Children worn out

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, August 9, 2017
West Liberty police sirens were on blast Friday, Aug 4., as more than 30 children crowded into the department’s cruiser. Each little hand wanted the chance to make some noise.

For the most part Officer Kimberly Halpain kept them under control, but the 30 plus children involved in West Liberty Parks and Recreation Day Camp were beyond excited.

“We try and wear them out by the end of the day,” says Parks and Rec. Director Nick Heath. “The parents say their kids not only have fun, but come home tired and ready for bed.”

West Liberty’s Day Camp is a week-long bonanza of physical actives, from swimming in Kimberly Park and sports, to traveling to Air FX in Cedar Rapids, which has wall-to-wall trampolines.

It’s about keeping the kids busy with fun activities. In the past, participants have gone bowling or camping overnight, or traveled to Six Flags, Adventureland and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

“We always try to go someplace that the kids might not get to go,” adds Heath. “We went ice skating on Wednesday and some of the kids never got to do that before.”

On this particular day the kids were off to Air FX in the afternoon, but not before dropping by the local police department. After playing in the car they got a tour of the department.

Day Camp began Monday, July 31 and end Friday, Aug. 4. However, the program has been around for a long time, long before Nick Heath became the Director.

But, it has only been around the last seven years that the Day Camp, which begins bright and early at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., has been split into two sessions.

The first session occurs the last week in June around the time that school is over, meanwhile the second and most recent session occurs at the beginning of August.

The August Day Camp is always the most crowded. By this time family vacations are mostly over, the Muscatine County Fair has come and gone and school is looming on the horizon.

“We decided to have a second Day Camp just because so many people want in on it,” says Director Heath. “This one in August I look at as the final end to summer for these kids.”

Attendance can vary between 20 to 35 kids depending on the day, but at $65 for the week it gives parents a way to keep their kids active and out of the house.

The kids love it too, each day they’re dropped off at Kimberly Park with a bottle of sunscreen, closed two shoes, swim suit and a towel. They come prepared for anything.

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the kids made tie-dye shirts. That’s a messy project according to Heath, but it must have been worth it. By Friday more than half the kids were sporting their new shirts.

“Kids, they got so much energy. We do a lot of other things were they can run around and burn off some of that energy,” says Heath. “They also get to hangout with friends they might not get to see over the summer.”

Obviously the Kimberly Park Pool plays a big part in the burn. With a diving board, water slide and actives the kids probably go swimming two to three times per Day Camp.
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