By Cara Pattison
The Yukon Community Center Summer Camp kept kids movin’ and groovin’ this summer with a full schedule of busy activities.
Offered eight weeks in the summer to youth ages 5-11, youth spent their summer at the Community Center engaged by Yukon Parks & Recreation staff, center manager Justin Chapman said.
“Instead of playing on devices all summer, the 40 kids we entertained were able to stay busy with a variety of fun and games at the camp,” he said. “We wanted to provide a true recreation experience for children that lets them experience Yukon and all that it has to offer – as well as some fun field trips outside the city.”
Summer camp participants kept Yukon’s parks and rec facilities busy by going swimming twice a week at City Splash Pool, visiting the splash pad at Sunrise Park, playing in the Community Center gym and local playgrounds, and attending city sponsored events.
“Our kids participated in each Friday Fun Day. They met local heroes at the Touch-A-Truck event, fished during the Fishing Derby, and raced turtles at Mulvey’s Pond. The kids touched unusual animals at the Extreme Animals event, ran around Chisholm Trail Park during the Scavenger Hunt, threw disc golf at Welch Park, and rocked out at the Glow Party held in the Community Center.”
In addition, the campers jumped on a bus once per week and took field trips to places like Yukon on Wheels, Oklahoma Science Museum, Oklahoma City Zoo, Harn Homestead, Martin Nature Park, and Playbox in Mustang.
Overseeing the experience was a team of two program specialists and 10 camp counselors. Specialists Jackson Hearst and Stori Bass oversaw the day-to-day operations of the camp – from creation of activities to assisting with training of part-time staff. The duo began planning activities, crafts, and field trips in January.
“Jackson and Stori are the blood and bones of the summer camp,” Chapman said. “They oversee spring break, winter break, and fall break staff, as well as the Community Center children’s programming. Needless to say, they are full of fun ideas to keep kids engaged and moving.”
In addition, Chapman said a full staff of camp counselors kept the weekly activities on schedule and served as good role models for the youth.
He said that many of the camp counselors have a dedication to keeping the camp fun, as they were campers back in their youth, too.
“A fun story. I found out last week that our assistant city manager Jason Beal, engaged in conversation with a man and woman who met as kids at the Community Center Summer Camp and are now married! Needless to say, the friendships the kids make at camp can be lasting!
We have summer camp kids that participate in Parks and Rec activities throughout the year at various events, too.”
Chapman believes that the hard work and passion that Parks and Rec staff put into each week is what keeps the camp returning each summer.
“Parents keep bringing their kids back each summer due to the recreation opportunities that we are able to provide them,” he said. “The love and care that we put into our camps make them something special. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place for the kids that shows the passion for parks and rec that we show in our programs.
“We put everything we can into our programs to provide positive experiences that turn into lifelong memories. Kids walk away with something they remember for the rest of their lives. I think we have something special here.”
While summer camp is wrapping-up the first week of August, YPR has some upcoming opportunities for kids to get involved in recreation.
The Yukon Fall Classic baseball team tournament will be Aug. 5-6, Youth NFL Flag Football League begins Aug. 21, Young Photographers kicks-off Aug. 21, Young Artists starts Aug. 21, Young Chefs program ensues Aug. 22, The Learning Connection starts Aug. 21, Young and Active PE sessions begin Aug. 21, Kids Night Out “Art in the Park” will be Aug. 25 for kids, and Youth Basketball Leagues form in November. For more details, call the Yukon Parks & Rec office at (405) 350-8937.