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Summer camp time! Johnson City Parks and Rec offers variety of options

Amanda Marsh • May 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

When school dismisses for the summer, children cheer and parents panic.

Summer camp is always an option to keep young minds and bodies busy, so Johnson City Parks and Recreation is offering several day camps through June and July.

Registrations for the various camps are open through May 31, and some of the more popular programs are already filling up. Robin DiMona, Johnson City Parks and Recreation services manager, says there are about 20 spots left for the Fit-to-Play Camp, which focuses on fitness.

“They get a chance to try all the sports, but they don’t have to be good at all of them,” DiMona said. “It gets them involved and they get to try things they’ve never done before.”

Fit-to-Play is a six-week camp held at the Freedom Hall auxiliary gym that begins June 11 and costs $150. It and other summer programs are open to ages 6-12, with the exception of the new Challenge Adventure Camp for eighth-10th graders.

The new program is an extension of Fit-to-Play, with the addition of more team-building activities and physical fitness. It’s a pilot program that Parks and Recreation has discussed adding to their summer lineup for several years.

“We wanted to try something that would get the younger teens involved instead of just being at the mall all day,” DiMona said. “We’re going to give them some different things to do that a 6-12-year-old wouldn’t be able to do.”

Challenge Adventure Camp is limited to 45 participants and begins June 11. The cost is $220.

DiMona says those who have outgrown the Fit-to-Play Camp will be excited that they can continue and go through a similar program, instead of their only option being to volunteer as a junior camp counselor.

Aside from full-time Parks and Recreation Staff, an additional 20 summer camp counselors will help supervise about 500 children who partake in summer programming.

“When the summer is out Parks and Recreation is in,” DiMona said. “We gear up for the summer.”

Although the most popular camps focus on fitness, there are several nature camp offerings, including the new Children of the Earth Camp.

Johnson City Parks Naturalist Brad Jones will host the weeklong camp at Robert Young Cabin in Winged Deer Park. Campers will play animal clue games, nature bingo and learn about the water cycle and food chain.

DiMona says the Youth Conservation and Ranger Camp, plus the Jr. Naturalist Camp, fill up quickly since there are only 35 spots in each one. The cost is $40 per camper.

Parks and Recreation also offers a seven-week Discovery Camp, broken into three session that begins June 4. This year’s theme is “My city in the country” and will include lessons about city government and the local transit system, as well as field trips to Tipton Haynes Historic Site and the Johnson City Farmers’ Market.

Campers can choose from a variety of programs during session two, beginning June 25, that focus on sports, nature or art. Even those who don’t sign up for Discovery Camp can still partake in these programs.

Each day of the City Slicker Sports Camp, held during session two, will be devoted to a different sport, and there will be a Color My City Art Camp and Nature in the City Camp.

Session three of Discovery camp begins July 2. The cost is $115 for the full seven weeks or $40 per session.

“I think we’re very special in that a lot of areas don’t have this variety of opportunities for the kids,” DiMona said. “Ours are always priced well because we want to make sure everyone can afford it.”

Summer camp registration is available online at www.myjcparks.org. Questions and paper registration forms can be found at Legion Recreation Center, 111 Legion St., or by calling 361-4850.

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