If itâ€™s up to the staff of Lincolnton/Lincoln County Parks and Recreation, middle school students wonâ€™t be spending their summer days at home without supervision.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of concern from parents of middle school students who arenâ€™t quite ready to leave their children alone,â€ said Erma Deen Hoyle, director of Lincolnton/Lincoln County Parks and Recreation.
The organization has offered a day camp to elementary school students since the â€™70s, but they have yet to establish one for middle school students.
They hope to draw in kids with promises of white water rafting, rock climbing and water balloon wars.
â€œThe field trips will be a little more interactive,â€ said Nate Halubka, the summer playground coordinator. â€œThe activities will be geared towards middle school students.â€
To spread the word staff have gone to after-school programs promoting the camp.
They have received support from Communities in Schools, who have the same objective of keeping kids active and supervised.
The summer camp promises to be fun, but Halubka says that educational activities will be added in wherever possible.
For example, the water balloon war will be tied into historical wars, and a field trip to South Mountain will provide an opportunity for learning about Native Americans.
The camp will also be visited by a bookmobile as part of a summer reading program.
The focus, however, will always be on fun.
â€œItâ€™s not an extension of school,â€ said Halubka. â€œThe kids are out of school. They donâ€™t want to sit and have lessons all day.â€
Some campers might be confused at first by the central location of the camp. Because it is a county run program, the group meets in gyms of schools throughout Lincoln County.
To avoid boredom and provide an opportunity for students all over the county to be involved, the site will switch every week.
â€œThe kids donâ€™t get the feeling that theyâ€™re stuck in any location,â€ said Halubka.
Students might spend the summer being supervised by their favorite teacher. The majority of the campâ€™s staff is made up of teachers on break for the summer.
â€œIf you have staff thatâ€™s in contact with the age group constantly, they have a better feel for what the kids need and expect,â€ said Halubka.
Even with teachers in charge and school gyms acting as central locations, the camp wonâ€™t be confused with school.
Swimming, crafts, bowling and movies will be part of the camperâ€™s curriculum.
Halubka also promises to listen to the opinions of campers.
â€œYou have a set schedule you want to go by, but the camp is for the kids,â€ said Halubka. â€œThey know more what they want.â€
The camp starts on June 7 and lasts until July 31. Each week costs $70 for one child and $65 for each additional child in the same family. The hours of operation will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every weekday. For more information call 704-735-2671 or stop by Betty G. Ross Park in Lincolnton.by Sarah Grano