The has decided to try something new this year.
Through their newly implemented Day Camp program, children ages 7 to 17 are able to take advantage of a day of games, fun and music lessons and receive a healthy free lunch.
The Sports Park and Recreation Center Day Camp runs during the facility’s normal operating hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. For more information on the program call 619.628.1382.
Although the Recreation Center charges a $5 lifetime membership fee, membership is not required to participate in the camp.
Recreation Director Jim Coates said the decision to pilot the program was due largely to requests by community parents.
“A lot of adults have come to us and said that because of the way that the school years have changed that they don’t have anyone to watch their kids during the day, and that the places they have found are too expensive,” Coates said. “So an alternative was to have the kids come here and keep the cost down as much as possible.”
The lunches, which are being provided free-of-charge as part of a federal program, have been a big draw, he said.
“We have between 55 and 65 kids participating in the Day Camp program right now and the main reason they’re doing it is for the free lunches,” he said.
“The lunch program runs every day, Monday through Friday, and will take place until Day Camp ends on August 10. This is in addition to our normal programs, which include games, pool tables, our recording studio and other ongoing daily activities.”
The camp is also holding four community field trips for those interested in signing up.
“On July 20 we’ll be having our day at the beach, where we’ll take campers to tour the and then have fun and games down by the beach and water,” Coates said. “The trip will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the only thing parents need to do to have their child participate is to sign a waiver and pay a $2 fee. We’ll provide the rest, including snacks and lunch.”
Other trips will include a July 27 trip to the Coronado pool, a trip to the Tijuana Estuary Aug. 3, and a tour of the Imperial Beach Fire station. The date of that tour, however, is still to be determined.
Coates said the camper to staff ratio for these trips is 10 to 1 and there is no cap as to the number of people who can sign-up.
Signups start three weeks before the trip up until the trip and can in some cases, go right up until the day before, provided “there is an open spot and all of the paperwork is in,” he said.
Coates has been pleased with the success of the camp pilot program and is hopeful that the Recreation Center will be able to secure additional funding next year, allowing it to serve as a more formalized daycare facility.
“Right now we have an open door policy, meaning the kids can come and go as they please. We can’t make them stay because we’re not a day care,” he said.
“But we’re in the process of working with the health department, checking into our liability insurance, and going through all the other scenarios we need to go through to see if we can make that change.”