Meridian Star

May 12, 2013

No excuse for boredom this summer

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     There's no reason for parents to hear the complaint, "I'm borrrrrred" this summer, with all the variety of activities available.

    Summer enrichment programs offered by colleges and churches, day camps, Scouting camps, art classes are just a few of the offerings – many of them at a price that won't leave parents groaning. Here are a few of summer's offerings for youth:

College for Kids

Meridian Community College

    Now in its 16th year, Meridian Community College's College for Kids is the place to be when school is out, according to Program Director Tanya Thompson.

    "We provide many different opportunities each summer for our children in a safe, fun environment,” Thompson said.

    Sponsored by the college's Continuing Education Department, the program is geared to children ages 6-13. Classes meet Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m.-noon. While more than 400 have already registered this year, a few spaces are available.

    "The kids have a great time," Thompson said. "It’s educational and fun. This is a great start to the summer.”

    Classes are $50 each and many popular ones are returning, such as Lego Mania, All About Animals and Wacky Sports; there are new classes this year as well.

    Thompson said she tries to offer new opportunities in keeping with current trends, such as Interior Design: Do-It-Yourself; CSI: Meridian; and Crowns, Gowns, and Runways. Youngsters are able to choose from a wide variety of classes and can choose to attend for one or two weeks.

    Classes offered for 2013 are: All About Animals; Around the World; Balloon Art; Basketball; CSI: Meridian; Cake Decorating; Cheerleading; Clay Sculpture; Computer Wizards; Crazy Creativity; Creepy Crawly Creatures; Crowns, Gowns, & Runways; Electronics; Fossils: Dig It; Football 101; Garden Delights; Golf; Go Van Gogh!;Guitar; Hair, Nails & More!; Hair Braiding; Hip Hop/Contemporary Dance; Interior Design: Do-It-Yourself; Jewelry Creations; Jr. Firefighter Academy; Jr. Police Academy; Lego Mania; Mad Science; Magic Show; Nursing; Performing Arts; SPA-LA-LA; Scrapbooking Plus; Tennis; Wacky Sports; Woodworking; and ZOOM: Rocket Science.

     For more information call MCC Community and Business Development at (601) 482-7445. To learn more about the program, visit

Camp Destiny

FreedomRock Christian

Fellowship Church

    A newcomer to the area's summer enrichment programs for youth, Camp Destiny emphasizes development of the "complete" child by providing classes, programs and activities that focus on developing and improving essential academic and social skills.

    Founded under the auspices of the non-profit New Destiny Urban Development Corporation, Camp Destiny is a collaborative effort between FreedomRock Christian Fellowship Church and LaBaron Hedgemon Ministries.

    "Programs such as the Boys & Girls Club can't do it by themselves. We just want to expand our services to the community," said the Rev. LaBaron Hedgemon, pastor of the church.

    The nine-week camp is scheduled from June 3-Aug. 1, with a graduation ceremony on Aug. 1. Geared to youth ages 5-15 who live in Meridian and Lauderdale County, the program focuses on four key areas: academics, arts and crafts, technology and health and fitness.

    • Academics – Conducted by licensed and accredited educators, this area features a daily curriculum that emphasizes improving English and reading comprehension, developing sound math skills and learning testing techniques and strategies designed to improve MCT-2 scores.

    Language arts and foreign language are also part of the curriculum. Fridays are designated "French Friday," in which students are taught the basics of speaking French.

    • Technology – A Computer Discovery Lab will offer several programs designed to match age and skill level. Each day, students will participate in "tech-recreation" classes, where they learn about various computer programs such as utilizing Microsoft Office to developing PowerPoint presentations, and create Excel documents, as well as develop an understanding of how to effectively navigate and explore the Internet.

    • Arts and Crafts – Designed to promote community and peer morale, fosters self-enhancement and to enrich the community's cultural qualify of life by offering imaginative arts instruction and hands-on assistance. Each program offers a wide range of activities for all skill levels and interests, and is equipped with age-appropriate supplies in a safe "play-work" space to complete personal projects.

