Summer vacation fun has begun

Lawton_It's the beginning of summer vacation for most students, and after the long holiday weekend, kids may need something to do while their parents are at work.  You could let the television babysit the kids all day, but there's another option that may be more productive - summer day camp.  At summer camp, they'll get the opportunity to make new friends, be active, and learn new skills throughout the summer.

7News spent the day at some day camps to see what there was to offer vacationing kids - and, reporter Robert Richardson didn't want to leave.  There were activities that included dodgeball, puzzles, pool, chess games, along with more educational fare - learning about nutrition and how to cook healthy snacks.  "[The kids enjoy] being active, and making new friends, learning new skills during the summertime," said Christal Durham, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club, who's running day camp at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawton.  "It's two months not at school when you're not doing any homework or anything like that."

Games like dodgeball may seem rowdy, but at day camp, kids are supervised and kept away from peer pressure.  "Oh, my goodness, they get in so much trouble," said YMCA Program Director Janet Tippeconic.  "I've learned from my own children.  But we try to help them stay out of trouble and this is an ideal spot."

The YMCA teaches core values, responsibility, caring, honesty, and respect.  "This is gonna put principles in them that are gonna be useful at school, useful at home, useful at church - wherever they are." said YMCA Camp Coordinator Doris Manuel.  "It makes them a more productive member wherever they are."  "They'll meet new friends, and they'll go off to school, and they'll have new friends when they're at their elementary schools, or some at their junior highs, and it keeps them active," said camp counselor Brittain Meyer.  "Kids are getting healthy this way."

The kids aren't the only ones who return year after year.  Meyer was reluctant when they asked her to be a counselor the first time.  But she thought she would try it.  "[I thought] okay, I'll try it out," she said.  "And then I loved it, love the kids, the staff is great, so I just decided to come back year after year."

Your kids may prefer painting over dodgeball.  If so, their art could be hanging on the walls of a gallery, as Cameron's Annual Summer Art Camp begins next week.  "The most creative time for learning new skills is when they're younger, and the sky is limit," said Creative Expressions Director Edna McMillan.  "We're just trying to give a good foundation for arts for all children."

Cameron's "Creative Expressions" Art Camp has classes in traditional drawing and painting, along with computer graphic design.  There will be four sessions, each lasting two-weeks.  Lawton's Museum of the Great Plains will also have a summer art program for kids.  "For Arts' Sake, Oklahoma" will kick off next Monday.

Check out our community calendar at for more information about fun things to do this summer.