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Largo Leader
Largo summer camps filling up fast
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Photo courtesy of THE CITY OF LARGO
A youth skateboards at Bayhead Skate Park, where Skate Camp will take place.
LARGO – Summer in the city of Largo starts Monday, June 9 with the launch of its camp season, with more than 60 different types of camps being offered until mid-August.

In a city that highly values its recreation department, the sheer range of camp options is formidable.

“There’s no shortage. If you live in Largo, there’s something for your kids to do this summer,” said Mary Nolen, assistant director of the Recreation, Parks and Arts department. “It’s a great place to be a kid.”

But the demand also is high. The city anticipates about 900 children participating in one of its seven full-day camps, lasting all 10 weeks of the camp season. Another 600 to 700 will participate in theater, sports, aquatics or specialty camps, Nolen said.

Only three full-day camps still have openings. Bayhead Teen Camp, Camp Creativity and Naturemania each have about 15 spots left.

“We have 45 openings left and we’re still three weeks out,” Nolen said. “They’re definitely going to fill.”

Bayhead Teen Camp, for students who have completed grades sixth through eighth, is held at the Bayhead Complex and includes themed activities, swimming, arts and crafts, sports and special guests speakers. Camp Director Janel Smith and staffer Dennis Miyawa also have planned weekly field trips to a Rays Game, MOSI, Airheads and Gatti Town.

Camp Creativity, for students leaving grades three through five, is held at the Largo Community Center. The camp offers a smaller group setting with a maximum of 35 campers who will enjoy a summer of cooking, crafts, gardening, acting, nature and more.

Naturemania is held at the McGough Nature Park for completed grades one through five. Each week, campers will hike on trails, hear from guest speakers, explore the nature park, enjoy time in the pool and make arts and crafts.

The remaining full-day camps run daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with aftercare hours available for an additional fee.

Specialty camps

Several of the city’s wide range of specialty camps are still accepting new campers.

My First Camp with Ms. Cindy is a full-summer camp for ages 3 to 5 at Southwest Recreation Complex. The half-day camp offers school readiness curriculum that works on developing children’s social and creative skills while letting them express themselves freely. Only 15 children are enrolled per week.

Three of the city’s weeklong camps feature visits to the police department and fire stations. New this year is Firefighter Kid Camp, which allows campers, ages 7 to 12, to use real firefighting equipment and learn from actual firefighters and paramedics as they tour fire stations in the city. Campers will learn firefighting techniques, the concept of CPR and first aid, home and fire safety and how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Back by popular demand is CSI Camp, for ages 10 to 13, which teaches different lab techniques, identifying clues, processing crime scene, fingerprinting and forensics.

“That was a pretty cool camp for the older kids,” Nolen said.

Last year, the city added Junior Police Academy, for ages 6 to 9, which teaches about bullying, cyber safety and physical fitness, featuring a tour of the jail and an introduction to police vehicles.

Both police camps take place at the Largo Police Department.

The city offers a plethora of other themed weeklong camps. Children ages 6 to 10 can get into the creative spirit with Crafty Kids at Highland Recreation Complex or Fancy Dancy Camp, featuring lessons in jazz and hip hop at Largo Community Center. All American Doll, for ages 7 to 11, invites the dolls to join kids ages 7 to 11 for a week of history through fun games and crafts at Highland Rec Center.

A beginner and advanced course in Quick Fire Chefs, for ages 8 to 15 at the Largo Community Center, will teach campers how to make meals and snacks. Or learn lifelong fitness through Fit Kids Camp, ages 7 to 15, at Southwest Rec Center.

Aquatics

If your child is ready for swimming this summer, four aquatic camps are still open.

Among the more unique camps is the Youth Kayak and Stand-Up Paddleboard Camp, held June 30 to July 3 for ages 11 and older.

“That’s a new one. It’s really taking off,” Nolen said.

The four-day camp, at the Highland Family Aquatic Center and Highland Lake, will teach participants techniques, transitioning, directional paddling, water safety and lifejacket use for both sports.

Guard Start Camp will train those 11 and older in American Red Cross CPR and Basic Water Rescue for aquatic safety certification. The camp runs June 9-13 at the Highland Family Aquatic Center.

All About Aquatics Camp, for ages 11 and older, will feature field trips every day, starting at the Highland Family Aquatic Center June 16-20. Campers will experience Clearwater Beach, kayaking, FlowRider, Starlite Cruise, The Screamer, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding and Adventure Island.

Finally, beginner triathletes will learn the ins and outs of the sport at Youth Triathlon Camp, for ages 8 and older, at the Southwest pool. During the weeklong camp from June 23-27, triathletes will learn running, swimming, biking, transitions, and nutrition, culminating with a full triathlon on the last day of camp.

Theater camp

Spots in the production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr., are all filled up, Nolen said. But students ages 12 to 18 can still sign up to be in a production of Guys and Dolls Jr. The camp runs June 9 to 28 at the Largo Cultural Center and teaches the audition process as well as acting, singing and dancing on a professional stage.

Public performances of the show are Friday, June 27, 7 p.m., and Saturday, June 28, 11 a.m.

Sports camps

For the active camper ages 8 to 14, a weeklong sports camp, in a range of different combinations, might be the perfect fit. New this year is Skateboarding Camp at the newly opened skate park at Bayhead Complex. Campers will learn new moves and improve their skills on skate parks features that include a mini ramp, 7-foot empty pool rails, steps and a grind box.

Super Sports Camp will be held during two weeks of the summer, providing a variety of activities at Highland Rec Center. Golf, Tennis and Swimming Camp teaches the basics of each sport at Southwest Rec Center. At the Largo Sports Complex, campers can learn new skills at Baseball/Softball Camp or Flag Football Camp or pick up Indoor Hockey and Indoor Volleyball at Highland Recreation Complex.

Summer-long tennis and golf camps also are still open. Campers ages 5 to 14, of beginner and intermediate levels, are invited to the Southwest Tennis Academy. U.S. Tennis Association-certified instructor Matt Beard, who has been teaching tennis since 2004 and recently received the City of Largo’s “Gunsmoke Award.”

All ages can participate in morning sessions of Golf Camp at the Largo Golf Course.

For more details about all camps and to download a full brochure, visit LargoCamps.com.

Camp locations

• Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave.

• Southwest Recreation Complex, 13120 Vonn Road

• Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road

• Bayhead Complex, 375 Seminole Blvd.

• McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St. N.

• Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive

• Largo Golf Course, 12500 Vonn Road

For more details, visit LargoCamps.com.
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