Friendship is the focus at playground camp

It doesn’t get much better than spending the day playing all kinds of games, eating lunch in the sun and chatting with school friends.

That’s what kids are doing this summer at Shelton’s free playground camps, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Wyatt Cariolo, 7, and his twin brother Jett were quick to say that they’d be eight-years-old in a month.

Jett was a fan of all kinds of games and activities the camp offers.

“I love it,” he said. “I can do whatever the heck I want.”

He and Gabriella Perry, 10, said they like going down to the field to play kick ball.

Erin Doyle, 9, said she likes group activities like Capture the Flag, a game youngsters were playing nearby.

Tom Meyers and Marlaina Beers serve as counselors.

Sarah Marro, 9, said arts and crafts are her favorite part of the day, and they’re taught twice a week at all playground camps, said Melanie Sabol, arts and crafts director of the “south side” playground camps at Long Hill School, Sunnyside School and Pine Rock Park.

Other playground camps are located at Mohegan School, Booth Hill School and Elizabeth Shelton School, and they’re open to children who attend those schools and also to children from other areas of town.

This year, campers make a variety of arts and crafts, including visors that keep out the sun. The camp offers new board games, and a new group game called KanJam, which involves youngsters tossing a Frisbee into a barrel.

“We try to build on the games we have and games involving group participation,” said Jim Carey, who’s been directing the playground program for 51 years.

More than 75 children attend the Long Hill playground camp this year, Sabol said, and they also enjoy wall ball, basketball, “water” days when the weather gets hot and games on the playground equipment.

Campers go on three field trips, including two roller skating excursions to the Rinks at Shelton and a trip to the movies in Seymour.

Children ages 6 to 14 attend the playground program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays.

The playground program began on June 29 and runs through Aug. 7. Registration is ongoing, and parents can register a child on the first day he or she attends camp.Campers may be dropped off or picked up at any time during the day.

Playing together is a real perk of the playground camps, and several campers were making friendship bracelets out of twisted yarn to give to other campers.

Addy Brown, 8, sums up her favorite part of camp.

“I get to see all my friends,” she said.

For information on all of the Parks and Recreation Department’s summer camps and events, including playground camps, sports camps and special interest camps, call the Parks and Recreation office at 203-925-8422.