This year the Village of Palmetto Bay’s official summer camp program will include three members of the same family in varying levels of involvement. Three sisters — Camila, Evelin and Florencia Rodriguez — will be spending the summer together while helping other area youngsters have fun.
Camila, 18, is a junior camp counselor this time and her previous participation in the program made her want to come back.
“This is my second year,” Camila said. “I started last year as a counselor in training. I love working with kids, the fact that they’re so energetic and they brush off everything. I really like that. I love the entire environment and everyone who worked there. It’s a great way to spend your summer.”
Camila, whose favorite subject in school is English, said she believes the experience may be shaping her future goals.
“I think maybe I will be working with kids later on,” she said. “I just love how they communicate with each other and how they learn to play with each other and work together as a team to have more fun.”
Her sister Evelin, 17, who likes English and medical subjects in school, is a counselor in training (CIT) this time around and also is returning because she enjoys the program.
“I did it last year and I was a camper when I was younger,” Evelin said. “I like that there’s trips. It’s not boring. You have fun; the kids have fun. I actually like working with kids and I understand them. They go to the pool and they have different kinds of fieldtrips. It’s a lot better than just staying home all summer, eating and watching TV. It’s an experience.”
Their youngest sister, Florencia, 11, whose favorite school subject is math, is a camper this year. She knows exactly what she enjoys most about the summer camp program compared to previous summers.
“The trips and the pool and going outside,” Florencia said. “I usually just go to friends’ houses or watch TV or sleep. Here I can be energetic and use my energy for something good.”
Because their family lives in Country Walk the girls previously had to take three buses to get to the camp facility, which showed dedication considering they had other camp options they could have chosen. This year though they won’t need the bus because Camila can drive now.
Summer camp, which started on June 11, runs through Aug. 3. It’s for ages 5 to 12 and the cost is $115 a week per camper, but this year there is a 10 percent sibling discount for extra family members. The program has been in place for five years, according to Fanny Carmona-Gonzalez, Parks and Recreation director.
“It’s an eight-week program,” Carmona- Gonzalez said. “People don’t have to enroll for the entire eight weeks, they can do it one week at a time. The kids go on one fieldtrip a week, plus one swimming field trip a week. It includes their camp snack and their camp T-shirt.
“Some of the fieldtrips they’re going to be attending this year are at Gameworks, Strike Miami (bowling), Miami Science Museum, Children’s Museum, Jungle Island and they’re also going to be going to the new Marlins stadium and attending one of the games.”
Carmona-Gonzalez said that people who wish to register their children for summer camp can call Village Hall or come to Coral Reef Park. There are registration forms at both locations and online on the village website at www.palmettobayfl. gov.
“We created the position this year of junior camp counselor so that counselors in training from last year could come back and help us, as well as have the opportunity to get paid some money for their efforts,” she added.
Camilla likes the program well enough to recommend it to others.
“I think it’s an amazing experience,” she said. “Everyone who is able to do it should. You can learn from it and have fun. It’s a great way to spend your summer.”