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Summer camp season draws to a close

August 2, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Friday wasn't much different from the other days for the children attending summer camp at North Fort Myers Community Center. The kids played indoors and out, they ate, and had a lot of fun.

But this day wasn't entirely like all the rest. It was the final day of the eight-week 2017 summer camp program that ended with a huge cookout, with donations from area businesses, and the knowledge that the new school year is only a couple weeks away.

For North Fort Myers, it was the most successful camp, both traditional and teen, they have ever had. Traditional camp pretty much filled up its 90 slots every week, while the teen camp, which has always been tougher to fill up, was at about 75 to 80 percent capacity.

Article Photos

Kids enjoy the last day of Summer Campt at the North Fort Myers Community Center.


First-year camp director Stafford Milligan said everything went well with the kids, his six counselors and his lead, leading him to believe that they could expand to 120 next year.

"We filled up 90 spots even though they didn't all come to camp. We made sure the kids were scheduled to go swimming once a week and a field trip once a week," Milligan said. "We also had a survivor camp where the kids did group challenges and (Thursday) we had a scavenger hunt."

Milligan said they were hoping for 120 campers this year, but there wasn't enough interest. Unfortunately, there were some children who had to be put on waiting lists if they signed up too late.

"We kept track of sign-ups and we had about 105 per week. That was good. Hopefully we'll get those numbers up next year," Milligan said. "I don't like turning away kids if they want to come."

Tiffany Vance, teen camp director, said the program got a little more money this year so they could go on an extra field trip. Overall, attendance was up about 3 percent.

"We had the cardboard regatta and a kayaking trip. We went on some nature walks on the Caloosahatchee, Skyzone, Sun & Fun Lagoon, The Shell Factory, competed against other camps. The kids enjoyed themselves," Vance said. "As long as you have a game plan for that day, they love it."

Vance said the maximum any teen camp can have is 40. She hopes more local businesses can help fund some extra field trips next year.

The campers had a great time this year. Dominic Reyes, 13, of Cape Coral, said it was great getting back with all his friends from last summer.

"There were also new faces, so it wasn't so bad. I made friends with them, too," Reyes said. "It was fun in general. I liked Sun & Fun and I hope to come next year."

"I had fun this year because I had a lot of friends," said James Gould, 12, of Cape Coral. "The best place to go was Sun & Fun Lagoon."

"It was really fun. We were messing around, having a good time," said Gavin DePree, 13, of North Fort Myers. "The counselors have more trust in us most of the time."



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