, including Eastern Europe in the years following the collapse of the Berlin wall, Latin America and the Middle East.

Although workshops are free, small donations are welcomed. For more information, call 239-939-2787 or

Slough Guided Walks Continue

Guided walks at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve continue to be offered every Wednesday and the fourth Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m. Meet a Volunteer Interpretive Naturalist at the boardwalk entrance a few minutes early to sign up for a 90-minute tour. Guided walks are free with paid parking of $1 per hour per vehicle. The Interpretive Center is expected to reopen on Saturday, June 10, following scheduled maintenance that began on May 15. The boardwalk remains open daily from dawn until dusk.

The parking fee of $1 per hour per vehicle covers entrance to all facilities at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, 7751 Penzance Blvd. Restrooms and water fountains are located within the building and at the boardwalk entrance. Picnic areas are designated around the Rock and Stroll Garden in the center of the parking lot. For more information,


Grow Your Own Mosquito Repellent

by Adrienne Diaz

Warm weather brings out the big three of the biting bug world: mosquitoes, ticks, and fire ants. Instead of using toxic DEET to protect yourself, wouldn’t it be great to use leaves gathered from your own edible landscaping yard to help you out?

Beautyberry, not just pretty.

Chemical compounds in Beautyberry leaves are natural insect repellents. Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), a deciduous shrub is best known for its bracelet-like clusters of showy purple berries. Compounds found in beautyberry leaves have shown amazing natural insect repellent properties. Fresh green leaves, crushed and rubbed on people or pets, often repel insects for a couple of hours. Also published research studies in Mississippi have shown that essential oil distilled from beautyberry leaves seem to repel fire ants from biting as well. Bonus: remember, Beautyberry fruit is edible for humans, and a favorite of backyard birds.

Home cooks love rosemary as much as Insects hate it!

Rosemary seems to repel mosquitoes and a variety of insects harmful to vegetable plants. Plants can be grown in containers on a patio, grown in herb gardens or planted in landscaped beds, where some varieties can grow quite large. Rosemary’s oils are as delicious to home cooks who use herbs as they are unpleasant to many insects. The plant itself and its cuttings are effective repellents. You can make a simple repellent spray by boiling one quart of dried rosemary in a quart of water for 20 to 30 minutes and then straining the liquid into a container at least a half-gallon in size that contains a quart of cool water. Put a cap on the combined liquid and store it in the refrigerator. Add the repellent to small squirt bottles as needed when going outdoors. Discard the remaining repellent in the refrigerator when it no longer has a strong telltale smell of rosemary.

Lemongrass contains citronella, a natural oil often found in insect-repelling candles.

You’ve no doubt seen citronella candles in stores during the summer and read how citronella will keep mosquitoes away. Citronella is natural oil found in lemongrass, an ornamental grass that can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season. This grass is hardy in South Florida.

To repel mosquitos, plant lemon grass in large pots (and move around as needed), or along walkways and in locations close to seating areas. Bonus, Lemongrass has multiple culinary uses; many Asian recipes call for it. Use its fragrant, narrow leaves in chicken and pork dishes, or to flavor soups and salad dressings or in teas.

Adrienne Diaz is a Certified Square Foot Garden Instructor, a Lee County Master Gardener and the Project Director of the Six Mile Charter Academy School Garden. She grows numerous fruits, vegetables and herbs year round. She offers free workshops & classes monthly, gives garden tours and can speak to your group. Contact her on Facebook at Miss Potters Place,, or 239-464-5754.


Food Waste is Money Down the Drain

by Nathaniel Sillin

How many times have you gone to pour milk in your coffee, only to see that the date on the carton was yesterday? Some people will instinctively throw it away, but chances are that’s not what the label is intended to convey. It’s likely a marker for when the food might taste its best, not if it’s safe to eat.

By some estimates, as many as 91 percent of consumers may misinterpret food date labels. It’s no surprise as there are dozens of different labels in use, but the misunderstanding and lack of meal planning are contributing to a larger problem. Between 30 and 40 percent of the U.S.’s food supply winds up in the trash or a compost container.

The benefits of reducing food waste are numerous. You’ll save money, which may be reason enough. You could also be lowering your carbon footprint by keeping spoiled food out of landfills and cutting down on the growing and transportation of food that doesn’t get eaten.

Cutting back on this waste could start with understanding what food labels actually mean.

Don’t misinterpret food dates as expiration dates. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), aside from on infant formula, food label dates aren’t an indication of whether or not the food is safe to eat. For example, “best by” may mean the food will taste, look and feel its best if its eaten by that date. It could still be good for days, weeks or even months (for non-perishables) after that date.

