Non-Profits Offer Summer Camps and More
Summer will be here before you know it. If you have youngsters in your family and you’re beginning to think about fun, worthwhile activities for them, be sure to check out the camps and youth programs held by various local non-profits. Some have already started registration and may have limited space, so don’t delay.
There are both day and overnight programs, with activities ranging from nature hikes, horseback riding, and water sports to art, crafts, drama, and music, from ecology, robotics, and rocketry to leadership and counselor training.
There are also opportunities to help others less fortunate, either through volunteer service projects with other youth or through donations.
The Shenandoah Youth Science & Technology Center will hold science/technology day camps for students in Coweta, Harris, and Heard counties. The hands-on sessions run from 9:00 am to noon. Here’s the line-up:
Amazing Science Tricks – for rising kindergarteners and first graders; held at Thomas Crossroads Elementary
Explore, Explode, Examine – for rising second and third graders; held at Thomas Crossroads Elementary
Fantastic Science – for rising four-year-old Pre-K; held at Thomas Crossroads Elementary
Illusions of Science – for rising fourth and fifth graders; held at Thomas Crossroads Elementary
Robots, Rockets, and Robotic Bugs – for rising fourth through ninth graders; held at Moreland Elementary
Bugs for Breakfast – for rising kindergarteners through second graders; held at Moreland Elementary
For more information, visit www.shenandoahgystc.org or call 770-253-4632.
YMCA programs promote character development through activities that develop spirit, mind, and body. Summit/Fayette YMCA’s day camp program has two types. Traditional camps include activities such as swimming, group games, crafts, archery (if age appropriate), sports, and environmental education. Specialty camps include Counselor in Training and Leaders in Training sessions for teens, and “Moving On,” which takes campers on a variety of field trip locations and blends fun and educational components.
There are also some new camps for 2011, reports Executive Director Jeff Alevy. “There’s a Christian camp; a World Camp, which focuses on different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds; and a climbing camp, which teaches kids the basics of rock climbing and safety. And the Y is collaborating with local organizations to identify children who are high functioning with Asberger’s, autism, and Down’s Syndrome, for a pilot program called Friends Camp.”
YMCA day camp is held at a 29-acre site, recently renovated and complete with an air-conditioned lodge for activities, swimming pools, an athletic field, and a covered pavilion. In some cases, campers may also participate in sports and other aquatics-related activities at the Y’s state of the art facility in Newnan.
One of the most heartwarming comments Alevy recalls from previous sessions came from a parent who was undergoing chemotherapy. “The Y has been a blessing to me and my family while I was in treatment. The staff is extremely caring, sensitive, and supportive, and I always felt that my child was in a safe place. I am indebted to the YMCA.”
For more information, visit www.ymcaatlanta.org. For information on financial assistance, call Camp Director Amy Girouard at 770-254-5923.
Fayette County 4-H has a varied line-up of summer camps for fourth to eighth graders. “These camps offer a wonderful opportunity for youth,” says Craig Gross, County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension for Fayette County. He offers an overview of the schedule for Fayette.
“Cloverleaf Camp (June 13-17, for fourth to six graders) at Rock Eagle in Eatonton is the most popular. It has lots of opportunities for youth from all social and economic areas to explore, have fun, develop leadership skills, and get involved. It has an Indian theme.” Among the activities and topics are archery, climbing, putt-putt golf, rocketry, ropes, sailing, swimming, zip line, archeology, Indian lore, conservation, wildlife, entomology, forestry, herpetology, lake ecology, nature walks, photography, cooking, and crafts.
“Senior Camp at Rock Eagle (July 4-8) is a leadership development and citizenship enrichment camp, tailored for and conducted by high schoolers,” Gross continues. Plans range from a ropes course and zip line to a Youth Carnival, and include a trip to the University of Georgia in Athens.
Junior Camp (June 20-24, for seventh and eighth graders) is held at Camp Fortson in nearby Hampton. “Participants get the opportunity to experience Atlanta-area attractions and events like the Stone Mountain Laser Show, Whitewater, and Thursday Night Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” says Gross. “There’s also the zip line and climbing wall, snakes, turtles, alligators, and a pond ecology class.”
The Marine Resources Camp (July 4-8, for seventh and eighth graders) focuses on marine and coastal life and is held on Jekyll Island, with a side trip to Cumberland Island. “Activities include swimming, crabbing, beachcombing, biking, kayaking and canoeing, hunting for sharks’ teeth, a trip on a shrimp boat, and exploring the marshes.”
The schedule for Coweta County 4-H camps is:
Cloverleaf Camp (5th – 6th grades): Rock Eagle, June 20 – 24
Junior Camp (7th – 8th grades): Fortson, June 13 – 17
Marine Resource Camp (6th-8th grades): Jekyll Island, July 4 – 8
Senior Camp (9th-12th grades): Rock Eagle, July 4 – 8.
The Girl Scouts will host overnight camps at Camp Meriwether, in the nearby county of the same name. “There’s a variety of activities, such as swimming, archery, crafts, dance, and indoor and outdoor cooking,” reports Shana Davis. “Campers may also sign up for horseback riding. All levels, from beginning to experienced, are offered every week of the summer. Our goal is for each girl to have a successful social learning experience while at camp. Through great activities and community living, we create an environment that teaches resilience and self-reliance.”
Camp Meriwether, described by parents as “beautiful and well-kept,” offers adult counselors and air-conditioned cabins. There’s a choice of session length for overnight camp, from two to five nights. A day camp option is also available for most weeks of the
Feedback from previous summers has been enthusiastic. A typical comment: “My daughter developed some great life skills while having a fantastic time.” Another parent observed, “My daughter feels that she can do anything after facing the challenges at camp. She is quite shy, but set goals about talking to new girls and making new friends. She met her goals and has gained lots of confidence.”
