Springfield Promise Neighborhood plans summer camps for middle schoolers

Credit: Brett Turner

Credit: Brett Turner

Springfield residents with middle school-aged children who are looking for summer camp activities are in luck this summer — Springfield Promise Neighborhood is expanding summer camp opportunities to two full months of exciting extended learning and enrichment.

Kali Lawrence, director of Springfield Promise Neighborhood, explains the offerings are available to kids aged 11 to 14. Multiple camp programs will give kids a variety of activities to choose from. One week will also be available for kids aged 7 to 10 to enjoy.

“We’re working with Partners in Prevention to offer a week-long, full-day camp called Better Together focusing on prevention education, career development, relationship building, online safety, healthy boundary setting, kindness and respect and cultural appreciation.”

Another camp offering in conjunction with Planned Parenthood is called Camp MEE (for Movement, Enrichment, Empowerment) will focus on health and wellness, providing factual information in a fun setting. Pregnancy prevention will be part of the program, but Lawrence says there is so much more covered.

“They do a really good job in helping kids to make healthy, responsible choices. There’s information on building healthy relationships, boundary setting, as well as career development,” she said.

Camp MEE is slated for June 24-28.

Following up on the success of last year’s Community Garden Camp, another June camp week will be devoted to gardening at the Community Garden location on Linden Avenue.

“This camp is aimed at younger students,” Lawrence said. “The schools do Earth Science between third and fifth grade, so we’re involving kids ages 7 to 10. We did it for the first time last year and had a total blast. Kids were so into it.”

Lawrence said the Community Garden, which is just shy of one acre, serves as a community gathering spot where education, programming and family connection can happen.

In July Springfield Promise Neighborhood will partner with The Ohio State University and Clark County Combined Health District to offer LIFEsports Camp for middle schoolers.

“There will be a lot about sport fundamentals, teamwork, exercise, staying active, healthy choices. Participants will also get exposure to some new sports, like pickleball, lacrosse, tennis, yoga and mindfulness with the goal is to build a healthy mindset.

All camp offerings will include breakfast and lunch.

“Our kids need opportunities in the summer,” Lawrence said. “So in addition to what we’re doing, we are compiling a list of any and every summer camp opportunity we know of that we can advertise to families. Most are locally run or coordinated.”

One of those, Lawrence shared, is Camp Oty’Okwa, offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters. A week is already set aside at the end of July/early August exclusively for kids from Springfield.

“Fifty or sixty kids go to Camp Oty’Okwa, which is in southeast Ohio and get that traditional camp experience of staying in a cabin, canoeing, swimming, hiking, archery, all kinds of camp activities. They’ve set aside a week just for Springfield kids, which is really special. That happens right after our final session of LIFEsports is over.”

Parents can find additional information about camp offerings for school age kids online, as Springfield Promise Neighborhood is compiling and sharing camp offerings on their website and on their social media Facebook site. Lawrence encourages parents to visit www.springfieldpromise.com or follow Springfield Promise Neighborhood on Facebook for updates and information on the full array of offerings available.

“We’re trying to offer programs ourselves and also advocate for other things that are happening in the community,” Lawrence said. “A big part of our work is getting information out there — letting parents know what is available.”

Lawrence also invited parents to mark their calendars for May 18 from 12 to 4 pm, when Springfield Promise Neighborhood will offer a Spring Fling at Hayward Middle School open to all parents and middle school students. It will include “as many youth program providers as we can gather together to provide registrations for summer opportunities for kids of all ages.”

For Springfield Promise Neighborhood, the summer camp offerings are just one of many projects and programs aimed at developing the extended learning and enrichment opportunities essential to strengthening families and supporting academic and social success for children.

Promise is also part of a newly formed Youth Empowerment Taskforce (YET) comprised of key youth and family partners in the Springfield community. YET is working to increase collaboration, coordination, and communication between youth programs.

Lawrence encouraged parents to visit www.springfieldpromise.com or follow Springfield Promise Neighborhood on Facebook for updates and information on the full array of offerings available throughout the year designed to support city schools and enhance the educational experience of families and children.

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