PEAK summer camp gets children active and learning during the summer

Samantha Madar/Staff Photographer Madyson Riley, left, is shocked realizing that she is losing the Tic-Tac-Toe game against, Chloe Parker, right at Peak Summer Camp, June 24, 2013.

Mount Pleasant's PEAK summer camp, which began Monday and spans across four elementary schools for the next six weeks of summer, is aiming to give children in the city a chance to be active during the summer months.

Each school hosts a certain age group, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, in hopes of keeping children busy and active through the summer months. Complete with both academic and leisure time throughout the day, children are able to play in the summer sun while also keeping their minds busy and learning.

Mount Pleasant senior Tim Taylor runs the PEAK program at Vowles Elementary, 1560 South Watson Road. He is in charge of organizing the staff, helping to create activities for the children and making sure all codes and rules from the state are being followed throughout the camp.

“PEAK gives great opportunities for kids to have fun while learning and staying busy through the summer months,” Taylor said. “We’ve had one of the biggest turnouts yet this year.”

At Vowles Elementary, Taylor oversees 127 children ranging from kindergarten to third grade. He leads a 15-member staff that includes lead program assistant and Rosebush senior Kurt Kreiner.

“I’m sort of like (Taylor's) wingman or partner in crime," Kreiner said. "I make sure everything is running smoothly. Basically, the things that Tim might not have time to get to, I make sure gets done. Having been here for four summers in a row, I know exactly what needs to be done every day.”

PEAK is open for children from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a strict parent pick-up policy. Activities do not begin until 9 a.m., giving all the children a chance to get to camp, based on their parent’s work schedules. These activities range from coloring and drawing, making their own personal locker tags, ice-breaker games and sports including football, baseball and dodgeball, a favorite amongst the second-grade boys.

“I’m mostly excited to play dodgeball everyday and to go on our field trip to the [Soaring Eagle] waterpark,” said seven-year-old Vowles second-grader Caleb Neubecker. “I’m really excited to be with my friends and not have to go to school.”

Many of the second graders were also excited for the Super Summer Showcase, a "kick-off party” of sorts for the children that included mock-rocks, music and dancing, and plenty of sports games.

The PEAK summer camp program promotes education while still keeping the children entertained and creating a stress-free environment where the children "learn without realizing their learning." Taylor said.

“Rather than bog the kids down with worksheets or mundane activities, we try to pull fun from learning," Taylor said.


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