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Rec Center’s summer camp kicks off

June 20, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

For kids taking part in summer camp this year throughout Lee County, it is a time to have fun, play games and maybe even learn a thing or two.

Camp started Monday at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center, filled with enough activity to keep them occupied all day.

The expected number of campers was dropped at the last minute from 120 for traditional camp to 105, while teen camp was dropped from 40 to 30, with the reason being that other camps were lacking trained personnel. With 15 campers to every counselor and North not quite reaching its original quota, those counselors were moved.

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Kyle Stone, 13, of Lehigh, rolls the ball toward the kicker at kickball practice at summer camp at North Fort Myers Regional Park on Wednesday.


The first week of camp saw North reach its new numbers and is expected to be at or close throughout the eight-week camp period, with the exception of the week of July 4, which is always tough to fill.

Stafford Milligan, teen camp director, said things have been going well so far, with everyone registered for camp this week showing up.

"We are hitting our numbers this week. We haven't for the other weeks, but we have 18 to 20 so far and should fill them," Milligan said. "Our camp is definitely growing. Parents are seeing the camp is here and it's going to keep getting better, so you get peace of mind from that."

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With camps open 10.5 hours a day, that can be an exhausting day for counselors, Milligan said. Thankfully, not everyone arrives at open and leaves at close, allowing Milligan to stagger start times for his workers. Peak times are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., when parents start picking kids up.

"You never know what you're going to get. You may get a lot of them at once or they trickle in. The only time they need to be here on specific times are for trips," Milligan said.

The highlights of the week included two trips to the North Fort Myers High School pool for both traditional and teen campers, a canoe trip for the teens, and a trip to the Florida Repertory Theater on Thursday for the production of "The Addams Family."

With the traditional campers taking their turn at the pool Wednesday, the teens were busy practicing for their upcoming kickball game against Veterans Park of Lehigh.

Okay, so they weren't exactly the 1927 Yankees. They showed some energy with many of them eating a breakfast at the camp, the first time the meal has been offered to go along with lunch. Counselors have to attend a class to serve food safely.

Also offered, for the first time, is the option for 12-year-olds to attend either the traditional or teen camp.

Kyle Stone, 13, of Lehigh, said he was having fun at camp so far, especially since he gets to go outside when the weather allows it.

"The camp counselors are cool and the sports are great because I love the outdoors," Stone said, who is signed up all summer. "I'm looking forward to going kayaking and swimming. I'm glad I'm here. Otherwise, I'd be home bored."

Harmony Cruz, 15, from Cape Coral, said she was also having a good time and meeting friends.

"I've done camp a long time. I was in traditional camp until I turned 11. I like going to the gym and play volleyball. I swim and play basketball at Mariner," Cruz said. "If I wasn't here I would be home doing schoolwork for summer school to get extra credits."

Camp will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until Aug. 3. To register, go to



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