A sensational summer camp in Frederick

Summer is here! School is finally out, and for working families, that means finding childcare that meets your needs. If you live near Frederick; Adventure Park USA offers an exciting and unique summer program for elementary and middle school-aged children that is fun, physically active and educational. Plus, what kid doesn't want to go to an amusement park every day? Here are just some of the many reasons to send your child to summer camp at Adventure Park USA:

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Daily amusement park rides:  Crater Lake Bumper Boats, Blazing Trail Go-Karts, the Wild West Express, and Wild Cat roller coasters, Mini Golf, Road Runner Scrambler,  Tilt-a-whirl

  • Adventurer Attractions: Carousel, Crazy Cactus, Frog Hopper, Sky Race, Teacups, and the Tumbleweed mini coaster.

  • Access to the Stampede Arcade and game playing credits

  • Indoor Attractions: West World Laser Tag, Spin Zone Bumper Cars, Hang ‘em High Ropes Course, Rustler’s Ridge Rock Wall, Gold Rush Playground, 

  • Weekly themes include: The STEM-focused Let's Experiment, and Adventure Park’s Got Talent where children can get in touch with their inner performer. 

  • Their caring counselors will provide your child with a safe and exciting environment.

  • Convenient options for working families: Camp begins every day at 8 AM, and goes until 4 PM. Parents are able to opt for before and aftercare and choose two, three or five days a week.

  • A field trip to River Riders in historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Campers will have a blast inner-tubing down the Shenandoah River. 

  • Weekly swimming trips to the Potterfield Pool in Hagerstown, MD

  • Conveniently located just off of route 70 in Monrovia, MD; Adventure Park USA is minutes from downtown New Market, Mt. Airy and Frederick.

  • Camp begins June 24th and runs through August 23rd, 2019.

  • Give your children the summer of a lifetime by enrolling them in Adventure Park USA's summer camp 

The kids are officially out of school, and you might be looking for some fun things to do. Going to the pool is great when the weather is nice, but sometimes you want to add a little more variety to your daily routine. Perhaps you want your children to avoid "the summer slide," so why not plan some educational day trips? There are a ton of interesting places to visit right here in Frederick County. Increase your knowledge of local history by visiting the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, the Barbara Fritche house, or the Monocacy Battlefield.

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Remembering the past is an important part of being a thoughtful and well-rounded individual. The Laboring Sons Memorial Grounds is a former cemetery that provided proper burials for freed slaves and other disenfranchised African-Americans. Today it serves as a reminder of a darker time in American history, as well as an archeological site for the recovery of many lost or forgotten graves. 

If your children love animals there are plenty of local attractions to visit. Fountain Rock Nature Center in Walkersville features interactive animal-focused exhibits. The quarry is stocked with snapping turtles and other aquatic life. Allow your little ecologists to release trout into the pond, or wander through the nature trails. Catoctin Creek Park and Nature Center is a similar venue in Middletown. It has interactive learning and play area with reptiles, spiders, and turtles. Their website encourages visitors to “walk the trails, play a tune on the musical garden, enjoy the creek, explore the playground and visit the exhibits in the Nature Center.” There is also the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Thurmont. Kids can take a safari ride, see the fish in the Koi pond, or check out their preservation theater.  

The History of Summer Camps in the US:

The first sleep-away camps began the late 19th century as a way for young boys to escape the pressures of an increasingly industrial world. Many American’s felt a need to reconnect with nature by getting out of their confining city dwellings. “Roughing it” out in the wilderness was thought to build “strength of character” in children. “Camping advocates wanted to create a counter modern alternative to the world their campers inhabited most of the year,” says Michale B. Smith in his article The Ego Ideal, and the History of Summer Camp.  Early camping pioneer Reverend George W. Hinckley's felt that time away in nature would save young children who were "dying from in-door-ness."

In 1902 the first summer camps for girls were introduced. Like their male counterparts, these camps were often located in remote wooded areas that featured a lake or stream. Many campers slept in tents or wigwams and wore Native American inspired clothes. Participants enjoyed outdoor activities such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, archery and learning to build a fire.

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Summer camps exploded in popularity; growing from less than 100 in 1900 to over 1,000 by 1918. Americans loved the idyllic settings, the focus on “getting back to nature, and self-sufficiency. “In this era, camps were considered to be a natural pathway for young girls to develop healthy bodies, self-assurance and a sense of community,” says Jennifer Helgren in her 2014 article entitled ‘Native American and White Camp Fire Girls Enact Modern Girlhood.’

More modern camps offer a host of different specialties such as sports, drama or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Many children participate in “day camps” which allow children to participate in focused activities during the day while still being able to come home at night. These types of camps are popular among working families.

If you live in Frederick, New Market or Mount Airy, you may be looking for a summer camp that will enrich your child's mind and keep them busy. There are plenty of excellent options nearby, let's take a look at some great camps near you.

YMCA summer camp

The YMCA is a nonprofit organization that aims to teach youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. It also has one of the oldest summer camp programs in the United States. With locations in downtown Frederick and Urbana; their programs include sports, arts, humanities, and nature. In the beautiful foothills of the Catoctin Mountains; Camp West Mar offers both overnight and day camp options. 

Bar-T 

From A to Z they are sure to have a program that fits your child’s interests. This camp in Montgomery County has a ton of different options when it comes to active and educational activities. Allow your kid to try out different sports like archery, basketball, hiking and horseback riding and even a community service class. Creative art programs like theater and photography. For the more scientifically inclined they have coding and “STEM: harvest and cooking.” Check out their website for a list of their programs. 

