The scorching heat didn’t stop the playful laughter that came from the field next to the on June 16, as children participated in games and activities, which were a part of Temple Terrace’s 2011 Summer Youth Program.
The 10-week program began last week. Each day involves activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, games, sports, themed events, and even optional field trips.
Kids were participating in activities such as Booger Wars, hamster ball races, and even a Wii gaming tent. The activities were sponsored by locally-based business, Games2U. Later, the Temple Terrace Police Department was stopping by to talk to the kids about bullying.
According to Danielle Perez, youth program coordinator, the camps are specially designed to keep the children’s attention stimulated by offering a wide range of different activities throughout the day.
“Our counselors are constantly changing up the activities for the kids so they don’t get restless or bored,” said Perez. “We are always thinking on our feet and adapting to their needs, as they might not want to do something everyone else is doing. We just try to keep it exciting, and we always try our best to get more activities out here that the kids can enjoy.”
Perez also explained that during these activities, children are having fun, but also learning important skills.
“When they sit idle or bored, they might not make the greatest decisions, so we try to help them stay as active as possible, and we help them learn how to interact with each other,” said Perez. “They are learning and they don’t even know it.”
The summer youth program has been offered in the community since the 70s, according to Temple Terrace’s Leisure Services Director Ken James Chambers Jr.
“This program has been around for awhile, and in the 90s we increased the amount of field trips for the children at the request of the parents,” he said. “There weren’t as many places to go to back then like there are now.”
The field trips are offered at an additional cost, and the program has already been involved in three field trips in its first week.
“For the most part, we try to partner with a lot of our Temple Terrace businesses and attractions, especially ones that cater to the little ones because Mom and Dad might not want their kids to go that far on a field trip,” Perez said. “For the older kids, we go to places like and children museum. We are even going to next week.”
The Summer Youth Program costs $465 and is offered from June 13 to Aug. 19, but parent’s can also sign their children up by the month. The program is available to children from kindergarten to eighth-grade and runs Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“These kids are here all day for 10 weeks—parents are definitely getting their money’s worth,” said Perez. “You can’t even get a babysitter for a week for that cost.”