Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Making camps all-inclusive

by A.J. Hakim Staff Writer

June 13, 2013

Since taking over as childcare coordinator for Grosse Pointe public schools three years ago, Andrea Sanders has made it a goal to offer an all-inclusive experience for parents and their children attending any of the district’s summer programs.

Several additions to this summer’s programming have advanced that goal.

“All-inclusive, that’s my goal for camp,” Sanders said. “If I can make it as all-inclusive as possible... I know parents have a lot of choices out there and so we’re very intentional with what we bring to camp and where we go as a camp.”

Summers in the Grosse Pointe Public School System include the summer learning program, or summer school; summer music camps and athletic camps; Safety Town, a two-week program dedicated to teaching water, traffic, stranger and fire safety; and Camp O’ Fun, the theme-based summer day camp for incoming kindergartners to middle schoolers.

Most programming additions involve Camp O’ Fun, such as two new field trips, in addition to the typical four, and a slew of extra activities for campers older than third grade.

“For our oldest campers this year, we’re trying to offer a few additional walking field trips and then also we’re offering a babysitter certification course, which is really nice for parents,” Sanders said. “There’s a small additional fee as part of your Camp O’ Fun tuition, and we’re offering it right on site, so they can sit in a class with their friends and they can get that babysitter certification.”

Certification is through the American Red Cross.

Another item geared toward older campers is Second Step, CARE of Southeast Michigan’s program about teamwork, bullying and other hot-button topics.

Perhaps the most significant addition this summer is the camp partnership with the district’s summer learning program, in which, students attending summer school may participate in Camp O’ Fun as well, courtesy of a summer contract with a local bus company.

According to Sanders, the bus picks up summer school students at Maire Elementary School at the end of their day and shuttles them to Ferry for the remainder of the Camp O’ Fun day.

“(This) is kind of a nice benefit for parents who would have to shuttle otherwise, or choose between sending their kids to summer learning program or to Camp O’ Fun,” Sanders said. “This allows for them to be able to participate in both and have a really well-rounded summer experience.”

The well-rounded experience starts with providing options like the shuttle bus.

“There’s something unique about so many options and having fun and getting to experience so many different things,” Sanders said. “Then you also have this added benefit of needing the extra boost here in certain classes in summer school and the summer learning component, so to be able to tie those together in a nice, neat package, I think it’s going to be a great part of our summer, a great piece to our summer.”

“We want camp to be accessible to our community and if we can help make that possible, we will do everything we can.”

Camps start Monday, June 17, Camp O’ Fun from 7:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. at Ferry Elementary School and Safety Town from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (morning session) and 12:30 to 3 p.m. (afternoon session) at Barnes Early Childhood Center.

For more information, contact the childcare office at (313) 432-3067.