University of Indianapolis’ first spring break camp for elementary and middle school students around the area was made possible through the help of different groups from the Facility and Design Management course during the week of March 27-31. The camp counselors split up into shifts, performing planned activities with the children at the different locations at Garfield Park and on campus.
“We have 30 or 40 kids in our class, so it took a lot of communication just to focus and make sure that we got our parts done,” said junior sports management major Jake Nerney. “Shoutout to the equipment group. I feel like we did a great job. I think it worked out pretty well and hopefully Garfield [Park] will want us back next year.”
The camp consisted of children from nearby schools ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old. The Facility and Design Management class split up into different groups to plan the weeklong camp.
“We split up into six different categories, and I happen to be in the marketing group. There’s a finance group, a planning group, human resources [group], evaluation [group]—you know, stuff like that,” said junior sports management major Megan Dobson. “We had to make the flyers. We had to contact the surrounding schools to see if we could drop the flyers off. We had to make a press release and send it to two newspapers and contact The Reflector.”
The planning group then worked with the equipment group to plan out the activities for the week.
“We try and plan a lot of activities that involve all the kids at the same time and getting everyone moving around,” Nerney said. “…We went to the conservatory [one day], and we had a scavenger hunt there. We have done a lot of walking around. We played in the playground for a little while. We played some basketball and just did some crafts and fun stuff for the kids.”
The camp counselors hoped that the kids took away from this camp what they could not anywhere else. At the camp, they had the chance to interact with other kids of various ages from other schools.
“We have students in pretty much every age group, so I think it’s nice to get the 6-year-olds to interact with the 12-year-olds and have the 12-year-olds help the 6-year-olds if they are having trouble with anything,” Dobson said. “We go to the playground; we play kickball; we do arts and crafts; we give them a reading time and a snack time.”
The camp was designed to give the children the possibility of experiencing new things.
“I think it gives them the experience of being away from their parents for an extended amount of time,” Nerney said. “Also it gives them something different than what they get at school. They just get to kind of socialize and hang out and have fun, which I think can be very beneficial.”
Reflecting on their work and the results of putting on their first spring break camp, the camp counselors hope to keep this event going at UIndy for years to come.
“Hopefully for future times, there will be more kids signed up,” Dobson said. “We had a cap at 40, and only 13 kids signed up. But Garfield Park said that since this is the first time we did it, that 13 is a really good number for kids to sign up.”
The planning that went into this year’s camp plus the children’s feedback will be taken into consideration when planning for the future camps, Nerney said.
“Hopefully, they will do it here again,” Nerney said. “Hopefully, there will be more continuity with the counselors, because with a lot of our schedules, it was really hard to be here for an extended amount of time. I know there were some kids working the camp who were only here like a half an hour or an hour every other day. So it was really hard for the campers to really get to know their counselors. It’s difficult for the kid to know what he can and can’t do if there are different counselors telling him different things at different times. So hopefully there will be more continuity next year.”