Superhero camp wraps up for the season
Erin Rogers, Sentinel Leisure EditorWalker Meadows Youth Center held a 50-day Summer Spectrum camp for incoming second-graders through the fifth grade this summer that provides a safe place for children to learn throughout the entire summer season. With the summer coming to a close, the camp’s last day is Aug. 24.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The Summer Spectrum camp has a recurring theme every year of superheroes, one that has been in place since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. The idea is to keep the children focused on the United States service members being America’s superheroes.
“Super kids having super fun” is the motto every year for the camp, thought up around the notion that the Fort Hood’s children are the children of superheroes.
“We do camps during most of the breaks,” Letitia Lesene,
Walker facility director, said. “We hold them during Christmas break and spring break, as well as summertime. If we held them year-round, it wouldn’t be as special for the kids. These camps are something they can look forward to.”
During the daily activities, all of the grades interact with each other, instead of being separated by grade. Lesene said they don’t separate the children because it gives the older kids an opportunity to mentor the younger ones.
The weekly field trips they go on, however, are separated by grade. The field trip schedules are staggered throughout the week, mostly for the parents’ convenience. Second-graders might go on their weekly field trip every Monday, for example, and if it is bowling, then the parents know to pack bowling socks every Monday for their children. This makes it easy to keep track of who is going where, and when they are going.
“We like to keep the kids together during building activities, but it is nice for them to be with their respective age-groups on field trips, so they can all learn at the same pace,” Lesene said.
The Summer Spectrum camp staff also has a plan to prepare the fourth- and fifth-graders for their transition to the next youth center, as they will be moving due to their ages.
“The fourth- and fifth-graders go on longer field trips, like to Sea World or the Dallas Aquarium. But the younger ones go a little more local, to Waco or Austin,” Lesene said. “This is because in the older age groups at other youth centers, they go on field trips that are farther away much more often, so our fourth- and fifth-graders will be ready to go on those field trips when they progress to the next level.”
Along with the recurring Superhero theme, each year has a different subtheme, and this year they focused on 4-H activities. The children do things like cooking, gardening, arts and crafts, and other morning activities all centered around 4-H. All of the 4-H activities take place before lunchtime, along with a get-fit hour and technology in the computer room.
Breakfast, lunch and a snack are all provided at the Summer Spectrum camp, and the children eat together with their camp mates. After lunchtime, the daily trips begin and are sponsored through a partnership with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. These smaller trips include bowling, skating, swimming and a trip to Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area every Friday for the younger children.
“This camp is great,” Lesene said. “Not only for the children making new friends every year, but for the parents, as well. Parents know their children are safe here, and they’re learning while they are having fun.”