This should be a great year for children to build memories at Summer Better Than Others Day Camp, according to Larisa Aldrich. Aldrich, who works for the City of Dunkirk, has directed this well-known program for the city of Dunkirk on the Camp Gross site for over 20 years.
Camp is held from Monday through Friday for children who are at least 5 years old (and who finished kindergarten) through 11. The first of five sessions begins on July 9 and the last session begins Aug. 6.
Campers participate in sports, games, arts and crafts, lifeguard supervised recreational swimming and fishing, nature study, sing-a-longs, and special events. On Friday each week, parents are invited to a show, a series of skits performed by the campers.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane Chodan
Nature study is an important part of the camping experience. Here children look for frogs. Day camp is held at Camp Gross, 75 acres of beautiful land in the Cassadaga area.
Camp is held rain or shine. There are several well-kept buildings on site which are used for rainy day activities.
Aldrich said she works to keep the cost low so that parents can afford the experience. Dunkirk city residents pay $30 for the first child and $20 for each additional child in the family. Other area residents pay $40 for the first child and $25 for each additional child. In addition, children who are residents of the Dunkirk City School District get an additional $5 off the price through the 2lst Century grant. Some scholarships may be available for Dunkirk residents.
Fees include lunch, afternoon snacks and supervised bus transportation with stops at central locations in the city. Route information is provided prior to the start of camp sessions.
Day camp sessions:
Session 1 July 9-13
Session 2 July 16-20
Session 3 July 23-27
Session 4 July 30 - Aug. 3
Session 5 Aug. 6-10
"This year, we have T-shirts for each of the campers as well as backpacks they will be able to color and personalize," said Aldrich. "I was able to get arts and craft supplies through grants. We will be doing things such as potholders and boondoogle. We also have a tent for the waterfront area, and some folding tables that we will use for special activities."
Staffing is at a maximum youth to adult ratio of six-to-one. Ratios are lower for the younger children as well as for special events and water activities.
"Our staff is very well-trained. All of the staff has been first aid trained. A day camp requires four staff trained in CPR, but at least half of our staff hold CPR certification. Lifeguards are New York state certified. All staff have camp orientation and training prior to camp opening."
Registration is now being taken for camp from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Recreation Department/Youth Bureau offices in the basement of city hall in Dunkirk. All must register in person. Those who have questions about the program may call 366-9886.
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