Summer camps set to serve thousands of kids

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A herd of kids rambunctiously flooded into Sports Blast in Chelsea Monday morning doning tennis shoes and shin guards.

The kids came in, despite their wishes to sleep late, for a one-week Spring Break camp. This camp acts as a precursor to the long list of summer camps being held across Shelby County this summer.

Shelby County YMCA assistant director Rhonda Williams said many of the Y’s specialty camps have already begun to fill up.

“I think camp really gives kids something constructive to do with their summer,” Williams said. “Its so much better than being stuck inside watching TV.”

If nothing else, the kids involved get the chance to learn new things and make new friends, Williams said. Many of the YMCA camps kick off in late May, while Sports Blast begins teaching future futbol players in early June.

“We try to get kids excited about the sport,” said Sports Blast co-owner John Markey. “Our camps offer that on two levels. Our Mighty Mites camp is an introduction to the game, while the soccer day camps are a little more intensive. The outdoor camps are on an even higher level.”

While camps like those offered by Sports Blast seek to heighten a particular skill, YMCA and Girl Scout camps seek to broaden kids’ minds with a variety of activities.

Williams said the Shelby County YMCA branch served more than 3,000 kids last summer along. Their max capacity is 3,500 and this does not even count the kids served at the Alabaster or Greystone locations.

Below is just a sampling of the activities parents can sign their kids up for this summer.


For families looking for the full camping experience Kanawahala provides a picturesque setting. Adventures at the Kanawahala Center in Chelsea include something for everyone. Campers will try their hands at archery, canoeing, ropes courses, cookouts, crafts, games, hiking and horseback riding, make-overs and nail painting, nature activities, orienteering and outdoor skills.

There will be an open house May 3. For more information, visit


Mighty Mites: Younger campers try their skills for a half-day session by participating in individual and team contests. Sessions: June 15-19; July 6-10; July 13-17; and July 27-July 31.

Soccer Day Camp: This camp focuses on improving technical/tactical skills and enhancing a player’s confidence. Sessions: June 15-19; July 13-17; and July 27-July 31.

Kid’s Summer FUN Camp: This camp includes a variety of games like relay races and scavenger hunts, as well as story time, craft time and movie time. Sessions: June 22-26 and July 20-24.

Tykes Camp: This is a new two-hour mini camp that gives younger kids a taste for what camp is like. Sessions: June 22-26 and July 20-24.

For more information, visit


Traditional: Little Explorers (Entering Kindergarten), Scamper Camp (Entering first grade), Trailblazer Camp (Entering second-fifth grade) and Teen Scene Camp (Entering sixth-eighth grade) all run from May 26-July 31.

Water Park Adventure: Campers will be going to YMCA Camp Cosby, Splash Beach, Point Mallard, Surfside and Southern Adventure.

Precision Sports: Days will be filled with activities such as archery, disc golf, traditional sports and more.

Batter Up! Led by Faulkner University Catcher Chris Myles, campers will learn the basics of batting, pitching and catching. They will also spend time at the batting cages.

Princess or Diva Camps: Campers spend the week dressing up, painting nails, dancing and doing princess crafts. The camps will include exciting trips to Painted by You and Justice for Girls.

The Science of Harry Potter: Chemistry magic prevails as campers begin their training at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This camp will include classes in herbology, potions and astronomy.

Lost and Found: This is a brand new camp designed to teach kids how to use GPS coordinates, learn basic orienteering and go on treasure hunts and other exciting adventures.

Boys Rock: Boys gather at the YMCA to take boys only adventures such as laser tag, dirt bikes and more.

Park Ranger: Kids get the chance to explore local state parks to discover the beauty of nature.

These are only a small sampling of the huge variety of camps offered each summer by Shelby county’s three YMCA locations.

To find out when each camp is hosted at each site, visit the YMCA’s Web site at