A summer of fun at the YMCA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2005

School was out, and Kristin Goodwin had nothing to do. Her parents had to go to work at Obici Hospital, and she’s five years away from legal driving age, leaving the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student in for a long summer.

Then she found out about the Suffolk YMCA Summer Camp. Sure, it meant she’d still have to get up at 6 a.m. (&uot;My mom wakes me up!&uot; she grins), and the camp’s days were 12 hours long (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), but hey, at least there was no homework involved!

The campers open their day with a prayer before breakfast, then play ball until about lunch. After their second meal, some play more ball. Others head over to the corner of the childcare center to watch some television, play cards or do arts and crafts (once a week, they’ll head out on a field trip, such as to Chuck E. Cheese or bowling). Others take a dip in the facility’s pool.

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That’s Kristin’s favorite part.

&uot;I love swimming,&uot; she says. &uot;I like all the things we do. I’ll probably be back next year.&uot;

About 200 kids ages 5-13 take part of the camp, which runs until the last week before school comes back around. Childcare administration director Lynn Cross-Hobbs wasn’t sure how many years the camp had been running.

&uot;I’ve been here for 14 years, and I know they were doing it before then,&uot; Cross-Hobbs says. &uot;The YMCA is known for its summer camps, and we always draw a crowd. We provide a safe environment for the kids, and members know that. Our return rate is very high.&uot;

For over a decade, it’s included Brittany Lawrence.

&uot;I’ve been counseling for four years,&uot; says Lawrence. &uot;I’ve been coming here since kindergarten. It’s scary, because the kids were in preschool and now they’re in fourth grade. Some of my counselors are still counseling.&uot;

As lunchtime ended Wednesday, the care-center filling with running kids and bouncing balls.

&uot;I like meeting new people, so I can have someone to talk to if I have some problems,&uot; says Kayla Hawkins, 13. &uot;There’s a lot of friends who care here.&uot;

Fellow camper Hunter Gibson has felt this has well.

&uot;I like coming to see my friends,&uot; says the 8-year-old. &uot;We play, and we talk about stuff like ‘Star Wars’ and video games.&uot;

Gabriele Lennartz prefers that to long division and English.

&uot;This is so much better than school,&uot; says the 8-year-old. &uot;We don’t have to do any writing!&uot;