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Free Summer Camps Return, Thanks to Township Trustees

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Noblesville students participate in the track and field summer camp during a previous Summer Recreation Camp program, made possible thanks to Noblesville Township Trustee Office, with many of Noblesville Schools’ facilities used for the programs.

When my now high school sophomore daughter was in middle school, I sat at my laptop computer waiting for Noblesville Schools’ annual free summer camps to go on sale.

It kind of reminded me of when I used to try to get tickets for popular concerts at the former Deer Creek Music Center, or this school year when I was trying to get front-row tickets for Noblesville High School’s “High School Musical.”

Needless to say, the summer camps are very popular.

I want to thank the Noblesville Township Trustee Office for partnering with Noblesville Schools to offer the programs again this year.

We took advantage of the camps for the first time five summers ago, and we loved the camps.

My daughter likes to stay busy. So she attended several camps.

Our first year, we signed up for track and field, tennis, cross country, swimming and softball. Our second year, we signed up for synchronized swimming (thanks to a partnership with Indy Synchro), color guard, hiking and again, track and field.

Our third year, 20-plus different free summer camps were offered, and we signed up for hiking and adventure camp, led by Promise Road Elementary art teacher, Darlene Patterson.

Noblesville Schools on Friday released this year’s summer camps. There are 36 choices of summer camps, with 15 of those being free camps, thanks to Noblesville Township Trustee. The camps with fees are choir, band and orchestra, and advanced sports camps. Camps are offered for kindergarten through Grade 8. There are also hiking camps for grades 3-4 and 5-6.

Free camps include football, strength training, boys basketball and wrestling, for grades K-4; girls basketball, girls volleyball and tennis, grades K-7; dance and soccer, grades K-5; dance, grades 5-7; color guard, grades 4-8; and girls track, grades 3-7. The track and field program is offered at the new Beaver Materials Stadium.

Being that students can sign up or cancel with a couple of clicks on the computer, I advise them to sign up for desired camps as soon as possible.

Every year, I think many families are actually watching and waiting for the camps.

An Adventure Camp, for grades 7-8, for two different June dates, sold out within minutes of going on sale, as if it were tickets to a sought-after concert. The camp offers a day of hiking, archery and high-ropes course at Koteewi Archery Range and Koteewi Aerial Adventures at Strawtown Koteewi Park. Two hiking camps, for two different age divisions, visiting Cool Creek, Strawtown Koteewi, Potters Bridge and Forest parks, still had available spots as of Sunday.

Hundreds of students have already signed up so far, according to Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley.

But there are still openings for baseball, boys basketball, boys lacrosse, color guard, cross country, dance, football, girls basketball, girls lacrosse, softball, swimming and synchronized swimming camps.

“Our summer recreation program is unique to our office in that it provides free services to all the students of Noblesville schools regardless of financial need,” Kenley has said. “In this way, we are giving back to all youth in the community.”

He has said, “The program also helps raise awareness with students, parents and other adults as to the duties and responsibilities of the Township Trustee office.”

Kenley has said, “Our motto is ‘Helping our community be a better and safer place to live.’”

My daughter enjoyed the track and field camp, which was bright and early at 8 a.m. with participants encouraged to run, jump hurdles and compete in the long jump. A newby five years ago, my daughter learned hand positions that would help her run faster with less stress on her body, she learned to watch what’s in front of her, not who’s coming up behind her, and she learned when to stride and when to give it her all.

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Noblesville students participate in the cross country camp behind White River Elementary during a previous Summer Recreation Camp program. The program, annually open to students in Noblesville Township, is made possible thanks to Noblesville Township Trustee Office, with many of Noblesville Schools’ facilities used for the programs.

In swimming camp, we had student instructors that were wonderful with the kids. Campers of all skills enjoyed the week, learning better swim techniques and how to be more efficient in the water. Going into swimming camp, she was a swimmer. Coming out she loved swimming even more. And we met a new friend to help her with her stroke techniques.

Swimming and softball camps aren’t offered this year.

In softball, she learned how to pitch and catch with a mitt, how to swing the bat, and how to field a softball. It was a really hot week in the sun with lots of water breaks.

In tennis, she learned the basics of swinging the racket to make contact with the ball.

And in cross country, she did a lot of long-distance running and played some fun games.

One summer, she learned about some sports she’d never tried before and found that she liked them all.

In synchronized swimming, she was a little timid at first, but quickly acclimated and learned all kinds of synchronized swim movements in the camp that culminated with a show for parents. Synchronized swimming will also not be offered this summer.

Hiking was another fun camp, in which we met at three different parks.

Noblesville Township has provided the free summer camp program to students for more than 30 years.

“We invest about $35,000 annually in our children through our summer recreation programs,” Kenley has said.

In recent years, the program expanded to beyond just athletics, to include dance, hiking, color guard and more.

The Township Trustee partners with not only Noblesville Schools but also Hamilton County and Noblesville parks departments, to use their facilities.

“The Trustee office appreciates the support of all of our partners in helping make this a successful program,” Kenley has said.

He and three board members are committed to the program and think it’s “important to provide our children with opportunities to stay active both mentally and physically over the summer break.”

The Trustee office helps needy Noblesville families who qualify for financial assistance. On a limited basis, the Township Trustee office pays rents “to avoid evictions, utilities to stop disconnections of service, and other basic expenses deemed necessary for the health and safety of families,” he has said.

For the summer camps, Noblesville Schools provide use of facilities and help with advertising on its website, he has said. Individual camp directors and their helpers are paid. Most camp directors are school teachers. Noblesville Township works with a camp coordinator in determining the camps.

For free Summer Recreational Camp opportunities, visit  https://www.noblesvilleschools.org/youthactivities and click on “Free Noblesville Summer Recreation Programs.”

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.