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Summer camp offers kids, parents an outlet



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The kids of the camp watch a movie as the weather outside turns sour. Mother Nature'a plans may ruin plans, but it can't stop the fun. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
August 01, 2012 - Summer can be tough on the working parent but those at the Lake Orion Schools Community Enrichment Center (LOHSCS) sought to offer an option this summer in the form of a camp.

Camp Wanna Have Fun, hosted by the LOHSCS at Lake Orion's CERC building on Scripps, offered kids a number of ways to have fun during the summer and, more importantly, during the day.

"It's through Community Education and it's a 10 week program which parents can sign up for or by a weekly basis," said Camp Director Kristi Wiegand. "Essentially what we do is have kids grades one through six do a lot of different activities throughout the week. There are activities from gym games to arts and crafts, we go to the high school pool three times a week and we usually do four field trips."

But what makes Camp Wanna Have Fun unique are the weekly themes. Week one began with "Friends Forever" where kids were introduced and everyone got to know one another. The second week was the "Great Outdoors" and featured trail walks and a cook out while the third week was "The Wild West" and centered on a rodeo day and square dancing. The fourth week was "Circus Time" with life sized balloon animals and face painting while the fifth week was "Every Day Heros" which saw a marine, a fireman and a police officer visit the kids.

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The sixth week was "Wet and Wild," and kids also got to travel down to the Fox Theatre for a tour, eat lunch at Hockey Town and then toured the back rooms at Joe Louis Arena. The final weeks, which are still available for sign up, will be "Where in the World" social studies day, "Sports Week," "Science Week" and "Party Time" which will finish with a camp dance.

"We have kids come up to their parents and say 'why are you picking me up so early?'," said Wiegand. "There are kids that are asking to stay from the 9 a.m. before camp time to the 6 p.m. after camp latchkey. I remember one kid coming up and saying the camp should be called Camp We're Having Fun instead of Wanna Have Fun. They're really having a good time during these camp days."

Enrichment Supervisor Ben Gerdeman said one of the key selling points of the camp is the affordability of it. The program is $125 a week which guarantees a child is looked after for eight hours a day. Extended camp is also available and runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. before camp and an after camp session that runs to 6 p.m. Each extended session costs six dollars.

"We have an all-star staff," said Gerdeman. "All of them are in the process of becoming school teachers or they're already staffed at a school so that really helps them work with the kids. It's a solid group of teachers and counselors and they're very kid-focused. Really, they're the ones that make the camp what it is."

Camp Wanna Have Fun started 25 years ago and was the brainchild of former Enrichment Supervisor Sally Peterson. Gerdeman said it has grown immensely with 255 kids enrolling in 2012 - up from 190 in 2010. More than anything else, he said it provided a place for kids to go that was safe, organized and fun.

For more information, call Enrichment Services at 248-693-5439 or visit rp.lakeorion.k12.mi.us and click the Camp Wanna Have Fun link on the right.

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