Although the Southern End Community Association's summer day camp got off to a wet start last week, it didn't deter the campers from having a good time. In fact, camp director Lara Welk said the children loved splashing in the mud puddles and swimming in the SECA Pool in the rain.

The seven week camp, which started June 26 and ends Aug. 11, is for children ages 5 to 12. New to the summer camp program this year is a mini-camp for children, which was held for two weeks immediately after school ended, and will run again before school starts. There is also Camp Funshine, for children ages 31/2 to 5 years old.

Welk, who has been directing the camp for several years, said so far this year camp has gone off without a hitch.

"We try to keep them busy," said Welk, who added that when the campers were indoors because of the rain, they played games and watched movies. "Our goal is that they enjoy it (camp) and that parents know they're in a safe environment."

There are so many campers participating this year that SECA had to increase its camp staff from eight to 10. There are four counselors who are college students majoring in education and four assistants who are high school students.

"A half of the staff is new and they're meshing real well," said Welk, who begins planning for the next year's summer camp in December.

Each week of summer camp has a different theme and everything the campers do is centered around it. The third week of camp, "Operation SECA Camp," July 10-14, is when the children will be making care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas.

"I know people who are overseas and I thought it would be nice to do something different," said Welk, who added that this is the first time the day camp has done a service project.

The campers will also be making greeting cards to go along with the care packages, which will be filled with items such as baby wipes, packs of Kool Aid drink mix and beef jerky.

Every Wednesday the campers go on a field trip usually related to that week's theme. So far they went to the Baltimore Zoo during the theme week, "It's a Jungle in Here," and Leisure Lanes to go bowling and play mini-golf.

The campers will be going to the Smoketown Airport to ride in a plane and go on a tour for the theme week,"Around the World in five days."

Another field trip will be the Octorara Reservoir, where they will go hiking, have a picnic and ride in the paddle boats.

The campers also do arts and crafts in the cabin by the SECA Center in Memorial Park, play games outside, play on the playground equipment in the pak, catch frogs in the SECA Pond and end their day by swimming in the SECA Pool.

This year, Fridays are "Spirit Days" in which campers wear or bring something related to a theme.

The third and fifth week of camp there is a sleepover in the SECA Center building for children in the camp who are age 3 and older. The Quarryville Fire Company starts a bonfire for the children, who cook hot dogs and make s'mores.

"It's always a good time," said Welk, who gets in on the fun and sleeps over as well.

The children also get to do a "night swim" in the SECA Pool when they sleepover, which costs an extra $5 to cover food.

A "Teen Extreme" day camp for youth 11 to 15 years old may be held after the seven-week camp is over, depending if enough children sign up for it.

The summer camp will end with a picnic for campers and their families at Memorial Park on Aug. 10.

There are still five openings to attend the summer day camp the week of Aug. 7-11. For more information, or to sign up, call SECA at 806-0123.

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