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Camp Verde to test summer camp program

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Camp Verde Parks & Recreation is bringing back an old summertime staple.

A summer day camp pilot program will be launched this June for kids kindergarten through fifth grade. The pilot will be limited to 20 kids in order to gauge public interest.

Day camp in Camp Verde was dissolved following the recession due to the economic downturn and staff cuts. Parks & Recreation tried to bring the program back last year but ended up canceling it, said Parks & Recreation Division Manager Michael Marshall.

“It was a marketing problem,” he said. “It was a challenge because people didn’t know about it. We were disappointed that we couldn’t bring it back last year but we are ahead of the game this year.”

Marshall said his team is hoping to learn from past failures as well as revamp the Parks & Recreation section of the Camp Verde website and have registration available online in March.

“Town Council has been very supportive through this,” he said. “They are willing to help figure out pricing and costs. They’ve also increased our budget but that also means a higher expectation of revenue.”

A small department, Parks & Recreation will not be alone in coming up with activities for the day camp. They plan on partnering with other programs in Camp Verde to cater to the community needs, said Parks & Recreation Coordinator Shawna Figy.

“We will be working in conjunction with the library and will piggyback off their existing program,” she said. “We don’t want to compete with them, just collaborate.”

Figy said they plan to include walking trips, arts and crafts, weekly field trips and guest speakers in the program.

“We hope to have the guest speakers relate to the field trips,” she said.  “We hope to keep it educational.”

Park & Recreation is also working with the American Camp Association to earn accreditation.

“ACA will do an inspection this summer so we don’t miss something,” Marshall said. “We don’t want to invent day camp out of the blue, so we have to have something to reference. We also want to be able to tell people we are accredited.”

Both Marshall and Figy both agree that one of the benefits of working in a small community is not being bogged down by a large bureaucracy, making it easier to relaunch a the summer camp program, even if there are mistakes along the way.

We will learn from our mistakes and if we can make it successful, even if there is a lack of revenue, I will stand before council and say, ‘yeah we lost money but we had a good time.’”

Figy said it’s all about trial and error.

“If we can do it even once, I know we will be able to make it even better,” she said.

Camp will begin June 4th and run through July 27th. For more information, visit the  Parks & Recreation office at 395 S. Main St. or call Michael Marshall at 554-0828.

Kelcie Grega can be reached at 634-8551, or email kgrega@larsonnewspapers.com

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