Believe it or not, the summer months are quickly approaching. Long, sultry, school-free days beckon with promises of freedom from lost homework and sock-matching crises. No teachers, no plans, no problem.
Er, well, if your kids are like mine, they will be clamoring for something to do after the first week of classroom liberation. And, if you're like me, you're going to want to find something for them to do, or risk the dreaded domestic destruction that occurs shortly after the "I'm bored!" chant begins.
Thankfully there is a camp that offers a full day of fun and fitness, day after day, week after week, all summer long. The Joe Abrahams summer camp series, a City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department program, offers a variety of specialty camps for children age 5 and older at the Wayne Papy Center, 6925 N. Florida Ave. There are three camp themes to choose from each week, such as Fit for a Princess, Medieval Movement, Games Galore, Extreme Dance and Multi-Sport.
If your child is ready for a day of constant motion, this camp will keep them moving, site supervisor Brenda Fernandez says. "They leave here exhausted, but they come back ready to go the next day."
For parents who are wary of leaving the kids to their own devices in the front yard, the camp offers a safe environment where they can run and play all day, Fernandez says.
Fernandez has worked with the city's parks and recreation department since 1979. She grew up taking dance and baton at the Wayne Papy Center. She says a majority of the staff also grew up in the city's programs, and have decades of experience.
The staff really do make the Wayne Papy Center a special place. My own children have attended camps and classes there in the past. I've never found another place quite like it. They care immensely, and it shows.
The Joe Abrahams camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $85 per week with current recreation card. Recreation cards for city residents are $15 annually. Early drop-off and late pick-up are available for an additional $10 per week.
Camp registration begins April 4 for Tampa residents. Information and online registration are available at http://tinyurl.com/joeabrahamcamp.