COVID-19 precautions have left many youth camps and summer programs closed, but a few offerings from art to reading and sports activities are opening up this month for area young people.
Art Center of Waco
The Art Center of Waco will hold five weeklong camps starting June 15 at its art lab facility, 1400 Speight Ave. The center will offer three three-hour classes each day.
Camps are for students who have completed kindergarten to sixth grade, and themes include art creation and techniques, art from recycled or repurposed materials, and the elements of art. Classes will be limited to eight students with an hour separating classes to allow sanitation of the classroom and equipment, education coordinator Kaitlyn Campell said.
Registration is available at the art center’s website, and the deadline is the Friday before a camp starts on a Monday. Cost is $175 per student, with discounts for Art Center of Waco members.
Maker’s Edge Makerspace, 1800 Austin Ave., will offer Family Build Nights on Tuesdays with projects such as color-changing oil lamps this Tuesday and silicon mold casting. Cost per session is $45. For registration information, call Maker’s Edge at 340-4322.
Students with an itch for theater will find the Waco Children’s Theatre and the Christian Youth Theater of Waco holding theater camps in July.
The Waco Children’s Theatre camp, for students 10 and older, will run July 1-8 at the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum, 2801 W. Waco Drive. The full-day camp will feature classes in acting, set design, dance and more. Students and instructors will be masked with temperature checks each morning and social distancing practiced. Cost is $150. Call 776-0707 for information.
The exact dates for Christian Youth Theater’s camp have not yet been determined, but will be either July 13-17 or the following week at the ACTS Church, 300 S. 13th St. The full-day camp is for students 11 to 18 years old. Students will not be required to wear masks, but social distancing will be practiced. Cost is $200. Call 340-0084 for information.
City of Waco
The city of Waco has canceled its summer youth camps but will be reopening more of its recreational and community sites June 15.
The Bledsoe-Miller, Dewey and South Waco community centers will reopen June 15 with social distancing measures in place. Locker rooms and game centers will continue to be closed, and access to some areas in the centers will be limited. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
The Riverbend Park baseball and softball complex will reopen for practices and tournaments June 15, and organized sports games and competitions can return to city fields and facilities on that day.
The city’s outdoor pavilions, park areas and indoor facilities are now available for rental.
The Parks and Recreation Department this week started RECess, a program of virtual and home-based recreational activities intended to keep families and children active.
Activities include fitness workouts, arts and crafts demonstrations, park adventures and department profiles, posted daily on the department’s Facebook page. A weekly list of kids’ activities will be posted at www.waco-texas.com.
When the community centers reopen, packets of RECess materials will be available at the centers.
Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Cook said the cancellation of the city’s summer camps and closing of community centers forced departmental staffers to brainstorm ways of keeping kids active while out of school.
“It’s a challenge for parents, but it’s given us an opportunity to think differently,” Cook said.
As the centers reopen and COVID-19 protection recommendations shift, the department will adjust its summer programming accordingly, he said.
The Waco-McLennan County Library System’s Summer Reading Club, with age groups for children and adults, started June 1. Participants earn points and prizes for reading and completing activities. Registration is available at wacolibrary.org, and an app is also available to track progress.
The library system has other new programs available, including a scavenger hunt through downtown Waco. Clues are delivered via text as participants complete each step, and the hunt does not have to be completed all at once. More information is available on the library’s website.
All four library branches will reopen to the public June 15 with limited hours, limited services and social distancing measures in place. Public seating areas, children’s play areas and meeting rooms will not yet reopen. In-person library programs and public meetings will not yet resume.
Curbside book service will continue.