Kids summer camp tries winter wonderland

 Illustration by: Rebecca Kottke

Illustration by: Rebecca Kottke

On Friday, Jan. 26, the noise of rambunctious and excited kids could be heard from in front of Oakland apartments. Colorful sleds littered the ground surrounding the classroom as the kids shuffled their way inside the Bagley Nature Center’s outdoor classroom.

Sophomore Sadie Hedger, or “Hey-hey” which is her camp name, is surrounded by elementary aged kids. In between questions from the kids Hedger explained a little more about the day long Winter Wonderland Camp she was counseling.

“This is the first time we’re running a winter camp,” Hedger said. “The program is run through the Kids Rock Summer Camp which runs for nine weeks during the summer. We wanted to experiment a little this winter and possibly introduce new programs.”

The normal camp, which is run during the summer, is hosted by RSOP and UMD students who work as counselors. The nine week program has a mix of different activities offered to kids of all ages.

“Last summer, we ran specialty camps such as bike camp, which ran twice, river camp, and climbing camp,” Hedger said. ”This summer we are hoping to expand it and add a few more camps, but we are still trying to figure that out.”

Last summer the youth camp offered weekly camps such as classic camp which is available for kids ages 5 to 12. In addition to the themed week long camps, the Kids Rock Summer Camp also offers a Junior Counselor program for kids 15 to 18 who are interested in becoming a camp counselor in the future.

Sadie said it was a good time to test out new activities, figuring out what went well with the kids.

“An idea we had was that since kids didn’t have school this Friday we would try and have a camp day, a winter wonderland,” Hedger said.

The camp is run by Joel Sanderson who hires UMD students to work as counselors. During the summer camp, there are usually two part time counselors working as well as 14 people working as hired staff.

“Today, for the winter wonderland we’ve had sixteen kids, but last summer for classic camp we had about 50, and on top of that we had about twelve to sixteen kids for specialty camps, so its about 50 to 60 each week,” Hedger said.

Joel Sanderson, whose son now attends these camps was working the winter wonderland camp on Friday along with three counselors.

“I was a counselor and student for the RSOP summer camp in 2002, the camp has been around since maybe the late 90’s,” Sanderson said.

During the summer, the camp offers kids the opportunity to go outside and enjoy nature by biking, river rafting and hiking, but for this winter camp their activities involved a little more snow.

“Today their favorite part of camp has definitely been sledding,” Hedger said. “The large group activities seem to be popular because its everybody coming together, but also swimming is pretty popular.”

Henry, one of the campers, said that he liked the specialty groups, such as the biking and rock climbing best.

NewsAddie Marzinske