By Joel Hall
The Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department is providing local children, who might normally be stuck at home for the holidays, with a productive way to spend their winter break.
From now until Friday, the department will register children between the ages of 5 and 15 for it's "Holiday Explosion" activities camp, which will take place at the Carl Rhodenizer, Jim Huie, and Virginia Burton Gray recreation centers, Dec. 21-23, Dec. 28-31, and Jan. 4. Activites are scheduled to run on those days from 7 a.m., to 6 p.m. During the camp, children will be able to participate in educational activities, arts and crafts, and field trips to the library, bowling lanes, and skating facilities.
Lindsey DeLong, marketing and sales specialist for the department, said the department has hosted seasonal camps for several years. The program lets children remain active during the winter break and gives parents, who have to work, a safe place to send their children during the day, she said.
"It's basically to give kids an opportunity to get involved in activities at our recreation centers, while they are not at school," DeLong said. "They can do swimming, arts and crafts, and we even offer field trips. It really gives a break to the parents. If they need to work during the holidays, there is a place for their children to go."
According to DeLong, the camp is offered to children with normal development levels, as well as to children with special needs. She said the camp introduces children to activities available at local recreation centers, as well as "activities that the children aren't able to participate in at home or at school."
Shacole Pearman, program coordinator at the Jim Huie Recreation Center site, has helped coordinate seasonal camps since 2007. She said the camps have been a "really positive" experience for the children, parents, and staff.
"The program staff works on both ends of the camp, in terms of planning out the days, as well as working directly with the children," Pearman said. "A lot of the parents look to us as a regular place for their children to come during the breaks [from school]. The camps are a good outlet for children and gives them constructive activities to participate in while not in school. It also reassures parents that their children are in a safe environment.
"These are all locations that children can enjoy at both an affordable rate, as well as provide an enjoyable experience," she said. "We, as a department, hope that each child leaves with a rewarding and educational experience."
According to DeLong, the cost of attendance from Dec. 21-23 (Monday to Wednesday) and Dec. 28-31 (Monday to Thursday) is $50 each week. The cost of attendance on Jan. 4 is $15.
Parents can also send their children to camp for one day at the cost of $15. The cost of special field trips are not included in the price of registration, and parents must provide their child with a lunch and two snacks daily, in an insulated bag.
To register for the Carl Rhodenizer location, contact Marshel Hambrick at (770) 472-8042. To register at the Jim Huie location, contact Shacole Pearman at (678) 479-5136. To register at the Virginia Burton Gray location, contact Mikala Glanton at (770) 603-4001.