    • Health and Fitness – In addition to providing healthy and nutritional breakfast and lunch, Camp Destiny has partnered with Meridian Public School District to allow campers access to facilities where they can engage in various recreational activities, including basketball, soccer and kickball.

    The camp meets daily at the church, which is located at 5718 Fifth St. (behind Oakland Heights School). Drop off time begins at 7:30 a.m. and pickup is 5:30 p.m. Cost is $60 per week, per student; $50 if there is a sibling. The cost includes meals and an evening snack.

    The deadline to register is May 17; a $25 non-refundable registration fee is required. Forms are available at the church Tuesday-Thursday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, from 9 a.m.-noon. For more information, call (601) 693-0502.

Pine Lake

Fellowship Camp

    Located on Pine Lake Road, Pine Lake Fellowship Camp has attracted campers from all over the Gulf Coast states (and others) since the summer of 1966. Its purpose is to provide a Christian camping program for youth ages 7-17 with the following objectives:

    • To bring campers into a personal living relationship with Christ, and to foster growth in the Christian life.

    • To provide an experience in inter-personal relationships based on the Biblical teaching of love, peace, forgiveness, and community.

    • To provide an experience in outdoor living so that campers may discover God’s revelation of Himself in the laws and beauty of nature, and be challenged to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.

    • To encourage campers to be open to God’s call to develop their gifts for Christian leadership and service.

    Campers are housed in a cabin of up to 8-10 campers, including staff. Activities include group games, archery, crafts, nature hikes, disc golf, ropes (challenge) course, zip line, ropes swing, swimming, basketball, singing, campfires, cookouts and more.

    Weekly sessions are scheduled from May 30 to June 24. Each week is designated by age group:

    • May 30-June 1, Discoverers, ages 7-9. Cost: $80, before May 15; $105 after May 15

    • May 30-June 1, Wilderness Trekkers, ages 12-14. Cost: $110, before May 15; $135 after May 15

    • June 3-8, Trailblazers, ages 15-17. Cost: $140, before May 15; $165 after May 15

    • June 10-15, Seekers, ages 8-10. Cost: $140, before May 15; $165 after May 15

    • June 17-22, Explorers, ages 10-12. Cost: $140, before May 15; $165 after May 15

    • June 24-29, Adventurers, ages 12-14. Cost: $140, before May 15; $165 after May 15    Arrival and departure times are: Discoverers only (ages 7-9) – arrival from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.; departure, 4 p.m.; Wilderness-Trekkers only – arrival, 11 a.m., departure, 3 p.m.; all other weeks – arrival, from 3 p.m.-4 p.m., departure, Saturday at 11 a.m.

    A $40 non-refundable deposit is required. Scholarships are available for children in financial need to attend summer camp.

    For more information about Pine Lake Fellowship Camp, contact Matt Graybill at (601) 483-2267 or

School of Art

Meridian Museum

of Art

    Introductory art, potter, cartooning, book making, jewelry making, mixed media and many other class offerings at the School of Art are sure to keep young minds stimulated and their hands busy.

    Meridian Museum of Art in downtown Meridian is the setting for the weekly classes, which are offered during June and July for children ages 4-17. All materials provided; 2013 paid MMA members may deduct $5 per class.

    June 3-7 ($70)

    • Introduction to Art – Class 1, ages 4-5, from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; Class 2, ages 4-5, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

    • Drawing & Painting – Class 3, ages 6-9, from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.; Class 4, ages 10-12, from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

    June 10 -14 ($70)

    • Introduction to Art – Class 5, ages 4-5, from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; Class 6, ages 4-5, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

    • Drawing & Painting – Class 7, ages 6-9, from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.; Class 8, ages 10-12, from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

    June 17-21 ($35)

    •  Pottery – Class 9, ages 6-9, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m.; Class 10, ages 10-12, from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

    • Clay Sculpture – Class 11, ages 6-12, from 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

    •  Make a Book – Class 12, ages 6-12, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

    • Cartooning – Class 13, ages 6-12, from 3 p.m.-4 p.m.

