Record numbers served by county day camps

July 19, 2013
Charles Jones, 13, watches as Lillian Gencel, 7, of Carmichaels challenges Gaidge Conner, 7, to a game of checkers during day camp Friday at Lions Club Park in Waynesburg. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – It has been a record year for the Greene County Day Camps program so far, with a record number of 1,000 kids registered. The average has been between 500 and 600 in the past.

Jake Blaker, director of recreation for Greene County, said it has been a crazy year for the camps.

“In the beginning, we thought we were going to have to add an additional bus to the Jefferson camp and then came the rain,” he said.

It is the first time in the history of the program that the county camps were shut down for three consecutive days.

Registration was up across the board, but the jumps at Monview and Ryerson park day camps were the most surprising, Blaker said. Ryerson, which averaged about 25 to 30 campers, topped 100 kids this year. Blaker said he has no clue what drove the numbers there so high, but he is all about helping kids so he’ll take it.

The numbers slowly started to rise, but hot days like Friday still keep some parents from bringing the campers out of their air-conditioned homes.

The camp runs for six weeks each summer from mid-June until the end of July. Camp hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Camps are held at the Lions Club Park in Waynesburg, Wana B Park in Carmichaels, Monview Park in Greensboro, Ryerson Station State Park in Wind Ridge and Jefferson Township Park in Jefferson. Campers are bussed from the Bobtown Elementary School to Mon View Park. Campers from the Nineveh area are bussed from the Morris Township Community Center in Nineveh to Ryerson Station State Park.

Campers from the Jefferson day camp attend in the afternoon, so they can swim at Wana B Park in Carmichaels.

The camp is free for all county children ages 5 to 15 years old with a nominal fee of $2 per child if they choose to swim in the afternoon.

Campers receive lunch at all sites through a partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Community Foundation of Greene County. Lunch is prepared by the Carmichaels Area and Central Greene school districts as part of the Greene County Summer Food Program, an initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the state Department of Education.

The camp provides children with opportunities to do hands-on craft projects, participate in various sports and make new friends.

All children at camp have the option of participating in the annual Camp Challenge program, designed to educate young people about positive life and career choices, through fun and interactive activities.

A track and field day will be held at the Waynesburg Central High School Raider Field of Pride during the last week of day camp for campers ages 5 to 8. Campers ages 9 to 15 will have the opportunity to take a field trip to Pittsburgh for a tour of the city and rivers with Just Ducky Tours. The track and field and city trips are offered to campers who participate in and attend a minimum number of Camp Challenge sessions.

The camp will come to a close on July 26 with an end-of-camp picnic at Wana B Park in Carmichaels, sponsored by the Greene County Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Rotary Club of Waynesburg. Picnic activities will include a “Wizard Fun House,” obstacle course and boulder dash.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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