Many area youngsters are learning while also having a great deal of fun at Camp Awesome being held once again this summer at the Jackson Area YCMA.
Camp Awesome, which is for children in grades 1-6, began Monday, June 4 and will continue on weekdays through Friday, Aug. 3. Campers can attend whatever weeks they choose.
"It's just a chance for kids to be kids," YMCA Executive Director Shadra Jenkins exclaimed. "Camp Awesome is awesome!" She stressed that the camp, now in its seventh year, would not be possible without the support of sponsors and volunteers.
The head counselor for the summer-time sessions is Parker Davis. She is also getting a good dose of tangible experience in her field as an early-childhood education major at The University of Rio Grande (URG). Davis is also a member of the URG women's soccer team and aspires to be a teacher. She is proud of the Camp Awesome counseling staff members who are all college students.
The counseling staff consists of Cassidy Elliott, Travis Jayjohn, Turner McClure, Sheldon Moore, Cassidy Simon, Kyle Turner, Linda Lamb, Kinnison Donaldson and Annie Graham. They work with the campers and teach them a lot on a variety of subjects. Davis also pointed out the campers have recreational time built in inside the YMCA gym and also going to Hillcrest Pool every Friday. Campers receive lunch and a snack every day and take several field trips. Davis believes there are good vibes between the students and the counselors.
Camp Awesome includes educational time and play time throughout the sessions. Although there is a cost assessed to the campers, there were some full and partial scholarships available for families and youngsters who perhaps could not afford to attend otherwise. The camp was also made possible by a $10,000 grant issued by General Mills in Wellston.
The sessions are divided into a number of weekly themes or topics for the youngsters to study.
The first one, which was conducted June 4-8, was entitled "The Y's Got Talent." It involved giving the students a chance to sing, dance or perform comedy. The "Mission Possible" week June 11-15 is designed to test their detective skills while the "Splish-Splash" week June 18-22 takes the campers to the Hillcrest Pool all week. Swimming lessons will be provided to campers if needed. The "Artful Antics" week set for June 25-29 gives the students a chance to draw and be creative.
The "Expedition Awesome" week (July 2-6) centers around adventure while "League of Extraordinary Explorers" week (July 9-13) focuses on discovery. The "Barnyard Palooza" week (July 16-20) includes learning about animals with a field trip to the Jackson County Fair. The "Wacky Wonderful" week (July 23-27) includes some great games and activities while the final "Camp Rewind" week (July 30-Aug. 3) gives students a chance to relive some of his or her favorite camp activities.
Davis thanked all the parents, YMCA Executive Director Shadra Jenkins, General Mills and the counselors for all they do for the youngsters to make Camp Awesome a truly awesome experience.