Theres room for 950 children, ages 6 to 15, in Macon-Bibb County Recreation Department summer camps this year -- and the recent government consolidation and improvements have made some changes possible.
We have opened up a couple of our centers to higher numbers, said Ellen Banas, Macon-Bibb County recreation programmer. The recreation centers at North Macon Park and Bloomfield Park got renovations from the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax, allowing the expansion, she said.
And Macons merger with Bibb County has opened a huge new facility to campers.
Lake Tobesofkee is new for us, Banas said. Weve never had a camp out there.
Registration for the six-week camps starts Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon at Central City Park. Camp representatives will be on hand to answer questions Saturday, but registration will continue at the various recreation centers through May, ending earlier if the camps fill up, according to a Recreation Department news release.
Most of our camps will fill to capacity, Banas said. The North Macon, Bloomfield and Tobesofkee camps probably will be full by mid-May, she said.
The camps, which run June 2 through July 11, cost $180. That includes all materials, lunch -- and breakfast, for those children dropped off early -- swimming, outreach events and some field trips.
We prefer that parents pay up front for the entire camp, Banas said. To encourage that, parents paying for the whole six weeks at once will get one week free, for a total of $150, she said. The department does allow weekly or biweekly payments, but offers no other discounts, Banas said.
Each camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Children can be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. and picked up as late as 6 p.m. at no extra charge.
This years camps also offer different content from previous years.
In addition to our regular summer day camp, we will be offering two basketball camps, an athletic camp, and a camp at Lake Tobesofkee, the Recreation Departments Facebook page announces.
The centers at Rosa Jackson and Memorial Park will offer intensive basketball camps, each of which can take 100 participants. The athletic camp, held at Freedom Park, will train 100 children in football, baseball, soccer, boxing and other sports.
The Tobesofkee camp will offer more general activities, but with a greater focus on the outdoors for its 100 participants.
The other four camps, at Bloomfield, East Macon Park, Frank Johnson and North Macon Park, will offer traditional athletics, arts and crafts and similar activities in the morning; but the afternoons will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Banas said. The afternoons are planned to be fun, hands-on activities, she said.
Theyll be learning about velocity through building rockets, for example, Banas said.
The aim is to help bridge the summer gap in school programs, she said.
The Frank Johnson camp can take 100 participants, while the other three centers can hold 150 each.
Children dont have to reside in Bibb County to sign up for the camps, as long as parents are willing to bring them each day, Banas said. The camp at East Macon Park often has many children of Geico employees who work in Bibb County but dont live in the county, she said.
After Saturday, registration for each camp will be conducted at the center where it will be held. The only exception is the Lake Tobesofkee camp, for which registration will be at L.H. Williams Community Center, 325 Pursley St., 751-7036.
The center locations and phone numbers:
Bloomfield Park, 4115 Lions Place, 781-6000.
East Macon Park, 3326 Ocmulgee East Blvd., 751-9271.
Frank Johnson, 2227 Mercer University Drive, 751-9274.
North Macon Park, 815 N. Macon Park Drive, 477-8526.
Memorial Park, 2465 Second St., 751-9210.
Rosa Jackson, 1121 Maynard St., 751-9169.
Freedom Park, 3301 Roff Ave., 751-9248.
For more information, parents can call the Recreation Department at 751-9280.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.