Lower Southampton Township will offer five age-segmented summer camp programs
By Samantha Bambino
We’ve finally reached that time of year when it no longer looks like midnight at 5 p.m. The bright, gleaming light of longer, warmer days is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing — registration for the Lower Southampton Township Summer Day Camp program is officially open.
The announcement was recently made by the township Parks and Recreation director, Matt Gilbert, who promises an exciting, enriching and energetic nine-week experience from June 18 through Aug. 17.
“This year’s camps will feature a full share of recreational and fun activities, crafts, instructional enrichment and entertaining cultural excursions,” he said. “Our programs have been meticu
lously designed to allow every child the opportunity to grow and mature through a series of professionally supervised programs and activities embracing physical development, socialization, teamwork and camaraderie.”
According to Gilbert, the township began hosting a summer camp program a little more than 30 years ago, though it has since expanded to include five age-segmented camps at three locations.
For the youngest campers, ages 3 to 5 years old, there is the Pioneer Camp. Held at Russell Elliott Memorial Park on Buck Road, kids are able to enjoy a spacious playground as well as a climate-controlled activities center.
Throughout the week, they participate in traditional camp pastimes including crafts, games and more. While there is no swimming, Gilbert said water play takes place two days a week through the use of sprinklers and other outdoor toys. All children participating in the Pioneer Camp must be potty trained.
Geared toward elementary and middle school-aged children, Discovery Camp runs simultaneously at two locations. The first, which takes place at Joseph E. Ferderbar Elementary School at 300 Heights Lane, is for ages 5 to 12. In addition to an outdoor pool, campers can take advantage of the school’s gymnasium and classroom for indoor activities. Lunch is not provided, and parents are asked to provide their children with snacks and water.
The second Discovery Camp experience is for ages 7 to 12 and takes place at the Dolphin Swim Club, 260 W. Bristol Road. Campers can enjoy a slightly larger pool, skate park and tennis and basketball courts. This location also features a reasonably priced snack stand, so parents are welcome to send their children with money.
For campers ages 13 and older, the township offers a special Teen Camp, also at the Dolphin Swim Club. Gilbert explained that while there is supervision, this experience has a bit of a looser structure.
“Campers that age can decide what they want to do,” he said.
Participants in the Teen Camp have the option of beginning a Counselor-In-Training Program, which is housed at both the Dolphin Swim Club and Ferderbar Elementary. The program is ongoing for two years so that by the time teens are 15, the eligible age for hire, they’re fully prepared to become a camp counselor if they so choose. Through team-building activities and trips, teens are able to see early on if they’d like to make that transition or try something new for the summer, such as working at the local coffee shop. All counselors and staff are certified with necessary background clearances.
Each camp takes place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. with an average of 30 kids per age-segment. To keep them excited throughout the summer, three field trips are planned each season. In past years, these included visits to Ultrazone Laser Tag, AMC Neshaminy 24, the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown and the aquarium. In addition, smaller in-house events take place, such as moonbounces and water slides.
For Gilbert, the township’s summer camp is all about getting kids out of the house. They’re able to interact with peers of the same age, try out new activities and enjoy a much-needed break from the stresses of school.
“It’s more or less just having fun,” he said.
Gilbert encourages parents to register their children early to ensure a place in the camp program. Digital registration at lowersouthamptontownship.org by clicking on “parks and recreation” is encouraged. The program runs for nine weeks from June 18 through Aug. 17, though an additional week of camp can be made available through Aug. 24 for those interested.
This year, special resident rates will be offered to all residents of Lower and Upper Southampton Townships and the 19053 ZIP Code. Cost for children residing in those areas is $798 for the season with a $199.50 first installment required. The non-resident rate is $1,024 per child with a $256 first installment. Payment plans are available.
The deadline for registration is May 18. Late registrants will be charged an additional $100 per child up until June. 8.
A full camp payment schedule and further information is available at 215–357–7300, ext. 340. The Lower Southampton Parks and Recreation Department is headquartered at 1500 Desire Ave. in Feasterville. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org