PEAK summer camp a fun time for kids

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Mount Pleasant resident Keelin Fisher, 7, sits inbetween Mount Pleasant residents Jules Fisher, 9, and Lauren Lookarb,10, while they watch kids argue over who has to leave the game while playing Concentration Monday evening at Fancher Elementary School, 801 S Kinney Ave.

The young campers of the Mount Pleasant Partners Empowering All Kids summer camp described their experience in one word: “fun!”

PEAK, a 21st-Century Learning Centers Program, is a six-week summer program involving multiple schools around Mount Pleasant: McGuire Elementary, Fancher Elementary and West Intermediate.

McGuire and Fancher are for children kindergarten through fourth grade, and West Intermediate has a program for fifth through eigth grade children.

PEAK began in 2001, and was funded by the U.S. Department of Education until May 2005. The Mount Pleasant Parks and Recreation Department now administers PEAK in partnership with Mount Pleasant Public Schools.

With the help of strong community support, the program also receives funding from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and tuition fees.

“This is very, very important,” said Riaan Anthony, Mount Pleasant Parks and Recreation PEAK Director. “If you put yourself in the shoes of the parents, it gives them somewhere to take the kids.”

The summer camps have a different theme each week, such as “Around the World in 5 Days,” “PEAK Gives Back” and “Camp PEAK’s Got Talent”.

Each morning, campers participate in academic enrichment activities, like math board games and arts and crafts. During the afternoon, the participants can play sports, make crafts and watch movies.

“It’s great for kids to have something other than sitting at home,” said Tim Taylor, Fancher Elementary Site Coordinator.

Along with learning activities, the kids have the opportunity to participate in a community service day at Island Park and a water day at the East Lansing Aquatic Center.

“It’s really awesome, because we get to do fun things and meet new friends,” said Amaya Branch, 9, of Mount Pleasant.

Branch’s mom, Jaime Branch, said the camp is a good way to keep kids learning and active while giving parents a breather.

“I love it,” she said. “It gives me free time.”

Jean Gilbert, 7, said her favorite activity is arts and crafts. She also loves to play with other kids and meet new friends.

“It’s a very nice program,” said Barb Ley, Gilbert’s grandma. “It keeps them interactive with other children their age.”