Keeping it local and fun

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Annika Stupfel decorates a balloon during a spring break art camp at the Jack, Will and Rob Boys and Girls Club in Camas. Below, at left, kids enjoyed craft making at the Camas Library. The library also showed a free movie every day last week.

Despite the decidedly un-spring-like weather last week, kids still found a way to enjoy their break by attending one of the local camps and activities held in the Camas-Washougal area.

Choices ranged from free movies and crafts at the Camas Library to babysitter’s boot camp, adventure camps for preschoolers, and creative camps for elementary school kids.

East County Community Education offered a rarity for working parents: Full- or half-day camps. The full-day option ran from 7:30 to 5 p.m. and the half-day was for up to five hours, as well as a drop-in option.

Young campers enjoyed activities ranging from crafts and cooking to a game room and “imagination station,” where youngsters work on math, science and English based computer games.

They also had time to go outdoors and play. If the weather was bad, they headed for the gym. The camps are housed at the Camas School District’s Zellerbach Administration Center.

“Our camp has doubled in attendance from last year,” Camas Community Education Director Mary Weishaar said. “I am very happy with that. The benefit for parents is that they get the flexibility of bringing their kids the whole week, one day or half-days.”

She said both Camas and Washougal parents had children in attendance at the camps.

“It’s nice because they want their kids to be here,” she said. “We have classrooms, plus a track and a gym. It really works well and we’re fortunate to have the school district dedicated to it.”

Camper Lexi Pickett, 7, said her favorite thing about day camp was playing the Wii.

“It’s a lot of fun, “she said. “I also like the imagination room.”

Brianna Doud, 8, enjoyed making hats and decorating them with stickers and feathers.

“We’ve done a whole bunch of crafts,” she said.

At The Jack, Will and Rob Boys and Girls Club in Camas, kids were busy with art camp, soccer camp, a healthy habits camp and outdoors camp.

Six-year-old Taylor Nichols was busy decorating a balloon with a string at art camp.

“It’s really fun,” she said. “My mommy signed me up and I’m having fun doing art projects with balloons and painting.”

When asked what her favorite aspect of camp was, she replied, “Playing with my best friend. It’s more fun than staying at home watching T.V.”

Lily Walsh, 6, said she decided to come to art camp because she thought it would be fun.

“We get to do a different project every day,” she said. “Making bookmarks was my favorite because I also like to read.”

At just $25 per camp, it creates a more affordable option for families who may not have the resources for a traditional day camp, program director Mandy Cervantes said.

“This area really needs some low cost options,” she said. “Families are really struggling and we want to make sure there is something for them to do.”

Cervantes said the camps filled fast this year.

“The response from Camas and Washougal was great,” she said. “We even got some registrations from Vancouver.”

Camp offerings are based on what has been offered and what was popular in the past.

“We also offer it according to our staff ratio and interests, so that they are engaged and knowledgeable,” Cervantes said.