Some states do require expiration dates on milk or meat and food labeling could become less confusing across the country. But for now, you may need to rely on your judgment. The USDA writes that if foods don’t show signs of spoilage, such as changing colors or giving off an unpleasant smell, they could still be safe and wholesome.

Quick tips for keeping fruit and vegetables fresh for longer.

Regardless of the date, proper food storage can impact a food’s longevity.

Wait to wash food until you’re about to cook or eat. Otherwise, the moisture could spur bacterial growth.

Strategically store items in your refrigerator. Your food will typically last longer if you put the least perishable items on the door, meat near the bottom back (unless there’s a meat drawer), veggies in the crisper and dairy or drinks near the top.

Generally, you want to keep fruits and vegetables away from each other because many fruits produce ethylene gas and exposure to the gas could cause vegetables to spoil more quickly. There are also vegetables that produce the gas and fruits that are sensitive to it.

If you’re storing a fruit or vegetable that gives off and is susceptible to ethylene gas, wrap it in aluminum foil or store it in a paper bag rather than using less-breathable plastic wrap or bags.

You can look for more tips about particular foods online. There are also apps that can automatically connect to your supermarket loyalty programs to track what you buy (or you can upload a picture of your receipt), warn you when something may be going bad and recommend recipes that incorporate those foods.

Find creative uses for foods that are on their way out.

Whether you use an app to sync shopping lists and schedule meals or use a paper list, meal planning can help cut down on waste as well. But even with great intentions sometimes things get forgotten, or meals get pushed off until it’s almost too late.

You can save vegetables from the trash by roasting them, making soup or turning them into a casserole. Carrots, potatoes and other root veggies (plus zucchinis) can be grated and fried to make fritters. You could bake fruits into breads, throw them into smoothies or freeze them for later. In the end, the goal is to use everything you buy.

Bottom line: Food waste could be draining your wallet, hurting the environment and in some cases, may be completely unnecessary. Learning to correctly interpret food labels and performing a sight and smell test before throwing something away could help. Taking the time to prepare before you shop, having a plan for how you’re going to use the food you buy and being okay with a last-minute backup plan can help even more. In the end, taking the extra time to evaluate the true condition of your food can save you money.

Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter:

This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered health, legal, tax or financial advice. It’s always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.



Living Well: Healthy Aging

by Dr. Stokke

The aging of the general population is a global phenomenon. Although recently the life expectancy in the United States dropped for the first time in many decades, the average life expectancy of a person born in 2017 is still 78.8 years which is more than 10 years longer than the life expectancy in 1950. However, there is a significant difference between a person’s expected quantity of years and a person’s expected quality of life during those years.

While quantity of life is easily determined through gathering of statistics, how does one determine a person’s “quality” of life? According the World Health Organization (WHO) the quality of life can be determined through calculating “healthy aging” which is defined as a person’s functional ability to perform desired and necessary daily activities. Necessary activities would include things such as caring for oneself and doing normal activities to navigate successfully throughout the day. Desired activities would be those activities a person does for enjoyment and pleasure such as golfing, fishing, walking, swimming, playing cards and playing tennis as well as maintaining quality relationships with friends and family. Quality of life simply means functioning to a level so as to experience enjoyment in living each day. Who wants to have longevity without any quality?

Maintaining functional ability is the key to healthy aging. The problem is that statistics are showing that while longevity is remaining high, quality of life is not necessarily getting better for those over 65 and may actually be getting worse. On the good side, poverty rates for those over 65 have dropped from 30% in 1966 to 10% today meaning more access to good quality food and housing and the ability to do the things one wants to do financially. On the bad side, obesity rates have raised sharply in the past decade to 40% for the 65–74 year old population. With obesity comes other undesirable issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. In doctor’s offices today it’s becoming commonplace to simply see patients to manage chronic diseases rather than treating them for acute infections and conditions as in the past. We’ve done an amazing job at wiping out many of the health scourges of the 19th century but we seem to have exchanged them for the chronic illnesses of today. Managing chronic illnesses accounts for a large portion of the 4.2 billion prescriptions written each year. Today, the average American now gets 13 different prescriptions a year and prescription medication has also now grown to become the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. The question is, with more medications prescribed than ever before to treat the chronic effects of obesity, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices, are American’s enjoying a better quality of life as a result?

The answer isn’t in early detection of disease, but rather in prevention of disease. The key to prevention is in maintaining health each and every day. To break it down into 4 key areas, this simply means to eat well, move well, live well, and think well each and every day. Eating well seems to be more difficult today and there are a plethora of books just on the subject of diet. However, it’s really not as hard as the books are making it out to be. Very simply, eat more of the God made foods in their most natural state and less of the man made foods each day. Moving well requires sound structure of the body through proper posture, functional movement of the joints through full ranges of motion, and maintaining the strength of the supporting musculature. Living well requires getting up each day with a purpose, maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family, and doing the things you enjoy most as often as possible. And thinking well requires maintaining a positive outlook on life, forgiving others, being grateful for everything you have, and letting go of worry.

