Parks and Rec Department Provides Forum for Playing and Growing It’s been said that play is the work of childhood, when youth sharpen skills like self-direction and peer communication. Richardson Parks and Recreation is providing a forum for kids to play hard this summer in day camps for campers ages 5-15.
Summer day camps are based at Heights Recreation Center and Jess Harben Elementary School. Throughout the day, camp-goers compete in pastimes like dodgeball, board games and craft projects, and in a mix of structured and unstructured activities. Campers are on the move too, with play and swim outings, and field trips at area locations ranging from LEGOLAND to Hurricane Harbor.
The regular camp activities are especially welcome after last year’s summer camps opened later and included modified activities due to COVID-19. This year, camp staff continue to monitor campers’ health and take necessary precautions. Most of the summer day camps have a waiting list.
Channing Montgomery, Recreation Coordinator, said many of this summer’s campers are new to the program. Parents signed up early when registration opened in the spring.
“The parents love this option and they know their children will have fun,” he said. “At camp, children get to be part of a community that reinforces good behavior like empathy, integrity, respect and working together as a team. The children make friends and it’s a win for everyone.”
Camp counselors are dedicated, serving as role models for the children.
“I’m so lucky to have the counseling staff I have,” Montgomery said. “Some of the counselors were former campers themselves.”
Camp counselor Savannah Armitage, 16, said the role fits into her plan to become a teacher.
“I always loved being at camp. I attended a lot of camps when I was younger and always wanted to be a counselor. I really love working with kids,” she said. “It’s a very fun camp where kids learn good values.”
10-year-old Mason Worthy returned to camp for the second summer this year.
“I told my parents that I had fun and made a lot of friends, so they said, ‘Why not sign you up again?’ I really love all of the activities we do,” he said.
Megan Baker, 13, said she liked the mix of games and field trips.
“I can get lazy or bored in the summer when I just stay home and I think this is a really good way to stay active,” she said.
Jacob Hube, 15, said, “This is my go-to every single summer. I like getting to be around other people and doing fun games like dodgeball and soccer. I’ve especially liked getting to be outside; I don’t do that very much and I forgot how much I enjoy it.”
Parks and Rec hosts camps throughout the year. Watch for upcoming information on the Fall Camp and Winter Camp, as well as the Recess Program. Stay up-to-date at www.cor.net/recguide and www.facebook.com/richardsonparksandrec.