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Cape camps serve kids by the thousands

By Staff | Jun 13, 2019

Cape Coral youth have plenty to get excited about over the summer months, as the city holds a plethora of camp opportunities geared towards different kinds of interests for children.

From sports, to the arts, to nature and games, Cape Coral has the bases covered when it comes to programs offered that give children a chance to have fun, make friends and learn over the summer. The city provided these exciting opportunities to more than 6,000 youths in the summer of 2018.

There are 20 different kinds of camps offered all across the city for ages 3-16.

The Summer CAMPtacular is offered for youths K-8 at the William Austen Youth Center and Oasis Elementary School Monday-Friday from 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $99 per week. This program runs from June 3-Aug. 9 (closed July 4).

Each week a different theme is chosen. Some themes include “Buggin Out,” “Mad Science,” “Soaring into Fun,” “Gearing up for Games” and more.

“For parents, they need to work, and we provide a safe place for their kids,” said Youth Center Supervisor, Mark Cagle, who has been working with youth in his position for 13 years. “We’re DCF licensed. It’s a safe, nurturing place. We keep them active, take them on field trips. It’s a great safe place for parents to bring their children during work.”

Children 5-14 can also take part in “Staycation” camp at Christa McAuliffe Elementary Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from $75 per week, a non-traveling camp where participants can enjoy weekly themes (same schedule at Summer CAMPtacular), guest speakers, special events, arts and crafts and more.

This program runs from June 3- Aug. 2 (closed July 4).

“We went from 40 kids each week to 160 children each week,” said Cagle of the growth the programs have seen. “We have better trained staff and more educational tips and opportunities for children.”

Lunch and breakfast will be provided every day for both programs, except on travel days for the Summer CAMPtacular.

“The kids get to meet other kids their age that they might not see in school and make new friends,” said Cagle. “They get to interact with children all over the city. We give them new adventures and new experiences. It’s exciting for them. They have fun.”

This week, between the Summer CAMPtacular and Staycation Camp, more than 460 children will be in attendance, said Cagle.

Those numbers are credited to the parents, said Cagle.

“We’re here for the children, but the parents have been receptive year after year. We’re effective, safe and have a diverse culture. The parents know their children are taken care of when they drop them off in the morning,” he said.

Other camps around the city include Four Freedoms Park, where they hold preschool summer camps (ages 3-6), afternoon camps (ages 3-6), Super Science Camps (ages 6-12) and Martial Arts Camp (ages 6-12). These programs run until Aug. 2.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark offers Splash Camp (ages 8-12) and Jr. Lifeguard Camp (ages 10-13). These programs run until Aug. 2.

Rotary Park offers Eco-Adventure Nature Camp (ages 7-12) Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. where children can experience indoor and outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring in the swamp, learning about creatures that inhibit the park, cooperative games, sports and crafts. This problem runs until Aug. 2.

The Yacht Club Community Pool is host to Camp Neptune (ages 6-9) where youth can spend the day enjoying beach exploration, arts & crafts, games and swimming. This program is held Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and runs until Aug. 9.

The pool also offers Jr. Lifeguard Camp (ages 10-15) that runs in the same time frame as Camp Neptune.

The Cape Coral Arts Studio hosts Fine Arts For Kids Camp (ages 7-13) Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until July 26. Kids can experience the creative process in fine arts and crafts. Activities include pottery, mixed media crafts, drawing, painting and more.

At the Yacht Club Community Park, youth can participate in the in the Beach Buddies Exploration (ages 4-8) and the Advanced Beach Bums Exploration (ages 9-14). These programs focus on the ocean, beach and marine life — all hands-on.

The Beach Buddies Exploration is held July 15-19 and the advanced class from July 22-Aug. 2.

The Lake Kennedy Center offers three different camps for children. The Fairy House Camp (ages 7-10) will see participants learn to build fairy houses, lanterns, wands and winds. It is held June 17-28, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until noon.

The Comic Book Camp (ages 10-15) sees youth develop characters and plots with art and illustrations. Camp concludes with a public book fair. Comic Book Camp is held July 22-Aug. 2, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until noon.

Diva Design Camp (ages 10-15) sees participants learn from a master seamstress on how to design, select fabric and sew clothing. Camp concludes with an open-to-the-public fashion show. This camp runs July 22-Aug. 2, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until noon.

The Yacht Club Tennis Courts hold three tennis programs: Tiny Tots (ages 4-6) Juniors (ages 7-14) and advanced Juniors. This weekly camp is offered from June 11- Aug. 1. Start times for levels vary.

Volleyball Camp (ages 10-17) will take place at Oasis Charter Middle School from July 8-12 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

For a detailed list of start times, pricing, registration and descriptions of all the camps Cape Coral has to offer this summer, visit www.CapeParks.com

Lee County also holds camps for youth that run from June 10-Aug. 2. All campers will receive a specially designed Lee County Parks & Recreation T-shirt.

To view a list of the programs the county offers, visit www.LeeParks.org.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj