BERLIN – The Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department said goodbye recently to another successful summer camp season.
With children visiting from Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and all across Maryland, the 2007 summer camp season proved that Ocean City Recreation and Parks has what it takes to entertain children from ages and different strokes of life, according to town officials.
For those children who enjoy the average day camp, Ocean City Recreation and Parks offered a Scamper Camp for children ages 3.5- to 5-years-old and Camp Horizon for children 5 to 12-years-old. Scamper Camp and Camp Horizon provided participants with many creative, recreational and educational opportunities through activities such as arts and crafts, athletics, quiet games, special events and weekly field trips.
“I attended Scamper Camp and Camp Horizon when I was a kid,” said Camp Horizon Counselor Samantha Ludlum. “It is such a great opportunity for me to be part of the lasting summer memories that kids form during their time at Camp Horizon. I can still remember all of my camp counselors and I hope that my children will look back and remember me as part of their experience at camp.”
Part of the appeal to most of the campers at Camp Horizon and Scamper Camp are the weekly field trips to various locations in the area.
“Each week we have a different field trip and on the last week of camp we have an actual field trip week where we take the kids to a different place everyday,” Ludlum said. “On the last day, we take them to Six Flags America. It is something that they look forward to all summer and something that the counselors look forward to as well.”
Some of the field trips this summer included weekly trips to the beach, Planet Maze, the Salisbury Zoo, Northside Park, Frontier Town, Jolly Roger’s Splash Mountain and Ocean Lanes.
Along with the excitement of the day camps was the competitive spirit and athletic enthusiasm found in each one of the sports camps held by Ocean City Recreation and Parks.
To begin the summer sport camp round up is Pee Wee Tennis Camp and Ocean City Tennis Academy. With a new hitting wall to practice with and a young tennis manager to guide them, the interest in tennis grew each week as children improved their stroke and perfected their serve.
“It was amazing to see how much the tennis program grew this year,” said Ocean City Tennis Center Director Rod Dulany. “Not only did we increase participants in our camps by 20-30 children, but we also have a new tennis manager, Shane Barry, who was able to share his love for the sport and teach kids a way to play with more skill and more heart.”
Along with Barry’s coaching abilities at the tennis camps, Ocean City Recreation and Parks recruited big name coaches for camps such as All-Star Basketball Camp, Bayside Volleyball Camp, Eagles Landing Golf Camp, Flag-Football Camp, Lax’n at the Beach Boys Lacrosse Camp, For the Love of Soccer Camp, Fast-Break Girls Lax Camp and Homerun Baseball Camp.
“This summer was the season for celebrity coaching,” said Al “Hondo” Handy, recreation supervisor at Ocean City Recreation and Parks. “We had Head Basketball Coach at Salisbury, Steve Holmes, joining us for his seventh season, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Salisbury, Jim Nester, joining us for his fifth season, and former Baltimore Blast player and Coach Bobby McAvan, joining us for his twentieth season.”
Handy added, “these coaches have built a relationship with the families and the participants of our camps. It creates a consistency level that you cant find many places and it is a big attribute to the continual success of our programs.”
Along with Nester, Holmes and McAvan, Ocean City Recreation and Parks also enlisted camp directors such as Baltimore Ravens Youth Camp Coordinator Tom LaNeve, University of Maryland Head Lacrosse Coach Dave Cottle and Delmarva Shorebirds Youth Program Instructors Chris Hudson, Jamie Evans and Todd Lampman. Other camp directors include Stephen Decatur High School Varsity Coach Bertha Ortiz, Director of Golf Operation and Men’s Golf Coach at McDaniel College Scott Moyer and University of Virginia Director of Women’s Basketball Operations, Tanzania Williams.
For those extreme sports lovers, Ocean Bowl Skate Camp, Endless Summer Boogie Board Camp and Junior Beach Patrol Camp gave participants a chance to step outside of the box as far as sports camps go. While Ocean Bowl Skate Campers were improving their griding and perfecting their ollie’s, Endless Summer Boogie Board Campers were learning how to “drop knee.”
Junior Beach Patrol was another stand out program this summer at Ocean City Recreation and Parks, according to Ocean City Beach Patrol Sergeant and Junior Beach Patrol Program Supervisor Craig Southard.
“Junior Beach Patrol is one of our fastest growing camps,” Southard said. “Not only do the kids learn the basics of beach patrol duties such as rescue techniques, safety practices, first aid implementation and understanding the waters, but the participants actually engage in swimming techniques such as getting caught in a rip current. Every child walked away from JBP Camp a better swimmer with more knowledge and respect for the ocean and a better understanding of the danger and responsibility of life guarding.”
Aside from the extreme sports, Ocean City Recreation and Parks Summer Camp line-up also offered two camps for the theatrical kids out there. Catch The Spirit Cheerleading Camp and Showtime Dance Camp offered girls and boys the chance to learn cheers, chants, tumbling skills, as well as the fundamentals of ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and gymnastics.
Last on the summer wrap up list are two camps that were new to Ocean City Recreation and Parks. For children who were looking for some way to use their mental abilities instead of their physical abilities, CSI Camp and MX Speedbaot camp was right up their ally.
“There are a lot of kids out there who just aren’t that interested in sports,” said Science Camp Supervisor Ron Strickler. “It was great for us to offer something that was different then most summer camps in the area and something that children of all interest and abilities could have fun participating in.”
CSI Camp and MX Speedboat Camp both proved to be a big hit amongst the children, parents, and the staff at Northside Park.
“We had such a great response for the camp that we had to actually open two extra sessions,” Strickler said.
CSI Camp gave children the opportunity to learn about forensics and perform 25 different experiments to show how tricky cases get solved. Children searched for evidence, gathered clues and dusted for fingerprints. MX Speedboat Camp allowed children to take 43 interlocking parts and build 22 land and water projects, while teaching kids about gears, speed transformations, electricity, buoyancy and other interesting science ideas.
With 2007 being such a successful summer at Ocean City Recreation and Parks, most of the staff is left already wondering how to make sure that next year can top it.
“This summer is going to be a hard one to beat,” Strickler added, “but with such a great staff at Northside Park, amazing coaches, talented camp directors and the children and families who visit us year after year, there is no doubt in my mind that 2008 will be just as great.”