Kidsco

KidsCo Summer Day Camp; “provides a variety of games and activities for children in pre-k through 9th grade. Weekly sessions are planned around exciting themes that promote imagination and participation from each camper.” Children will enjoy weekly swimming trips, a variety of sports and other fun activities. All camps now begin at 6:30 AM, with busing available if needed. Choose from locations in Rockville, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, and Clarksburg.

Dragon Yong-in 

This unique martial arts-based camp has locations throughout the metro D.C. area.  The program is filled with fun field trips, active games, sports, and crafts. Daily enrichment classes for math, science, art, and others will help your child avoid the ‘summer slide.’

Quiet Waters Day Camp

Anne Arundel’s parks and recreation department has plenty of great offerings for summer classes and camps. Quiet Waters Day Camp is your child’s ticket to a summer filled with awesome experiences. According to their website: “Activities may include arts and crafts, nature, sports, music and drama, active games, swimming, field trips, special theme days, and more!” Check out their online brochure for the latest information on their camp offerings.

Summer Camp at Adventure Park USA

Adventure Park USA has an amazing summer camp for children ages 5 to 13.  Each week of camp has an exciting theme to keep your kids engaged and having fun. Your little adventurers will be excited to be dropped off at camp every morning, and blissfully exhausted when they come home. Participants will have a blast riding on their many outdoor attractions such as the Wild West Express or the Blazing Trail Go-Karts. Campers will have weekly swimming trips to the Potterfield pool in Hagerstown. 

Every year Adventure Park Summer Camp takes a special field trip to inner-tube with River Riders in historic Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. River Riders is a Licensed Professional White Water Guide Service, meaning that their employees are trained to make safety a priority. According to their website, they offer: “white water rafting, tubing, canopy tour/zip lining, aerial forest adventure parks, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, lodging options and fishing adventures on the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.” Your kids will have so much fun, surely they will ask for a family trip to River Riders.

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Week one of summer camp starts with a bang. This week includes a counselor scavenger hunt, a giant obstacle course, camp tug of war, a field trip to the Potterfield pool in Hagerstown, and a hula hoop team building event. The rest of the summer is filled with so many thrills and awesome activities that your child will be overjoyed to come to camp every morning. Let's take a look at what Adventure Park USA has planned:

Family Interview Spotlight: 

Raquel and Julia Almeida share their memories of summer camp at Adventure Park USA. 

(This interview was edited for length and clarity)

How old were you when you first attended Summer camp at Adventure Park USA? How many years did you attend? 

Julia Almeida: I was about six years old. I was too young to go to the summer camp at the school, and my dad wanted my older sister Raquel and me to be together. I think we went for about three years.

Raquel Almeida: I was about 10 or 11 years old so the year was 2009 or 2008. I went to the camp for 2 or 3 years but not for the whole summer, only the first half.

What can you tell me about the counselors and the planned activities?

JA: The counselors were really nice, some of them were strict, but for good reason. The activities were planned really well, everyone was put into a set group. In the morning we would be in the arcade, and then we would go and do all the activities outside. I remember when the first roller coaster came out, that was cool. I enjoyed playing Mini-Golf and the Blazing Trail Go-Karts.

RA: The counselors were good and were trained on how to handle if something happened to the kids. The activities were pretty laid back on days we stayed at the park, and then twice a week we would go on field trips outside the park. One of the days every week we would drive to a pool and spend the day there. The other day would be different every week. We went to the aquarium, the zoo, the Maryland science center, and other places as well.

 Do you have a favorite ride?

JA: I really enjoyed playing Mini-Golf.  I kind of wanted to break the rules by hitting my golf ball into the water (laughs). In the summer it's really hot here, it can get to be blistering hot. So I liked to fish all the balls out of the water to cool down. 

RA: My favorite ride outside was the Blazing Trail Go-Karts and my favorite indoor activities were West World Laser Tag. 

 What was your favorite thing about the camp? You can be specific.

JA: In the morning they would turn on all of the arcade games. They would give us an infinite amount of credits to play whatever game we wanted for a certain amount of time. The only downside was that we couldn’t keep any of the tickets that we won. I remember one summer, it was the last day of camp for Raquel and I. One of the counselors gave us all of our saved up tickets for the whole summer.

RA:  I also enjoyed getting to do all the activities within the park “for free” because it was included in the price of the camp, all we had to do was show our wristband that said we were with the camp. I also enjoyed the field trips, the bus rides were fun getting to socialize and listen to music with friends at the camp.

Did you meet any friends while you were there?

JA: It’s a funny story. When I was in high school I was talking with some of my best friends, and the topic of summer camp came up. We discovered that we had all gone to summer camp at Adventure Park at the same time and didn’t even know it. 

RA: I made a lot of friends at camp and I even got a digital camera and took tons of pictures of everyone on it. I am not in contact with any of them anymore because you can only attend the camp until the summer before you enter high school, but it was really fun to get to spend all day with people you don’t go to school with necessarily and make new friends

How would you feel when you came home from camp every day?

JA: Usually, we would feel pretty tired especially on days that we would go on a field trip. I remember we would go to the pool every single week, and then we would come back and play at the park. They kept us really busy.

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As you can see, summer camp at Adventure Park USA will give your children a lifetime of precious memories. Going to an amusement park every day is every child's dream come true. Give your kids the best summer ever, enroll in Adventure Park USA's summer camp today.

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Bethany Good is a freelance writer from Frederick.