Keeping the blahs away

Local winter break day camps help kids stay active and creative

Children enjoyed a variety of crafts at the Camas Community Center’s Cocoa ‘n’ Cookies winter break camp. Buy this photo

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Winter break camp recreation leader Melissa Levison helps two young campers make cake pops at the Camas Community Center.

By this time during winter break, video games have usually been played countless times, several movies have been watched, and most kids have had their fill of Christmas cookies.

But for some, winter break is a time to learn how to cook, to craft or to work on their jump shot.

The Camas Community Center, Community Education and the Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club all offered camps geared for kids whose parents work during winter break, or those who want to enjoy the activities and hang out with friends.

“This is our third year of offering all-day winter break camps,” Community Education coordinator Karen Rudolf said. “It’s mainly driven by parent need and their requests during break time. It’s well-supervised, fun and with trustworthy people.”

If you go...

What:

Camas Community Education

New Year’s Eve Overnight Camp

When:

All children must be at the event by 8 p.m. New Year’s Eve, and parents must pick up their children by 9 a.m. Jan. 1.

Where:

The camp will be held at the Zellerbach Administration Center, 841 N.E. 22nd St., in the extended day area.

How much:

The overnight event is $65 for the first child, and $50 for each additional child.

To sign up:

Sign-ups must be done by Thursday. For more information, call 833-5544 or visit www.camascommunit...

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Community Education winter camp coordinator Barb Heckman helps Caden Wengler and Lexi Lienzle make candles.

The camp includes Wii, air hockey, billiards, ping pong, basketball shoot-outs, wall ball, board games, arts and crafts.

Brandy Lemmon’s son, Conner, regularly attends the extended day program through Community Education, and attended the winter break camp as well.

“It’s really nice, especially for people who don’t have someone to watch their children when school is not in session,” she said. “It’s somewhere the kids can go and you know they are well taken care of and having fun. They do lots of fun stuff with the kids and my son loves to come and play with his friends.”

Caden Wengler, a fifth-grader, said he enjoys participating in the camp activities as opposed to sitting around the house.

“I’ve been coming since I was in first-grade and it’s fun,” he said. “I like doing some of the art projects and love the game room. I prefer going to the camps instead of staying home because there are more things to do.”

Lexi Lienzle, a first-grader, just started attending the camps.

“I like to play cards,” she said. “And I like to make candles and play on the computer.”

This year, Community Education is offering a New Year’s Eve overnight camp for the first time. It includes snacks, games, crafts, reading and a pancake breakfast.

“Once again, this is something that was driven by parent need,” Rudolf said. “Parents want to go out and have a good time, but want their kids to be safe and supervised, so we arranged this. It’s fun for kids and the parents can enjoy themselves.”

At the Community Center, the Cocoa ‘n’ Cookies Christmas Youth Camp kept kids from preschool age on up busy with crafts, games, treats, holiday movies and baking.

The Boys & Girls Club kept children occupied with art, holiday baking and a basketball camp.

“I love to play foosball and there is a lot more stuff to do here than at home,” said 12-year-old Dylan Corbitt.

Fellow camper Aiden Miller agreed.

“There are lots of things to do here,” he said. “I like to play pool.”

Ezra Stewart, 7, enjoys the cooking camp.

“It is fun making cookies,” he said.

Director Mandy Cervantes said the camps are well-structured and affordable.

“We charge $25 per camp, which makes it easier for parents to enroll their children,” she said. “Also, we allow freedom of choice at the camps as well as structured activities. The kids really enjoy it, and they develop really positive relationships with the staff members. These camps help keep them active and social.”

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