Summer Camp: Parks and Rec to offer fun for city children

By STAFF REPORTS,

During the past several years, Hattiesburg has offered day programs during the summer months for students throughout the city, with the intention of giving children the opportunity to be productive while out of school.

As the programs went on, officials decided they wanted to offer the students more than just one place to come spend time – a goal that will be reached this summer with the implementation of the new City of Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation Summer Camp.

The camp, which will be developed and coordinated by Voiced Through Art LLC, will provide a multi-site camp with academic and recreational activities for up to 270 children from June 3 to July 19, with a break during the 4th of July week.

“We want our kids to come and have fun, but also enrich their learning to bridge the gap between the end of school and the beginning of school,” said Chris McGee, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We’re working very closely with Hattiesburg Public School (District) to make sure that we’re trying to reach some of the goals that they have, as far as keeping the kids bridging that gap.”

The six-week camp is aimed at three specific age groups: rising kindergartners and first-graders, who will meet at Woodley Elementary School; second- through sixth-graders, who will meet at Lillie Burney Elementary School; and seventh- and eighth-graders, who will meet at N.R. Burger Middle School.

Kindergartners and first-graders, as well as seventh- and eighth-graders, will participate in summer camp from about noon-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while second- through sixth-graders will participate from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Early grades will be offered several recreational activities – including soccer, kickball and water play – as well as arts immersion such as performance arts, visual arts and music. STEM exploration includes camp chemistry, Earth and space science activities and zoology.

Elementary students will add onto that with sculpting and pottery, crafting and free exploration of the arts. STEAM activities for that group include robotics, math battles and physics.

The camp also will offer literacy activities, academic reinforcement such as math and ELA, and recreation like archery, golf, tennis and baseball. Elementary students also will take part in life planning activities, including community service, mentorship, career exploration and financial literacy.

The curriculum is much the same for middle school students, with the addition of music composition, badminton and pickleball.

“We hired a company (Voice Through Art) to come in and train our staff, and we will try to piggyback with Hattiesburg public schools and do some learning outcomes with the academic learning going on,” McGee said. “And then some of the programs that are already going on with the schools, we’re going to piggyback on some of those things – the STEAM and things like that.”

The camp also will feature field trips and special events, such as a potential camp night at Vernon Dahmer Park, a children’s business expo at the Lillie Burney Transploreum and a tour of Hattiesburg that will include spots like Kamper Park, Camp Shelby, the Hattiesburg Zoo and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“We call it ‘Discovering Hattiesburg,’ where we’ll show the kids all the things that Hattiesburg has to offer,” McGee said. “We found out a lot of things that kids do not know of that Hattiesburg has to offer.”

There is a fee of $35 per child for the camp, which includes breakfast, lunch and a snack in the afternoon. Registration can be completed online at www.cityofhpr.sportssignup.com or at the Parks and Recreation office at 315 Conti St. in Hattiesburg.

For more information, call (601) 545-4674.

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