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McHenry County agencies highlight summer camp options for residents

CARY – This is crunch time for the Cary Park District.

In a matter of weeks, registration for the district’s summer camps will open to parents in search of engaging activities for fresh-out-of-school kids. Throughout McHenry County, there are several agencies teeming with summer programming intended to do just that.

“From now to June, a lot happens to get all of our fields and park sites ready, and to get all the staff hired,” said Katie Hughes, director of communications and marketing for the Cary Park District.

There, kids in kindergarten through eighth-grade can be enrolled in either a five-day or two-day summer camp, which runs for 10 weeks. Between April 13 and May 22, park district residents can register their kids for $99 to $170, depending on age, per one-week session of the five-day camp. Early registration for nonresidents begins April 20. Rates will go up starting May 23.

The first week of camp starts June 8 and the final week starts Aug. 10, Hughes said. For more information, visit carypark.com.

Other agencies throughout the county offer similar programming.

The Crystal Lake Park District and the McHenry Parks and Recreation Department both organize summer camp programs between early June and early to mid-August. Both include a multitude of activities to keep kids busy, such as swimming, arts and crafts, games and various field trips.

Programs outside of the general summer camps are available, as well, such as swim camp, dance, pom and robotics, agency representatives said.

Kim Buscemi, superintendent of recreation services in Crystal Lake, also highlighted a specific program meant to benefit kids enrolled in summer school.

“The summer school camp picks up after District 47 summer school sessions end,” Buscemi said. “Kids are done around noon, then this will give them something to do from noon to 3:30 p.m.”

For information and rates, visit the agencies’ websites: www.crystallakeparks.org and www.ci.mchenry.il.us/departments/departments/parks/programs.html.

Another option for families in the area is enrolling kids in camp at the newly renovated Sage YMCA, 701 Manor Road, Crystal Lake. The summer camp includes weekly field trips, daily swimming, sports and character development, and is split between some structured and free playtime, said Sue Owsiany, the youth and family day camp director.

Owsiany said the YMCA is hoping to get about 200 kids enrolled this year, which is more than years prior when the space was smaller. Registration for camp, which runs for 10 weeks with a five-day or three-day option, is now open with a 10 percent discount expiring April 26.

“We have a big, beautiful facility now,” Owsiany said. “Everything’s new.”

Lake in the Hills Parks and Recreation Department also is in the midst of early-bird registration for its general summer camp, FantastiCamp, Superintendent of Recreation Megan Melendez said.

She added area agencies put forth great effort every year in order to make sure parents have safe, fun and affordable options in the summer.

“The preparations start almost immediately after the first of the year,” Melendez said. “At this point, we’ve probably had staff put in at least 80 to 100 hours in just planning.”

The programs have been planned based on need in the community, she said.

“There are a lot of parents who work and need somewhere safe to bring their kids,” she said. “So safety always comes first, but here, they also get to do all these fun things.”

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