our community has hosted a beach camp for the neighborhood kids for years. a co-op run laid back gathering of neighbors who meet at the community beach for a couple of hours 3 days a week during the month of July. each parent takes a day and plans an activity from popsicle stick frames and photos, to painting river rocks to messy art days, seining, fishing and crabbing, scavenger hunts, kick ball games, candle making, etc. the cost is minimal, $30 per child. under $100 for my three boys to participate. a camp fee hard to find these days.
last year, jill galloway noticed a group of kids who would soon be "graduating" (usually around 12 years old) out of beach camp. but these kids were still looking for activities to do and a place to gather. she decided to create a "teen camp" for those kids who were entering 7th grade. they would meet on fridays and do an activity. it was a raving success! and she continued it again this year with the help of her husband and children.
this year, the teens met to plant red buds around the community, an idea sparked from a willow tree that was planted at our main beach by jill's mother in law for her son. the tree now serves as a landmark to many boaters and residents as she waves her beautiful branches all year long.
the teens also built a osprey nest for our local winged friends. on the another friday they built trebuchet's, a catapult that is used to hurl stones (or tennis balls!). they began with a diagram, all the pre-cut pieces (thanks to mr. galloway), a drill and a team. then they had a competition to see whose ball would launch the farthest. the girls won.
each week, the camp grew larger. word was spreading that this was a place to be on fridays for this sleepy teenage group. on the last day, it was the annual cardboard box regatta. cardboard was collected, duck tape, box cutters and oars. the rules: build a boat out of cardboard, drive it around the bouy and make it back to the beach. winners were selected based on three categories, 1. speed boat award, 2. titanic award, 3. designers award. as the rain began to fall, we ordered our snowballs, and headed to the beach to watch the races.
all in all, the teen camp was good old wholesome fun. like the days before technology. i am grateful for the galloways. for the smiles they placed on these teens faces each week and for their continued effort to make this place a wonderful place to raise our children. thank you galloways.