The playground at Thornbury’s Bayview Park saw a little extra use on July 24, as the Beaver Valley Outreach Summer Fun Day Camp took a field trip to visit the slides and the sand.
While the trip was a departure from the group’s usual stomping grounds at the Beaver Valley Arena, taking the campers out and about is a very regular occurrence when it comes to this particular camp.
“We try to plan a trip or an outing every week,” commented program supervisor Sherrie Lee.
This includes things like daily bicycle rides, as well as a recent trip to Fireman’s Park.
“We’ve done lots of messy things too – we did shaving cream tag, we did spaghetti tag,” Lee said. “We do a lot of old-style games, which is really nice to see them playing. They are right into skipping and hopscotch and drawing with chalk.”
The camp caters to children aged four to 12, and runs from Monday to Friday throughout July and August, from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The camp starts each year as soon as school lets out for the summer, and goes right up until the last Friday of the children’s summer break. This schedule proves that the BVO Summer Fun Day Camp is perfect for working parents who want to provide their children with a fun way to spend their summer, all with an affordable $30 per day price tag.
“I think that’s really important. There are lots of day camps out there, but they are specialized, and they can be expensive,” Lee said. “The nice thing about our camp is that you don’t have to book for the whole week. If you only need one day a week, you can book for that. If you only need two days all summer, that’s all you need to book.”
Aside from the convenient schedule, Lee also wants to ensure that the day camp provides the children with enriching activities to participate in. On July 24, for example, the kids were setting up a lemonade stand in Bayview Park.
“We draw from what the children want to do, and that way they’re taking ownership, and we’re just seeing how we can expand it,” Lee said. “With the lemonade, I could have went and bought canned lemonade, but we decided not to do that.”
Instead, Lee helped the campers research a homemade lemonade recipe, and guided them during their preparation.
“They knew they had to make syrup, they knew they needed lemons that they’d have to squeeze, and they made a sign,” Lee said. “By doing that, it’s making them think about the process. That way you’re pushing them to think, not just giving them the answers.”
While Lee is the supervisor of the camp, she doesn’t do it alone. This year she has some assistance in the form of four summer students who help to facilitate the program.
“Thanks to a lot of grants, we were able to have four students this summer, which makes a big difference,” she said. “Today we have 32 kids, so with five of us here, that’s about six kids each – it makes the ratio really nice.”
While they spend much of the day being active, there are also times when the campers decide to sit down and play games – though these particular games don’t usually require batteries or an internet connection. The campers use simple toys, blocks, board games, and even playing cards – which sometimes turn into building blocks themselves – for entertainment.
“When they’re playing those games, they are interacting socially, which is important. That’s what we want, we want them interacting with each other and making friends,” Lee said. “We’re really focusing on getting back to basics.”
Overall, Lee says that there are a few general goals that she focuses on when planning for a successful summer of camp.
“I want to make sure the kids are happy, having fun, and we’re doing what they want to do. I want it to be a fun summer,” she said. “Meeting the needs of the parents is another thing – we want to take care of their kids, and make sure they’re safe and happy.”
To learn more about the BVO Summer Fun Day Camp, visit their website by clicking here.