DOBSON — Another season of summer camp is rolling at Surry County Parks and Recreation.
The six-week camp for children in grades 1 through 8 began on June 20 and will conclude on July 29.
According to Parks and Recreation employee Bradley Key, who oversees the camp program, the county has two sites for its summer camp. About 50 children are enrolled at the Rockford Elementary School site, and about 75 report to Franklin Elementary.
Though the Surry County Schools locations are used as a base for the operations, kids see far more than the inside of a gymnasium, according to Key.
“We try to keep them travelling at least three days a week,” said Key. “We want to keep them engaged and moving.”
Key said the field trips involved with camp include trips to Homeplace Recreational Park, movies, the splash pad at Dobson Square Park, Fisher River Park and much more.
However, the experience for Surry County youth doesn’t stop at fun.
“We try to provide educational opportunities which stimulate their minds,” remarked Key.
He said events such as a Revolutionary War reenactment, a visit to Historic Rockford Village, a trip to SciWorks in Winston-Salem and even an educational experience at the county courthouse are on the agenda for campers.
Key also said campers are in good hands for the day. About 30 local residents, who are screened with background checks, are employed on a part-time basis to run the camp. The ratio of campers to those supervising is never worse than 10 to one.
According to Key, a site coordinator manages the personnel at each location, and morning and afternoon shifts ensure staff are always fresh and ready to provide a quality camp experience to the children. Most employees are high school or college age people, though some older adults are hired as well.
Key touted a youth training program. Kids age out of the program after the summer following their seventh grade year in school. However, those wishing to stay around the program may sign up to become a counselor-in-training. While helping counselors, they get the experience to take the reins of the program one day.
Key added the program has an application process, and not all kids get a slot as a counselor-in-training.
In the end, Key said the summer camp program is meant to give children a positive experience, while building necessary skills for life.
“It’s a great way to give kids and their parents an option for constructive summer recreation,” said Key. “They learn some, and they build social skills. It also can help keep some of the older kids out of trouble.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.