It's almost time for the second session of Hogwarts Summer School to begin.
Kids ages 8 to 12 are invited to the backyard camp in Elmhurst, centered around all things "Harry Potter." The first session wrapped up last month, but there are still plenty of spells to cast and duels to fight.
The camp is run by Caroline Dierksheide and Georgia Schneider, who both graduated from York High School last May.
This is not their first camp. Last year they ran a Percy Jackson camp, based on Rick Riordan's best-selling novels, Schneider said. The camps are similar, but this year, instead of Camp Half Blood, it's Harry Potter's Hogwarts.
Dierksheide and Schneider got lots of ideas from the Harry Potter Club at York—they both were members—and they looked at other camps around the country.
Campers cast "spells," practice wand motions and transfiguration, learn about mythical creatures and herbology, take flying lessons, play quidditch and make "gillywater" from soda and gummy worms, among other activities.
Campers need to have read at least some of the Harry Potter series so they know what's going on.
"The idea is to get the kids excited about reading," said Dierksheide, who will be majoring in art and creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis.
Schneider, who will major in history at University of Minnesota, said they really enjoy working with the kids.
"I like working with them. They come up with silly things—a lot," she said.
Churchville Middle Schooler Troy Fabrizius, 12, said he attended Camp Half Blood last year and is enjoying the Harry Potter Camp this year.
"It's really fun," he said. "We get to make potions and other cool things, like exploding lemonade."
The camp is held both inside and out at Dierksheide's Elmhurst home on Addison Avenue. The second session runs from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 8 to 19. The cost is $75 and includes a T-shirt, stuffed pet, broomstick and various crafting supplies. Registration and other information can be found on the Harry Potter Camp website, which also was created by Dierksheide and Schneider.
The camp is so much fun for Potter fans, they might not even realize they're learning something.
"Hopefully we'll get them excited to finish reading the series, because I don't think any of them have yet," Dierksheide said.