NORTH BRUNSWICK — The Department of Parks and Recreation is providing many different camp options for the youth of the township this summer.
"I think summer camp brings out the best staff, year in and year out," said Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Louann Benson. "We want the kids to enjoy their summer in a supervised atmosphere. There are 460 kids, and we want them to come out and play."
There are many different options for the youngsters, including day activities at the drop-in camps at Sabella Park, Babbage Park, Colonial Gardens Playground and Veterans Park.
There is no charge for these drop-in camps, according to head counselor Karen Bright.
"The children need to pick up an ID at the Parks and Recreation office," Bright said. "There is no charge to attend the camps. Swimming is one day a week, along with different activities such as arts and crafts."
Bright said that the students do not have to go all day; some of the parents only drop off the youngsters for an hour or so.
"They don’t have to attend all day," Bright said. "They don’t even have to go to the same park on a daily basis. Counselors get emergency phone numbers, and prior to the student coming to the camp, the counselors are notified when the student is coming and how long that student is staying."
Benson said that Bright is a tremendous asset to the camp.
"Her leadership beings tremendous experience and helps bring our program success," Benson said. "She treats the children and counselors with great respect."
The drop-off camp also has trips for the students to take.
"We have trips one day a week," Bright said. "Each group takes one trip a week."
Bright said that parents find the drop-off camp, and the morning and afternoon Campcare to be very convenient.
"The parents can arrange drop-offs in the morning before they go to work or can leave their kids at the camp until 5 or 6 p.m.," Bright said. "It is an advantage for parents who are working all summer. Parents find it difficult to adhere to day-camp schedules because of tough work schedules."
The morning camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon, while the morning Campcare runs from 7:30-9 a.m. The afternoon camp runs from noon to 3 p.m., while the afternoon Campcare runs from 3-6 p.m. The full-day camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For the older children, the township has the Camp Journey program. Camp Journey runs during the month of July, and the campers take trips to various parks, beaches and recreational areas on a daily basis. Benson said that the camp was recently extended by a week.
"Camp Journey used to be three weeks," Benson said. "We extended it an extra week so we could get the Club Med trip into the program."
Camp Journey has been around for approximately 15 years and costs $600 for the four-week period, according to Benson.
There is also a program at North Brunswick Township High School for fifth- to 12th-graders which runs from 7-11 p.m.
The town also has a regular day camp for youngsters in kindergarten to seventh grade. Benson said that the camp continues to improve every year.
"It has really grown into a fun day camp," Benson said. "We are very lucky to have the camps with such great counselors. Both Karen Bright and Giovanna Branciforte have brought a lot of quality and consistency to the camps. It works really well."