DOBSON — Although they’re still wrapping up this year’s event, officials with the Surry County Parks and Recreation Department say they are considering expanding the county’s summer camp program next year.
“The annual summer camps are a really good way for county children to enjoy their summers, and we’re hoping next year that we’ll expand the program next year from the current five weeks to six or seven weeks,” said Parks and Recreation Director Daniel White. “That would cover more of the summer and keep kids active longer.”
The program is in week four of the five-week camp, and White said the program will wrap up next Friday. Nearly 100 children are participating this year at Rockford and Franklin elementary schools.
“Things are going really well,” he said Thursday. “The kids just finished studying macro-invertebrates at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm, and today we’re fishing at Westwood Park.”
This year’s grand finale, White said, will be a day-long trip to Winston-Salem to attend a Winston-Salem Dash game.
While White said he is pleased with this year’s participation, he’d like to see even more children participate next year.
“It’s a really good number, but there is so much the camps have to offer that we’d like to see as many children as possible participate,” he said.
The goal? To send children home tired at the end of the day.
“We try to keep them busy,” White said with a laugh. “We want to send them home tired so mom and dad can enjoy their evening.
“It’s called summer recreation and we want to keep them busy and moving all day long,” he added. “While we do have a little bit of classroom-type lessons, we try to focus on recreational activities and keeping them busy and outdoors.”
He said the idea is to instill a love of outdoor recreation and the natural beauty of the area.
“It’s a chance to get the kids outside and familiar with nature and what’s available in the area,” White said. “This year’s slogan is ‘The Natural Choice,’ and we want the camp to teach them how much fun it can be to be outdoors.”
White said he believes children who learn to appreciate nature at an early age often carry that love throughout their lives.
“We do the camp program every year to give kids an opportunity to get out and explore the natural resources and the resources of Surry County,” he said. “Hopefully, they will grow into adults who have an appreciation for their natural surroundings.
“We want them learning something and using their imaginations instead of using their thumbs on a game controller.”
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.