HANCOCK COUNTY — The summer doldrums might already be setting in for some kids who don’t have enough to occupy their minds, but those looking for activities will have plenty to explore in Hancock County this summer.
Local organizations and groups are opening registration both for new and traditional activities, giving kids a chance to stay busy and learning this summer.
Here is a roundup of summer camps and other organized activities for kids:
Greenfield parks day camps
The Kids Kamp at Riley Park began Monday and will continue through Friday, July 25, for kids ages 6-12.
The fee for Kids Kamp is $80 per week, per child, for residents within Greenfield city limits. The cost is $90 for non-residents. The events take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Riley Park Shelter House, 210 Apple St. The program is put together by the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department.
“We have the Riley Pool that’s open this summer, and there’s still a few spots in our summer day camp… If people sign up for that, they’re signing up for the whole summer,” program coordinator Jeremiah Schroeder said.
There are also rotating summer youth art camps that change themes every week and usually run Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, Schroeder said.
New this year, the parks department is also offering Parks BINGO! through June 30 and swimming lessons at Riley Pool on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays through July 23. More information about those programs is available on the web at www.greenfieldin.org/parks/programs-listings-and-registrations.
“It runs the month of June, and they can download a game piece (on the website),” Schroeder said.
Participants are invited to visit different parts of park property, where they can find codes to add to their downloaded game cards. Hints are also available on the web.
“That’s something new that we’re doing,” Schroeder said.
Fantastic Fridays at Riley Pool will return at 1:15 p.m. on Fridays, and there are prizes for that as well.
“Once you pay to get into the pool, that’s free to do for the kids,” Schroeder said.
Nature programs will return this summer at a very low cost, and will include summer prairie walks and tree walks with tree identification
“That’s the kind of thing that’s entertaining for both kids and adults,” Schroeder said.
That program was put in place last year and was geared specifically toward preschoolers and their parents. It was part of the parks department’s efforts to add more nature-themed programs for all ages in 2013.
Boys & Girls Clubs
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County began its summer schedule this week with a day camp at the Jim Andrews Unit, 715 E. Lincoln St, Greenfield. Staff members have worked to create fun and educational activities for kids, including a new ceramics class and track-and-field programs available for additional fees.
Kids at the club this summer can visit Riley Pool three times a week and start their Wednesdays with a Movie Day that begins at 9 a.m. each week.
“We’re going to take the kids to go play in Riley Park on Fridays,” Madelyn Parsons of the Boys & Girls Clubs said. “We are going to be going to the pool three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And we’ve got lots of stuff to keep the kids going academically.”
Keeping their minds in shape over the summer break is an important part of what the organization hopes to do this summer. With programs such as Summer Brain Gain and more, staying sharp won’t be hard for kids at the club.
“We have a couple of things to keep their brains going,” Parsons said. “We have arts and crafts time, we have Lego builders, and we just have a lot of different clubs so the kids can be themselves and have fun doing something they personally enjoy.”
A Fit Club is also in the works, where the kids can engage in exercise drills but nothing too strenuous like lifting weights. The club offers Keystone Club and Torch Club as a leadership program for the older students.
“We also are doing a Spanish and sign language event for the kids, enough that they learn a little and have fun with it,” Parsons said.
Children who love the spotlight can join a summer drama camp through CrazyLake Acting Company. Activities focus on imaginative role-playing and self-confidence; each session ends with an open-house performance for the parents and public.
CrazyLake will offer a morning and afternoon two-week session of summer drama camp from July 15-26 for children who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Enrollment for each session is limited to 20 students, and the camp will meet on the lower level of the Memorial Building at 98 E. North St. in Greenfield. Download the registration form at the website or email Chris@CrazyLake.com for more information.
An A.M. Beginner Session from 9 to 11:30 a.m. is available for children who have completed kindergarten through third grade, and the P.M. Beginner/Intermediate Session from 1:30 to 4 p.m. is available for students who have finished third through fifth grade.
Pick up a book
Both locations of the Hancock County Public Library and the Fortville-Vernon Township Public Library will offer summer events. In Fortville, the summer reading kick-off party begins at 10 a.m. today.
The Summer Reading program at the Hancock County Public Library, where the children can earn prizes for reading this summer, will give kids a chance to keep reading through the season. Teens Read the Way, a program that has younger kids work with teenagers to brush up on reading, is also heading to the library this summer. It begins at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Teens Read the Way, a program organized by the teen library council, came to fruition when the teens wrote a grant and obtained funding through United Way for the program in Greenfield and the Sugar Creek Branch. Thirty teens come in to support kids ages 3 through fifth grade. They either read to the younger kids or let them read aloud if they are reading and want to practice.
“We also have weekly science programs for school-aged kids,” said Sandy Pea, senior children’s library assistant. “And next week, we start our story time so we’ll have baby, toddler and preschool story time.”
Starting computer classes and animation classes are also in the works
Programs for school-age children also include the Color Lab at Sugar Creek and Greenfield. Kids in grades K-5 will use all five senses to experience art by working through optical illusions, working together to make a pendulum painting and finally creating a masterpiece to take home. Library officials encourage kids to “dress for a mess.”
The Science is Survival program kicks off from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in Greenfield. It will be at Sugar Creek from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday.
“Our plans are to do it outside. We’re hoping for good weather,” teen librarian Sarah Ryan said.
Scenarios include a zombie apocalypse and an alien invasion, where kids are encouraged to “survive” the scenarios by learning new tricks. The scenarios will include a laser tag game and inflatable objects, where teams are divided into groups and tasked with protecting other kids and trying to survive by learning shelter building, opening cans without can openers and more.
A complete list of library events and programs coming up this summer is available on the web at www.hcplibrary.org/programs.
Kids in New Palestine will be able to join Camp Invention when it comes to New Palestine High School June 16-20 for kids in first through sixth grade. Camp Invention is a weeklong adventure in creativity that gives kids a chance to see in-depth, hands-on activities led by local educators. Participants will explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation by spending their time building original prototypes and creating a personalized motor-powered vehicle while designing, improving and analyzing their own inventions in a team setting. Registration information is available at www.campinvention.org or by calling (800) 968-4332.
Tall in the saddle
The Arc of Hancock County has partnered with Edelweiss Equine Assisted-Therapy Center to present a summer day camp. Campers will help groom the horses, feed them, observe the horses as they interact with each other and ride a horse. Horse-related crafts and outdoor games will also be a part of the program, and youth of all abilities (who will be 5 years old on Aug. 1 to 18 years old) can attend Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Camp begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. More information is available by calling (317) 679-7532 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dabbling in art
Studio 309 in Fortville will be playing host to two summer camps, including one for young artists looking to paint, hand-build or make collages. All materials are supplied, and those who attend are asked to bring a sack lunch on the camp dates of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The second camp will be similar to the first but for more advanced subjects and will take place June 23, 25 and 27. More information, including registration fees, is available on the web at www.sheristudio309.com.