A staff of 22 will coordinate trips to places such as Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure and Angel Stadium. With the program centered on physical and outdoor activities, the kids will either be at the beach or kayaking in Balboa Bay the rest of the time.
“We try to keep them structured and active,” Valdez said. “We don’t want them sitting around all day long.”
Campers in the past have come from as far as Illinois and even Tokyo; however, nearly all of the program’s 90 participants this year are local.
“We attract kids that love the water,” Valdez said. “[They sign up] because they know they’re going to be at the beach every day.”
It’s a yearly thing for many of the program’s participants, a fact Senior Recreation Leader Angie Ernst appreciates.
“It’s fun because you get to see the same kids every year, but you get to see them grow,” she said.
Emily Perkins, 10, is in her third year of the summer camp.
“It’s really fun,” Perkins said. “We get to do a lot of athletic things.”
Gabe Breisch, 12, has been participating in the summer program since he was 6. His favorite part of the program is when the staff and kids go to Balboa Bay, where he gets the chance to — aside from just using them for their conventional purpose — flip over the kayaks.
As a whole, after months of training, Valdez’s staff is looking forward to the slew of activities and experiences planned for the summer.
“Just being able to watch the kids discover things, to see how excited they get when they boogie board or catch their first wave ... I like that part the best,” Ernst said.
“To come out here and see how hard the staff works for the kids, it’s great,” Valdez said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling for me. We have a great staff this year and I’m looking forward to a great summer.”
KIDS TALK BACK
What is the best thing about summer?
“Going on vacation to Hawaii.”
“Just going swimming and hanging out with my friends.”
“Being able to go to the beach every day with no school.”
“Going to the beach.”