Where there was once a pickup baseball game at the local park, there is now Zelda and FIFA. And where there was once a long afternoon spent diving into the pool with neighborhood friends, there is now Facebook.
The spirit of summer has become lost on many of today's youth, but luckily for Upper Arlington families, we have the Parks & Recreation Department's summer camps to break our over-reliance on technology for fun and remind us what summer is really all about.
If you've ever seen a UA Summer Camp group out and about, it might look like a chaotic scene straight out of Lord of the Flies.
But where you might see lack of structure, the summer camp counselors have provided choices for their campers. Aside from mealtime, two planned group activities a day, trips to the pools and weekly field trips to local attractions such as the Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi Bay and COSI, the days spent at UA's summer camps are purposefully lacking structure.
If, after lunch, a camper feels like grabbing a book from the library and finding a cozy tree to lean up against, that's cool.
If the campers have been going nuts over playing kickball together and that's what they want to do for the entirety of their free time at camp, that's cool, too.
The UA summer camps offer campers the opportunity to make summers their own. These choices are orchestrated by the counselors, who supervise the 180-some campers from the three camps at a ratio of 15:1.
Interested in signing-up your 6- to 12-year-old for next summer? Remember to act quickly next spring -- this year's camp filled up the first week of March, just a month after registration opened.
Families only pay for the days their kids are at camp, which runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays for the 10-week period that Upper Arlington schools are out, making the summer camps an exceptionally affordable alternative when compared to more traditional daycare options.
This pay-as-you-go option fully covers the cost of the summer camps, meaning 100-percent cost recovery and no cost to UA taxpayers.
So what is UA Summer Camp all about? It's organized chaos involving lots of hands-on, outdoor, get-dirty fun. There is ample opportunity for exploring, learning, crafting and making best friends and there is a high probability of extreme exhaustion afterwards. Laundry-related casualties are also likely. That's what summer is all about.
To learn more about UA Summer Camp contact James Gant at firstname.lastname@example.org. Register for activities at https://parks.uaoh.net.
Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.