Community Day Camp offers children a memorable summer
For many kids, summer is the perfect opportunity to take a break from school work by relaxing inside and playing video games all day. For some, however, they can experience a memorable summer at Community Day Camp where they have the opportunity to make new friends, discover new talents and visit exciting places.
Community Day Camp was founded 20 ago by Lisa Ellermann. Her idea for the camp was to create a safe environment for college students to educate and entertain children during the summer months. The current camp director is Risa Adams, daughter of Lisa Ellermann, is following in her mother’s footsteps to create a fun, safe summer for children of all ages.
The camp originally started with about 40 children per day, but as the camp became more popular the number grew to 120 children per day. In more recent years, the number of children signed up has diminished due to different directors and the economy.
“There has been a big up and down with this camp,” Adams said. “We kept it solid for a few years, but we went through a few directors, and the economy failed, which was a huge part of the camp losing popularity. This year, though, it’s being built back up and the kids and families involved are really enjoying it.”
When the camp was created, the director’s goal was not just to create a day care for children, but for the children to have an environment to learn and experience something great. According to Adams, her mother started the camp as a ministry to children of all different backgrounds.
“My mom wanted to create a fun day camp where kids could not only make new friends, but could also learn about God and establish a lasting relationship with him,” Adams said.
Campers of CDC come from many different types of homes, and some experience hard times. While some don’t have a father or mother figure in their lives, others are struggling with their parents’ divorce. The purpose of CDC was to create a safe environment for kids, who, for some, maybe don’t have that feeling at home. Through “Bible time,” “family time” (the campers journal about their lives or talk to God), and interactions with the counselors, CDC is able to minister to the children and encourage them through whatever is going on in their lives.
“I hope and pray for the positive and have seen it in quite a few,” Adams said. “Their attitudes have changed and I can see them growing closer to God.”
Each year at CDC, the director comes up with a different theme to center the whole camp around. Last year the theme was “Around the World,” so campers had the chance to learn about different countries and ethnicities throughout the world. This year the theme is “Blast through the Past,” which gives the kids the opportunity to experience different decades throughout history. With each theme, fun events are planned such as arts and crafts, recreation, Bible time, and field trips on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Wednesday and Friday field trips tend to be the most exciting days for the campers.
On Wednesdays, a mini field trip usually takes place in which the campers get to do things like have a water gun fight at the Lion’s Den Park or go skating at the roller rink.
Fridays are what the campers look forward to the most, however, because they get to go on the big field trip. “The future” was the time period for the first week of camp, so the campers went to NASA to learn all about our space program and advancements that may be taking place. Other field trips include the Houston Zoo, children’s museums, the Galleria, laser tag, and many more.
At CDC, the campers are always occupied with different activities. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the campers go swimming at the Natatorium. Mondays are “Did you know?” days in which the campers get to learn about events and famous people of a certain time period. To reward campers for their good behavior throughout the week, on Thursday afternoons there is a time period party which is usually a dance-off, talent show, or something that relates to the decade.
“Whenever I see opportunities to make things new and exciting, I change it up,” Adams said. “Like this week, we had a square dance that went with our Civil War time period. I try to give the campers unique opportunities that allow them to have fun and use their creativity.”
Not only has CDC impacted the campers, but the counselors and directors have grown a lot during their experience. Many of the counselors agree working with kids all day can be exhausting, but the impact they can have on the campers’ lives makes the hard work worth it.
Although it is the nearing the middle of the summer, CDC is still welcoming any campers who want to sign up. Those interested in signing up can visit their website at www.ccsorange.org/communitydaycamp.html or fill one out at the front desk of Community Christian Church.