With summer winding down and kids back to school, the Summer Camp Series here at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation has drawn to a close.
Youngsters in our Adventures in Art, Science of Summer, the Summer Experience, Play On, and Boys Rock! Girls Rule! camps headed back to area elementary schools with stories of arts & crafts, experiments, field trips and sunny days out at The Waterpark.
But what about our middle school and high school aged campers? About 25 of them – ages 12 through 15 – had the unique experience to serve as summer I.M.P.A.C.T. leaders.
I.M.P.A.C.T. – an acronym for Initiative, Motivation, Professionalism, Achievement, Compassion and Teamwork – is a nine-weeklong camp where kids in their early teens can gain experience working with camp counselors at various CCPR summer camps.
The I.M.P.A.C.T. campers led activities and attended field trips with their individual camps, all-the-while meeting once a week at the Monon Community Center for hour-long training sessions, where the kids learned about resume building and job applications, and how to be better camp leaders.
“We improved our skills of teamwork,” said 15-year-old Riley Leonard.
Riley has been an I.M.P.A.C.T. camper for four years at the Play On East camp. Riley chose to work at Play On East after going to the Play On East camp himself when he was younger.
Riley’s sister was also in the I.M.P.A.C.T. program, and Riley said he hopes to return to Play On East as a counselor next summer. He also said his time as an I.M.P.A.C.T. camper as helped him understand kids and improve his public speaking skills.
The I.M.P.A.C.T. campers met for their last weekly training session July 30 and were greeted with a pizza party. The room was full of energy as the I.M.P.A.C.T. campers received certificates and flash drives with letters of recommendation.
Jennifer Brown, the program’s advisor, told campers, “You can definitely use these things if you’re doing something for school or if you’re going to apply for a job, these are all good things for you to have.”
This year’s group of I.M.P.A.C.T. campers included a lot of first year campers, many which hope to return next year.
“The overall experience of I.M.P.A.C.T. camp over the last four years, it’s definitely been a lot of fun,” Riley said.