Day camp helps kids beat the heat with cool activities
The camp, which is offered to Hooksett school children ages 5 through 12, is held in the town office building and adjacent fields. Everything from arts and crafts to basketball is held in the gymnasium, with outdoor sports and water activities held at the fields at Donati Park.
Robitaille, the camp’s activities director, said the program provides a good option for kids rather than just sitting at home all summer.
“We try to provide a safe and fun alternative for summer vacation,” she said.
In addition to providing young kids with outdoor summer fun, local high school and college students also have an opportunity to work with the kids throughout the summer’s activities. Samantha Desauliniers, a Hooksett resident and Central High School senior, said she has enjoyed working with the young kids and providing them with activities she didn’t always have growing up.
“When I was little we didn’t have these sorts of things,” she said. “It’s nice to keep them healthy and active.”
Cecilia Martins from Hooksett, a Manchester High School West graduate and Keene State College freshman, said seeing her campers smiling each day is what she enjoys the most about working at Fun in the Sun.
“It’s rewarding,” she said. “The whole day is focused on having fun.”
Once enrolled in the camp, kids will find more than just sports and arts and crafts. Fun in the Sun takes day trips to Hampton Beach, attends a New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball game and encourages campers to participate in theme weeks.
Recently, the gymnasium was decked out in superhero attire for superhero week and this week, campers are celebrating sports team week. Robitaille said campers were encouraged to design sports jerseys to display on the walls.
Town Administrator Dean Shankle Jr. said he was excited that this year the campers will get to participate in the town’s new community garden. The Public Works Department has established the garden for residents to grow flowers and vegetables of their choice, but also set aside a couple plots for Fun in the Sun to use.
Another change for this year is the hosting of the Fred C. Underhill School summer reading program. In the past, the program was held at the school and then students had to be transported to town hall for camp. For this season, the summer reading will also be at the town hall.
“They will be able to meet here and then come right down for camp,” Shankle said.
Robitaille said enrollment in camp has increased this year and the camp has about 70 registered campers. She said an extended before and after care program is partially responsible for the increased attendance. Campers can now be looked after from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Several parents have said that the only reason they could do Fun in the Sun was because of the before and after care,” Robitaille said.
Robitaille said the food pantry and Salvation Army have both been very helpful in supporting the camp as well and helping provide supplies for the campers and counselors.
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