Well, is underway, and it is already giving back.
The Town of Waterford’s first ever summer camp, Camp Dash, is in its third week of existence and is serving 88 students, 12 below what was originally anticipated. On Wednesday, the campers held a car wash, where they raised
“There have been no issues so far,” Recreation and Parks Program Coordinator Kerry Sullivan said. “So far, everything has been good.”
Camp Dash began when a single mother wrote a letter to First Selectman Dan Steward last summer to have a low-cost summer camp for Waterford children. Steward told Recreation and Parks and the Youth Services Bureau to look into it, and this spring the two departments launched Camp Dash, which is based out of Great Neck School.
Registration was held back to late May, as some day care providers complained it would interfere with their summer programs. The camp was supposed to hold 100 children from grades 1 through 7, although wound up only bringing in 88 - partly because of the late registration date and partly because of the newness of the program, according to Sullivan.
“I think because we did a late registration (we didn’t fill up the camp),” Sullivan said. “And kind of the first time, people not knowing.”
Campers pay $100 a week to go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or $150 to go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and that cost should pay for all the employees associated with the camp and all the supplies needed to run it, Sullivan said. At the end of the summer, the departments will check to make sure the camp did not cost money to run, and if it was effective, she said.
“It is something we will evaluate at the end and see, you know, what we think and if we are going to go with it next year,” Sullivan said. “We are not going to make any money but we don’t want to lose any.”
Students are given educational and recreational activities throughout the day, as well as free time, Sullivan said. They also go to Pleasure Beach every Friday, , she said.
Sullivan pointed out that the students are not allowed to use electronics during the camp. The goal is to actually have the kids interact with other kids, she said.
There are about 15 jobs at the camp, most of them given to Waterford residents for their first job, Sullivan said. Amazingly, 115 people applied for the job, so it was difficult to just pick 15, she said.
Next year, if it runs again, registration for the camp will be earlier in the year, Sullivan said. It was held back this year to accommodate some town day care providers who complained it would take away business, but now it is known, she said.
“If we do, we are definitely going to register earlier,” Sullivan said. “(The day care providers) know about it now and everything.”