Summer camps abound at Asbury

Ah, summer – bare feet on grass, homemade ice cream in the churn.

When a school year draws to a close, parents line up activities for children. That’s a great idea, since idle hands are bound for mischief. Remember Huck Finn?

While driving down Highway 119 in Meadowbrook, I noticed a red and white banner proclaiming summer camp at Asbury United Methodist Church. I checked their Web site and wow, they do have activities. For a brief moment I wished to be back in my day of hopscotch and hula-hoops.

The summer activity brochure for Asbury can be found online at Asburyonline.org There you learn what to bring, the cost of the program, dates available and a list of camps.

So, what’s offered?

Soccer Camp is offered for boys and girls ages K-5 to fourth grade. Basketball Camp is available for second- through fifth-grade boys and girls and fourth- through seventh-grade children can participate in art classes. There are fine arts and tennis camp, volleyball and cheer camp and Bible school.

Asbury even offers classes in babysitting for those who’ve completed sixth grade. This class teaches feeding, bathing, changing and basic childcare techniques. A teen who takes the course may earn money babysitting this summer. Plus, after discovering all it takes to care for a child, she may decide to postpone any motherhood ideas until she’s had time to play in life.

Parents and children were driving up to the soccer field as I arrived to meet Program Director Ellen Dean, who leads Asbury’s summer activities. While living in Orlando, Dean began a basketball camp, which had 700 participants the first year.

Dean’s inspired by the way Asbury’s summer camp is a community outreach. Children who get overlooked at other camps – for example, some who are autistic or deaf – mix right in with others. They learn new skills, gain confidence and come to know Jesus Christ through words and actions of camp leaders. A bus brings inner-city children from Wylam, too.

Older teens were on the field, mentoring younger children. Cole and Samantha Kennedy kicked around a soccer ball, warming up. Their mother, Heather Kennedy, said, “They love coming here.”

What’s not to love, I thought: fresh air, sunshine and new friends. I marveled at the grace and giving spirit of camp leaders, especially Dean. For more information, call 271-9919.