There will also be Girl Scout day camps in Newnan and Peachtree City. For more information, visit www.girlscoutsofgreateratlanta.org.
Among the Boy Scouts’ plans is day camp for Cubs, themed “Cubs Race to Space: The Final Frontier.” It will be held June 20-24 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Highlights include archery, crafts, sports, and nature activities. Participants receive a patch and T-shirt. Last year, relates Nori Kiser, Coweta County Camp Director, one Cub proclaimed, “This was the best week of my life!”
For more information, visit www.flintrivercouncil.org.
The Newnan Community Theatre Company (NCTC) offers KidsCamp for youngsters 5 – 12. Attendees learn everything necessary to put on a show, from designing and building sets to writing skits and creating characters to staging and rehearsing their creation and presenting it in front of an audience.
The camps, held the weeks of July 19 and July 26, run Monday through Friday and conclude with a performance Saturday morning. There’s a choice of half-day or full-day format. Included is a T-shirt, a pizza party for Friday’s lunch, and free admission to the Saturday show for friends and family. Costumes, props, and make-up are provided.
For more information, visit www.newnantheatre.org.
Camps at the Calvin Center
The Calvin Center in Hampton, a ministry of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta PC (U.S.A.), offers an extensive schedule of camps in June and July, for ages from three years old to senior high.
Among the activities and themes are canoeing, hiking, climbing, archery, ropes, pottery, arts and crafts, team challenges, and Bible study. There are specialty camps for adventure, horseback riding, music, art, drama, and dance, which develop said skills in addition to providing general camp activities.
Camp Calvin also offers Reach Out, a program of day and overnight camp for youth (13 – 20) and adults (21+) with special needs. Campers participate in classic activities like swimming, pottery, and canoeing, plus therapeutic horseback riding. All activities are age and ability appropriate.
Donations to Camp Remix Brighten Summer for Youngsters
Many families take it for granted that their youngsters will go to summer camp. But not all families are so fortunate.
Camp Remix is a program of Grandparents and Kin Raising Children (GKRC), a division of Fayette FACTOR. It’s a weekend that lets youngsters aged 7 – 14 in relative-care placement enjoy swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and campfire activities. Since these children may experience grief, confusion, anger, or loss from the absence of a biological parent, there are also therapeutic activities such as art, skits, and group discussions with trained facilitators.
Donations and volunteer support make the event possible and allow waived or minimal fees for participants.
Both campers and their caregivers have been grateful for previous sessions. Typical comments are “awesome,” “a blessed experience,” and “I wish this camp could be a whole week!” There were reports like “After the girls came home, for a week that’s all they talked about“ and “The counseling that [my child] received is still fresh in his mind. He’s helping me now.”
For more information about donating to Camp Remix, contact Wil James at 678-314-2144, or mail your donation (payable to GKRC) to GKRC, P.O. Box 2069, Peachtree City, GA 30269.
IMPACT from Square Foot Ministry Blends Service, Fun
IMPACT is a program of Square Foot Ministry (SFM) especially for sixth to twelfth graders. The event combines service projects for local non-profits during the day with evening programs. There’s also a kick-off dinner. Impact 2011 is June 7 – 10.
“We hold it every year in the summer, after school’s out,” says Doug Higgins, one of SFM’s founders. “It’s a way to get kids plugged into volunteering and community involvement. This will be our ninth year. Last year we had 152 kids and adults.”
The program is open to and organized through Fayette churches. The 2010 participants were Sandy Creek Baptist, Fayetteville Christian Church, Inman UMC, Providence UMC, Brooks UMC, and Fayetteville First UMC. “Each church group supplies one adult to every five to six youth, and provides their transportation,” explains Tommy Webb of SFM. “We also ask them to bring a cooler and tools, if possible. There’s no charge to participate, and we provide meals as well as supplies and equipment. Each project is run by a SFM project manager and a staff member from the non-profit being helped.”
Planning for IMPACT 2011 was still underway at presstime, but Webb’s account from 2010 gives a good idea of what to expect. “We started each morning at Fayetteville First UMC for prayer, breakfast, and a short message. Then the groups headed out for the day. At the sites they were welcomed by someone from each non-profit, who explained to them about the group’s mission and the people they serve.” Among the project sites were Georgia Baptist Children’s Home in Palmetto and Healing Rein in Tyrone.
“The tasks were things like painting and repairing fences, removing fallen trees, scraping paint, spreading pine straw, organizing a food pantry and clothing room, cleaning out barns, and general yard work — it depended on each group’s needs. Lunch was included, and dismissal was at 3:00.”
“The evening events were at Fayetteville Christian Church, with dinner, a program, and a speaker each night. Youth praise bands from Fayetteville Christian Church, Flat Creek Baptist Church, and Fayetteville First UMC performed. Speakers were from Action of Faith Ministries, SFM, and other groups. Two youth from Fayetteville First UMC shot and edited the daily video of the projects, and it was shown each night.”
IMPACT provides young people with a vivid example of the difference they can make by helping others. “For the past four years, IMPACT has been the largest and most effective volunteer group helping us maintain our buildings and grounds,” says Steven Farr, Director of Support Services & Safety at Georgia Baptist Children’s Home. “Their support has saved us thousands of dollars and countless man-hours each year.”
Doug Higgins of SFM also notes, “The more we can expose our children to needs in our community, the more they’ll truly appreciate what they have.”