Making Memories One Camp At a Time – by Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry

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Summer is the time of year that kids get the most excited about. First off, no school. Secondly, still no school. Plus, warm weather, family trips to the beach, LOTS of outdoor time and usually some sort of water play is involved. While the pandemic cramped our summer style last summer, I was so excited to be able to offer Summer Camps again this year!

I will be the first to tell you, the planning part is not nearly as fun as a day on the beach sipping on a… soda. However, the fun that I get to see the kids experience after a rough year makes it worthwhile.

For most of us who are a little older, Summer Camp was the bee’s knees when we were kids. We went to sleep-away camps,Manassas Park Parks and Recreations School Age Recreation Specialist Jacquelyn-Tyre Perry wrote letters home to our parents, slept outside in tents and sleeping bags and made the best friends ever. If movies like Parent Trap don’t bring back memories, you’re just not old enough- LOL! Summer Camp is the place where a lot of lasting memories were made and relationships were built. Camps counselors were like big brothers and sisters and you just couldn’t wait to go back the next summer. I went to Space Camp for two summers and Aviation Challenge another. I promise, you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t living my best life.

That’s my hope for our Summer Camps here each and every summer- that every kid leaves having made tons of new friends, learned something along the way, and found companions in our staff. While there may be no sleeping bags, tents, or s’mores, and 3-6 feet worth of distance between us, my goal is to provide some of the same opportunities that a lot of us had when we were kids going off to camp. I’m not going to lie, with the extremely strong competition of technology these days, it can sometimes feel like unless it’s digital, it won’t please the kids. However, I’ve found that if everyone is truly having a good time, staff included, the gadgets take a back seat.

Now I’m only in week 2 of Summer Camps, but I’m already knee deep in planning for Fall Extended Care, which is just as much, if not more exciting than Summer Camps because the pandemic kept us at home all of last school year. So I am thrilled to hopefully see my Extended Care kids again and I’m always excited for the new faces!

Whether your kids are with us for a week in summer, or an entire school year, just know that we make it our top priority to ensure they have the most fun, safe, and memorable experience.

Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry is the School Age Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at J.Tyre-Perry@ManassasParkVA.gov

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