School’s out! Last minute summer camp options in the Valley

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 3:18 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s time to think about summer camp. There are so many options and also many factors that go into making a decision.

“Distance, the location from my home and the price,” said Tangela Brunson.

For the second year, those factors have Brunson sending her daughter to summer dance camp at Alicia Menzie’s Dance Company in Columbus. Brunson said she’s paying less than $100 a week.

“We returned again this year because A, my daughter made friends and B, she learned a lot last year,” said Brunson.

With over 30 years of experience, Alicia Menzie decided to add a summer camp option 5 years ago to help parents and give an additional fun option in the Fountain City.

“We like those kids to come in and experience dance,” said dance studio owner Alicia Menzie. “It may be something that they love, or it may be something they thought they could never do. But it gives them an opportunity to see how dance goes.”

Another factor for parents is how many staff are watching the kids?

“The first thing we talk to parents about when they ask about summer day camp is our ratios... We want small group settings, and that builds better interpersonal relationships with counselors and kids,” said Vice President of Operations for the YMCA of Metro Columbus Scott Balkcum.

The YMCA of Metro Columbus is offering summer camp at all Columbus locations. From sports to learning enrichment - staff tell us it’s the perfect mix.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure they are getting they’re healthy, they are getting their physical activity, they’re getting their nutrition during the summer and we’re bridging the summer learning loss,” said Balkcum.

Columbus Parks and Recreation couldn’t agree more. The city is offering two STEAM-based summer programs for kids ages 4 to 12 at Tillis Park’s Recreation Center and at the Psalmond Road Supercenter.

Their goal is to make a difference in the community by providing a safe, nurturing environment for camp attendees.

“All summer long we’re going to be taking the kids to numerous field trips, they’re going to have many activities,” said Columbus Parks and Rec and Community Schools Division Manager Samantha Theis.

The city’s STEAM camp will do everything from making slime to building robots.

Columbus Parks and Rec programs also partner with Feeding the Valley and Seamless Summer Feeding Program with MCSD to provide children with nutritious meals and snacks throughout the summer months.

The YMCA and STEAM camps are both income driven, making the experience affordable and one to remember.

“Camp is important because they need interaction,” said Menzie. “It’s learning it’s informative it still lets them grow,” said Menzie.

There are also more summer camp options throughout the Chattahoochee Valley here.