Healthy aging is a daily journey of doing the little things and developing the simple habits of healthy living through the four keys areas of eating well, moving well, living well and thinking well. There are no guarantees in life, but you can hedge your bets by doing the right things each day so that you can always enjoy the best quality of life during all your years of living!

Dr. Stokke is a Chiropractic Physician at Lifestyles Chiropractic located on Lindbergh Avenue next to Norman Love Confections. You may reach him at 239-334-9355, or visit


Student & Family News from the June Issue

Volunteers needed for the Neighborhood Accountability Boards of Lee County

A Neighborhood Accountability Board (NAB) is a voluntary diversion program for youth who committed a crime. Volunteers attend a NAB conference with the youth, youth’s parent/guardian, victim, and other NAB volunteers to develop a case plan for the youth. Volunteers represent the community in this process, addressing the harm caused to the community and how to repair the harm.

Volunteers are asked to complete an application, attend a free, one-day training session and observe two conferences. A background check is conducted on all potential volunteers. Volunteers are not required to commit to a set amount of hours; any amount of time given to the program is appreciated.

The next Neighborhood Accountability Board volunteer training will be 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at the Lee County Human and Veteran Services Building, 2440 Thompson St., Fort Myers. For additional information or to reserve a spot, contact Nora Donato-Hitchcock at 239-533-7947 or Lunch will be ordered from the Oasis Restaurant. Cost varies from $7 to $12, or you can bring your own.

NABs are scheduled in the community that the crime took place, located throughout Lee County. Conferences can last up to two hours. For more information, log on to


Summer Music Camps

The Music Foundation is holding summer music and art camps starting June 19 and running through July 21. There will be 23 different camps offered in all areas of instrumental and vocal music, including piano, guitar and ukulele as well as theater, visual arts and even digital design and culinary arts, This year there will be three special high school ensemble camps, however most of the camps are designed for middle school students with several for older elementary students and will include special master classes and exciting activities during break times. Camps run from 9 to 4 p.m. Cost is $150 per week, which includes breakfast, lunch and a T-shirt. Scholarships are available. The camps take place at Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School. More information can be found at or call 239-275-0057.


Summer ArtPlay Classes for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Alliance for the Arts will continue weekly art classes for young artists with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) this summer with three different sessions. The program, ArtPlay, is designed to engage children with ASD in the arts while focusing on identity development, self-awareness, self-esteem, social communication and building positive coping skills. Classes are taught by a certified art therapist and supported by an accredited behavioral analyst; classes run on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Cost is $10 per class; learn more at


Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium NatureLab Summer Camp

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium (CNCP) once again welcomes children of Southwest Florida from 6 years old to 15 years old, grades 1-10, to their weekly-themed “NatureLab Summer Camp” to be held each week from June 5 to August 9. The 105-acre nature center, located at 3450 Ortiz Ave, Fort Myers, Fl., is the perfect backdrop for fun, adventure, exploration and education that include activities in the museum, nature trails, planetarium and outdoor areas. Each camper will enjoy arts and crafts, hands-on experiments, and observation and fun encounters with animals, butterflies and nature. There is no registration fee and camp prices are $202/week for non-members, or $157/week for members. All the information you need to know is located on the Calusa Nature Center website at


Laser Light Show for June Solstice

The Laser Light Shows for June at the Planetarium are planned for the weekend of June 16-18 and June 23-25, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with evening showings at 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p. The cost is $10 per show and each show averages 40 minutes.

Just for kids, there are special Laser Light Matinees with beautifully told mythical stories in light and sound, designed to engage young students and stimulate their interest in learning about the night sky. Kids Laser Light Matinees will be shown Monday – Friday at 4 p.m. from June 16 through the 25. Each ticket is $5 and each show lasts around 30 minutes. Guests must arrive and purchase their ticket in the CNCP Museum by 3:50p to secure entrance into the Planetarium.

For a complete listing of each show’s musical offering, see the show schedule at


Daniels Road Baptist Church VBS

Residents are invited to join Daniels Road Baptist Church for its summer Vacation Bible School: Operation Arctic. Operation Arctic will take place June 12-16 from 9 a.m. to noon, and is open for children from 4 years old through 6th grade. Daniels Road Baptist Church is located at 5878 Daniels Parkway, one block west of Metro Parkway, off Daniels. For more information call 239-481-2416 or visit to register.