Tahlequah Daily Press

June 17, 2013

Something for the kids to do this summer


TAHLEQUAH — Now that school’s out for the summer, many Cherokee County parents struggle with the question of what to do with their children. It’s a dilemma most of us share at one time or another, unless we don’t work outside the home, or get our summers off, for the most part.

For years, the perfect solution was the Boys & Girls Club of Tahlequah’s cherished summer program, but now, budget cuts and loss of grant funding have put at least a temporary end to that option. Many churches offer Vacation Bible School or church camps, but each of those activities lasts only a week.

But what about the rest of the summer? What do you do with a child who is too old for day care, but too young to be left to his own devices at home – especially if your family income is modest?

A few years ago, Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts stepped up to the plate to fill the gap, offering a series of five-day summer camps that  cover five weeks of prime summer time. Conveniently, the camps – now co-sponsored by NSU Continuing Education – begin about mid-June, right when most of the church-sponsored activities have wound down. And this year, there’s even a camp for discerning adults.

Camp themes run the gamut. Week 1 kicks off June 17, with two camps – “Summer Fun” and “Time Travelers.” Other camps focus on photography, kayaking, arts and theater, Broadway-style music and dance, hiking and biking, tennis, archery, art techniques and science. There’s something for everyone, and many parents find their children like to attend most, or even all, of the camps.

Most of the camps run daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the optimum time period for many working parents. Better still, parents can drop off their kids as early as 7:30 a.m., and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m., for a $50-per-week fee. And while the kids will engage in camp-type activities Monday through Thursday, on Friday, they’ll go to the Skatehouse and then to a movie. Sounds like a great time any kid would enjoy!

Many parents have commented on how these camps have become a godsend for their families. This is just one more way NSU has reached out in partnership to the people of this community. NSU is so much more these days than an institution that provides college degrees. From summer camps, to year-round Continuing Education classes, to helping tornado victims in Moore, the university plays an invaluable role in Cherokee County and across the state.

If you want more information on these summer camps, check out this link from a story we published in Friday’s Press: http://tinyurl.com/lyat5m8.

Sign up your kids, and rest assured they’ll be taken care of while you’re at work – and they’ll even learn something and have some fun in the process. And if you don’t work outside the home, treat yourself to some well-deserved time off, and send the kids, anyway!