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Gulf & Main Magazine

Register Now for Lee County Summer Camps

Apr 05, 2018 04:42PM ● Published by Kevin

Registration is now open for Lee County Parks and Recreation Summer Camp, which annually draws thousands of youngsters to programs, outings and activities at the department’s traditional camps, teen camps and specialty camps.

Parents are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible – each year the allotted spaces at Estero Recreation CenterWa-Ke Hatchee Park Recreation Center, and Lakes Regional Park fill up well before school ends. Camp registration is ongoing as long as space is available. Registration for swimming lessons and other aquatics programs begin today. Summer camp runs eight weeks – from June 11 through Aug. 3.

"It's a lot of fun," said marketing coordinator Jacob Derums. "Our camps are awesome. They're all Department of Children and Families-licensed. Our counselors are great. It's just a really good time."

The camps are offered on a weekly basis. The traditional camps are for children ages 6 to 13 (on or before Sept. 1). Day camp activities include arts and crafts, sports, organized games, quiet play, educational speakers, water activities, outdoor activities, and occasional field trips.

Camps are held at AlvaBoca GrandeEsteroMatlacha, North, OlgaVeterans and Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Centers. Lakes Regional Park also offers Camp Tahini Hatchee, an outdoor camp with focus on fishing, kayaking and assorted outdoor activities. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended-care hours to relieve working parents' stress. The camp day begins as early as 7:30 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. The cost is $75 per week.

Teen camps have "non-traditional" activities with a splash of traditional games and activities geared toward campers' interests, such as archery and kayaking. Teens will travel around Lee County and participate in community service projects. Many of the activities will focus on core beliefs and values such as leadership, reliability, integrity and good citizenship skills. Teen camps are for youth ages 12 to 16. Programming hours run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours that begin as early as 7:30 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. These camps are $100 per week.

There are also specialty camps available. These camps fall outside the standard camp ages (see each camp for age requirements) and offer a specific focus. Each specialty camp is an in-depth week on a particular concentration. Specialty camps, the department's website says, "are for kids who have a true passion for the topic at hand, such as Nature & Wildlife, Junior Lifeguarding, Health & Fitness and other unique themes." Specialty camps are offered at Boca Grande, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, Manatee Park, Caloosahatchee Regional and various swimming pools. Hours vary for these one-week specialty camps.

Finally, special needs camps are also available. These camps are designed for participants with special physical and/or developmental delays. All potential special needs camp participants are required to complete an assessment by Parks & Recreation's Special Needs department in order to register. Campers with varying disabilities have the opportunity to register in the Special Needs summer camp programs upon assessment. Working with the inclusion team, campers are ensured to have a successful and enjoyable summer camp experience. Call 239-267-2181 for an assessment.

Prices for specialty and special needs camps vary.

If you plan to register for camp at one of the four large recreation centers, you need to obtain a family membership first, which can be obtained at the parks and recreation center's physical location at 3410 Palm Beach Blvd. in Fort Myers.

All campers will receive a specially designed Lee County Parks & Recreation t-shirt. Camp sites will participate in countywide initiatives, such as service learning projects, fitness and wellness programs, and National Park and Recreation Month. The 2018 theme for the National Recreation and Park Association is “A Lifetime of Discovery” and encourages involvement in some of the “undiscovered” elements of Parks & Recreation departments.

"They fill up quick," Derums said. "Our camps are all really popular."

For summer camp and aquatic registration call 239-533-7275, go online to LeeParks.org or email leeparks@leegov.com.
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