Miller: Summer activities abound in Hancock County

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Terry Miller

Spring Break is here and the weather is turning warmer. Before we know it, school will be out and summer will be here. Summer brings a change in routine for families and it’s not always an easy transition. Kids are home but parents’ work schedules stay the same.

If you will need childcare during the day, begin your search now. Call child care locations that are of interest to you to see if they will have availability. Chances And Services for Youth (CASY) can be a free resource for helping to find licensed and registered childcare locations. If a friend or family member has agreed to watch your child(ren), double check to make sure they are still on board with that plan. Always check out the cost, and expectations, with whomever is going to provide childcare so there are no last-minute surprises.

Some families have children old enough to stay home by themselves. These children need to have activities available for them, routines established, and safety measures in place.

The four school corporations offer a variety of activities for their students. School classes are held for those who need to earn credits and/or need reading remediation. Children’s theater, sports, and week-long academic camps are also available. K101 is a program to help prepare incoming kindergarten students for “how to do school.” Information on all these activities can be obtained from your child’s school.

Camp experiences are another way some children may spend part of their summer. Some local options are:

Plug Into Nature, a week-long day camp for children entering grades 3-4-5, held at Nameless Creek Camp. Children have the opportunity to explore different outside activities and gain leadership skills. Applications are available by contacting the school social worker or counselor at your child’s school.

Camp Healing Tree, sponsored by Brooke’s Place in Indianapolis, is an opportunity for grieving youth ages 7-17 to be with friends their age who have also experienced the death of someone close to them. This camp is held on the west side of Indianapolis.

Many families are interested in camp opportunities, so early registration is recommended. Scholarships are available at some of the camps, so do not hesitate to ask about this.

Vacation Bible School is another opportunity offered to children of all ages throughout the summer. Churches will gladly share information about their upcoming programs.

If you are looking for something fun and local to do, check out the free and reduced-cost activity list that will come out from your school in May. This list will have everything from free movies to local entertainment, to free days at Indianapolis attractions to park activities. The Hancock County Public Library also has a reading program along with several free programs. Family entertainment is on the list and a great way for families to spend time together.

Having children home during the summer means increased food bills because they are no longer eating one to two meals at school every day. Free food resources are available throughout the community and include the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, food pantries located around the county, and church ministries. A list will be made available to families during May about available summer programs in the county.

This list of summer ideas for families is not complete until you add the opportunities you know about to it. Have fun this summer. Enjoy the time with your children.

Terry Miller, a licensed clinical social worker, is a school social worker at Weston Elementary School in Greenfield.