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If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with your young Mac fan this summer and you’re within a reasonable drive of one of Apple’s retail stores, how about Apple Camp ? It’s free, but reservations are going fast — in fact, some sessions already have waiting lists, so sign up quickly.

Unlike the outdoor variety of camp, activities like cooking s’mores by the campfire and singing Kumbaya aren’t on the agenda of the Apple Camp. These are actually three separate sessions that last for two and a half hours each where “campers” can learn how to make movies, manipulate digital photos, or create music on their Macs.

My older son recently joined a video club formed by our local 4-H chapter, so this dovetails perfectly with his interest in manipulating digital video. And while the closest Apple Store is a haul from our house (more than an hour and a half away), it’ll be a fun thing for us to do together when the session happens next month. Kids under 13 need to be accompanied by their parent, which is a relief: It’ll give me an excuse to stick with him instead of succumbing to the temptation of buying a new Mac.

In most cases, campers can bring their own laptops and digital gear (cameras, digital camcorders) with them if they want, though Apple will provide computers, material and peripherals to use for those who don’t.

After the session is over, campers get a free disc chock full of the project they’ve worked on (CD or DVD, depending on which session they’re attending), a T-shirt, patches, field guide, and a certificate of achievement. Plus, of course, the reward that comes from doing something really cool and creative with a Mac.

There are a few retail store locations that aren’t participating in Apple Camp this summer, so make sure to check out the Apple Camp Web site for more details.

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