Summer Camp: Fun and safety are key
Author: SVdP Staff
Date: Monday, July 16 2012
Summer camp is commonly thought of as a place for kids to go, but for kids in St. Vinnie’s affordable housing, Summer Camp comes to them. Like zinnias and snapdragons, Camp springs up at several family complexes, tended by each site’s Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) in cooperation with partnering agencies and businesses.
This year St. Vinnie's Summer Camp got an additional boost in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation.
At St. Vinnie's Ross Lane Apartments in Santa Clara the hollering and thumps of bouncing balls commences early, as kids from the complex and the neighborhood gather for a free breakfast served by FOOD for Lane County.
Campers then enjoy cooking or art classes or games, followed by a free lunch, also served to neighborhood friends. Afternoon Camp activities include trips to a pool or park, or field trips to destinations such as the Science Factory, Air and Space Museum, Lone Pine Farm, or Cascade Raptor Center. Camp winds up between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
For Ross Lane parents, especially those who work during the day, Summer Camp provides an average of six hours of supervised activities designed to entertain, educate and burn energy. Parents who struggle financially get some help with their food and childcare costs, as well as some priceless peace of mind.
Supervising 20 energetic youngsters in diverse activities and settings would be a handful for one person, but Ross Lane’s RSC, Mia, is blessed with a helpful resident parent and an enthusiastic couple who learned of the need for Summer Camp volunteers from an internet post.
They are Diane and Steven Arbuckle, fifty-something residents of the Santa Clara area who pedal their tandem bike to Ross Lane and throw themselves wholeheartedly into the day’s activities. She is the quirky kid at heart; he has a kind heart and the commanding presence of a military-academy administrator. Together they appreciate how difficult life can be for low-income families and the importance of Summer Camp as a means of keeping children healthy and safe.
Below, Diane and Steven Arbuckle share their Summer Camp experience.