Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
As a dozen children gathered around a table at the Jim Huie Recreation Center, in Jonesboro, to watch five people play a game of "Monopoly," on Thursday, a potential land deal-financial bailout began to formulate.
A down-on-his-luck player was down to $4 in "Monopoly" money, and another player offered him $1,000 to buy his three "yellow" properties, Atlantic Avenue, Ventner Avenue and Marvin Gardens.
It was an offer to put some new "cash" in the struggling player's pockets, but he decided to play hard to get, and hold out for more money. "Make it $2,000, or no deal," said the soon-to-be, out-of-money player, as he clutched his last four "$1 bills" in his hand.
"Two-thousand dollars?" the potential buyer exclaimed, with a look of disbelief. "Man, you're about to be broke. You can't demand $2,000. You better be taking whatever offer you can get." The property owner relented, and finally agreed to sell the three streets for $1,000.
That is just one of the exchanges that has taken place between children during "Monopoly" games at the recreation center this summer. The children are participants in the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department's two-month-long summer camps, which are scheduled to conclude today.
Parks and Recreation Department Marketing and Sales Manager Amy Keeney said the department held summer camps at the Jim Huie Recreation Center, as well as the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, in Riverdale, and the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, in Rex. In all, approximately 375 children participated in the camps, Keeney said.
Shacole Pearman, the program coordinator for the Jim Huie Recreation Center, said her summer camp site has been averaging approximately 100 children per day. She said the children do a variety of activities, including taking field trips, swimming, playing board games, participating in athletic games, putting on a talent show and making arts and crafts.
Pearman said the long hours of the camp (it lasts from 7 a.m., to 6 p.m., each day, she said) make it an attractive summer-time option for parents who need a place to send their children when school is not in session. "It keeps more kids off the streets, because they have some place to go all day," Pearman said.
As the camps come to a close, several children said they've just enjoyed getting to be active this summer. "It was a lot fun, I enjoyed myself," said Hong Kong, China, resident, Makeda Nuruddin, 11, who participated in the camp while spending the summer with her grandparents in Jonesboro. "I liked it when we played kickball, and when we played the board games," she added.
Jonesboro youth, Kyla Harris, 6, said making new friends has been her favorite part of the camp. "The funest thing is to spend time with my friends," she said. "We play a lot of games together."
Still, some children said it is the friendships they built this summer that they will miss after camp ends. "I'm meeting a lot of new people that I didn't know before, and I won't see some of them again, after camp ends," said Riverdale's Jam Clopton, 11.