Thompson's summer day camp keeps kids busy all season

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Tue., Jul. 19, 2011
Counselors Chris Alves and Siana Green entertain campers with a game of Spit. Photos by D. Coffey.
Counselors Chris Alves and Siana Green entertain campers with a game of Spit. Photos by D. Coffey.

Cassandra Rascka, Jenn Plaza and Cindy Consiglio start their mornings with anywhere from 60 to 120 kids surrounding them. The three women are supervisors for the Thompson summer camp that runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thankfully, they have 14 staff members and a host of volunteers to help them steer the kids through a day's worth of activities.

Keeping kids active in the summer is important for everyone. Kids need the exercise, especially without the structure of school to keep them busy.

On nice days, the campers spend their days at Quaddick Lake State Park, where the beach is always available. Two lifeguards are on duty constantly. Small children are not allowed to go into water deeper than their chest. Older kids are tested on their swimming skills by the lifeguards, and if they pass, are allowed to swim out to the buoys off the beach area. If they don't pass the swim test, they can't swim out beyond chest high waters. Every camper gets two periods a day to go swimming, while counselors and lifeguards watch over them.

A large field accommodates games of soccer, flag football, baseball and other activities. A supply truck carries all the equipment needed for whatever games the counselors and volunteers schedule.

Picnic tables serve as base camp for the supervisors and anchors for the five different age groups that attend. Children from the ages of 5 through 13 are grouped in two-year increments: 5-6; 7-8; 9-10; and 11 through 13. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds can attend as Counselors-in-Training.

Rascka said there isn't much need to motivate the kids to exercise, especially with the state park as their playground. But some times the children get bored, she said. And that's when the counselors need to shake things up a bit. “The specialist will have to change things up with age-appropriate activities,” Rascka said.

On July 18, bad weather forced the campers into the gym, cafeteria and media room of the Thompson Middle School. The 5- and 6-year-olds made face masks at the arts and crafts table. The 11- to 13-year-olds were playing “Password” with a counselor. The media room held the 7- and 8-year-olds for card games. The 9- and 10-year-olds played flag football in the gym. All the groups rotated through the gym, to make the most of a rainy day.

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