Town Talk Features

Planning for Summer Fun

For more than 40 years, the Summer Opportunities Fair has helped St. Louis families look beyond the winter chill to the sun and fun of warmer months. Run by volunteers and sponsored by Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School, John Burroughs School and Whitfield School, the fair showcases a variety of camps and activities for children and teens that foster intellectual curiosity, promote physical activity and offer plenty of opportunities for fun. While the pandemic has thrown a wrench into so many long-term plans, the Summer Opportunities Fair is still offering resources to families to prepare for the months ahead. Instead of an in-person event, information is available on the fair’s website.

“Even not knowing what spring and summer will look like, parents still can start gathering information and planning,” says Becky Marsh, Whitfield’s director of marketing and communications. “We felt it was incumbent upon us to move forward with this service to the community.” To transition the event online, organizers had to determine how to make it easily accessible to families, but also manageable for volunteers to maintain. “A unique feature of the event is that it is parent-driven,” Marsh notes. “We wanted to make sure they could continue to facilitate things with support from the schools’ administrators.”

Those in charge also wanted to show support for the camps that usually participate. “Like so many businesses, they are facing difficult times,” Marsh says. On the Summer Opportunities Fair website, the camps who exhibited at last year’s event are organized into a variety of categories based on interest, age and more. From sports and wilderness to academics and the arts, parents can explore topics relevant to their children’s interests and find local, national and international options. It provides links to each camp’s website so they can easily see what is being offered in 2021. The website will remain live through the spring and summer. “We will constantly update with information exhibitors provide us,” adds Rob Kampen, Whitfield’s assistant director of business and facilities.

This year has started with uncertainty, but St. Louisans can still make plans for the future. The Summer Opportunities Fair can help answer families’ questions about summer plans, and Kampen says that even with so much uncertainty, there is one thing people can count on. “The fair will be back in 2022,” he notes. “We’re still working out the details, but it absolutely will continue.”

To check out the Summer Opportunities Fair, visit