When school’s out for summer, day camps can be parents’ best friend

If you haven’t been counting the days, hours and seconds, newsflash: school ends in about a week, May 24.

What are your kids going to do all day? Relax. Your community has it covered.

Train your brain

The Brown County YMCA has a new program director and a fresh outlook on its summer day camp.

Whereas in past years it focused on general recreation, this summer it’ll cater to campers’ special interests like art, nature, sports, science and even college readiness.

Shelle Hertz
Shelle Hertz

“I was familiar with the day camps of the past, and parks and rec does a day camp, so it was sort of a duplication of services,” said Shelle Hertz, who started her new job at the Y on April 18. “We’re trying to move toward a more-specific programming.”

The half-day offerings this year are split up by age group and by interest. Not all age groups and subjects will covered every week.

Children entering kindergarten through the sixth grade can participate in programs themed around sports, outdoor discovery, science and art.

Students entering the seventh through ninth grades can learn “Fun Financial Foundations” such as how to open a bank account, budget money, create wealth and explore careers and salaries. Volunteers also will lead this age group in writing blogs, poetry, song lyrics and short stories; and science teacher Kevin Roush will teach “Spacey Scientist,” about constellations, space and rocket-building.

Sophomores through seniors can attend two weeks of “college application boot camp,” learning how to match their interests to careers, about different types of colleges, landing scholarships and financial aid, writing entrance essays and practicing for interviews.

Hertz, former registrar at Camp Rancho Framasa and employee at the IU Kelley School of Business, will help lead the camp along with Patricia Krahnke, Ann Woods, Kady Lane, Jessica Morgan, Quincy Robinson, Lisa Wilson, Alyssa Besser and staff of CYO Camp Rancho Framasa — where outdoor activities will take place July 5 through 8.

Hertz said the hope is to have more sessions for longer time periods next summer. “This is our first go-round, so we’re going to do it smaller but do it well,” she said.

The YMCA is also a Brown County Schools free summer lunch site, so campers can choose to come early or stay late to catch lunch at 11:30.

Times/dates: Four- or five-day sessions 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 3 p.m.; see browncountyymca.org for details on what is being offered, when and to which age group.

Cost: $50 to $65 per session.

Register: At the YMCA on Willow Street or by calling 812-988-9622; must be registered the Wednesday before the session begins.

The fun parts

Brown County Parks & Recreation’s summer camp takes place at a school, but no day will be like a typical school day.

Campers entering preschool through the sixth grade can enjoy field trips, making crafts and playing games. Days will start and end at Brown County Intermediate School.

The schedule of Wednesday trips includes an Indianapolis Indians game, Falls of the Ohio State Park to explore fossil beds, Bluespring Caverns’ underground river, Hoosier Heights indoor rock climbing gym, Laser Lite Laser Tag, Jump-N-Joey’s arcade and Freedom Springs Water Park.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, campers can go to the Bryan Park Pool in Bloomington to swim.

Other activities include game-playing “electronics days,” bicycle races and tie-dyeing.

Campers can have breakfast and lunch for free at neighboring Brown County High School through the district’s Summer Food Service Program or can bring their own. Snacks will be provided.

Times/dates: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays May 25 to Aug. 5 (holidays excluded)

Cost: $25 per child, per day or $95 weekly; $20 for each additional child or $75 weekly. Discounted rate of $16 per child or $12 each additional for those on the free and reduced lunch program. Field trips cost $2 to $5 more.

Register: At bcparksrec.com, call 812-988-5522 or visit the parks and rec office at 1001 Deer Run Lane. Registration fee is $10 per family.

Step back

You think you’re having a tough day when you can’t get your iPad to charge? Maybe you should try churning butter.

This summer and fall, volunteers with the Brown County History Center will offer a series of programs for children ages 8 to 12 that illustrate what life was like in pioneer times.

Topics will include cooking; gardening; leisure activities like games, music and dance; home crafts like quilting, weaving and spinning; weather lore; map reading; and other activities as they develop.

Children can come unaccompanied, organizer Kathy Sparks said. Home school groups also are welcome.

The activities will take place on the Brown County History Center campus on East Gould Street in Nashville, which includes the Pioneer Village.

Times/dates: 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays, June 9, July 7, Sept. 22 and Oct. 20; also, Saturday, Aug. 20

Cost: $5 per child, per session

Register: At browncountyhistorycenter.org; to learn more, call 812-988-2899

Teens only

Panning for gold, hiking and writing, painting abstract art in the state park, attending the 50th annual Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival — these are the field trips planned for BETA teens Monday afternoons this June.And they’re all free.

Any Brown County teen, even if they’re just starting junior high in the fall, is welcome at BETA, up through high school students, said organizer Cindy Steele.

On June 6, students will take a trip to T.C. Steele State Historic Site in Belmont to tour the studio, take a wildflower hike and have a writing workshop with a resident artist.

On June 13, the destination will be the bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom.

On June 20, Don Crum will lead students in gold panning in Gatesville.

On June 27, an Arts in the Park grant is allowing students to paint their own canvas in Brown County State Park with guidance from abstract artist Anabel Hopkins. The day includes a hike around the lake.

Teens are to meet at the BETA headquarters behind Miller’s Ice Cream in downtown Nashville to catch a Brown County Schools bus for each trip. Steele said students can be picked up other places if they aren’t able to get into town.

A light afternoon meal will be provided.

Each trip is limited to 15 teens.

Times/dates: 1 to 5:30 p.m. June 6, 13, 20 and 27

Cost: Free

Register: Email Cindy Steele at ourbrown@bluemarble.net or call 812-988-8807. Print a permission slip from facebook.com/betateencenter.

Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.