    July 8 – 12 ($70)

    • Introduction to Art – Class 14, ages 4-5, from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; Class 15, ages 4-5, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

    • Drawing & Painting – Class 16, ages 6-9, from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.; Class 17, ages 10-12, from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

    July 22-26 ($35)

    • Jewelry Making – Class 18, ages 6-12, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.

    • Origami – Class 19, ages 6-12, from 11 a.m.-noon

    • Papier maché /Mask – Class  20, ages 6-12, from 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

    • Mixed Media – Class  21, ages 6-12, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

     July 22 – 26 ($70)

    • Batik, Tie Dye, & Shibori – Class 22, ages 12-17, from 10 a.m.-noon

    • Drawing  – Class 23, ages 12-17, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

    • Painting – Class  24, ages 12-17, from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

    A special exhibit featuring artwork created by the students will be held Aug. 4, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m., at the museum. Students as well as family and friends are encouraged to attend.

    To register, call the museum at (601) 693-1501 or email

Boys & Girls Club

of East Mississippi

    Daily activities that include academic programs, safety lessons, recreational activities, arts and crafts, sports, community field trips and more are among the offerings for the summer program at the Boys & Girls Club of East Mississippi.

    This year's program is scheduled from May 28-Aug. 2, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. A $200 registration fee per student is required, along with their birth certificate and Social Security number. The fee includes breakfast and lunch. Transportation is not provided.

     Applications are available at the Boys & Girls Club office, which is located at 1717 45th Ave. For more information, call (601) 482-2544. The deadline to register is May 28.

Summer Reading Program

Meridian/Lauderdale County

Public Library


    Readers of all ages will explore their world this summer as Meridian/Lauderdale County Public Library presents "Dig Into Reading," for the summer reading program.

    Geared to ages 4-grade six (fall of this year), the summer reading program is a good way to help children maintain and even improve reading skills they have developed during the school year. Some studies show that children who don’t read during the summer often lose skills by fall. Summer reading can help close the reading gap, and often helps children to exceed their end of school reading levels.

    The program is free and participants who complete the program and return a reading record will receive a certificate.

     In addition to reading books, participants will be treated to two programs, courtesy of Friends of the Library:

    • June 13 – Doris Jones, a regionally known entertainer and storyteller will present a program in the meeting room of the library.

    • June 27 – Nationally renowned Inky the Clown will present a program at the Temple Theater. A ticket is required to attend; tickets will be available upon registration for the reading program.

    Registration begins Monday and will continue through June 1, Monday-Saturday, from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., in the Children's Services Department of the library, which is located at 2517 Seventh St. Registration is on site only.

    For more information, call the Children's Services Department at (601) 693-6771, Ext. 224 or visit the library's website at

Camp Eagle Ridge

    Established in 2010 in Collinsville, Camp Eagle Ridge is a non-profit camp for able and special needs children in grades K-eighth.

    "Our mission is to teach children of all ages that with vision, determination, persistence, and courage they can achieve the goal of obtaining a college education," said Dan Fritz, founder and owner.

    Two camps are scheduled for June: June 3-7, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., open to the general public and special needs children; and June 10-13, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., for Meridian Youth Programs (such as Weems, Make A Change, Infusion).

    A variety of activities are offered including: arts and crafts – creative projects ranging from making T-shirt and nature projects to decorating flower pots as well as working with wood; zip-line – a challenging ride on a 180-foot zip line; horseback riding; an obstacle course featuring 18 activities; rock wall climbing; target shoot/archery; water activities; and a petting zoo. Campers also hear inspirational stories from area people who have overcome challenges and become successful individuals.

    Cost is $25 per day; no charge to special needs children. Transportation is not provided. The deadline to register is May 31.

    For more information, call (601) 626-8885 or visit

Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi,

Meridian Office

    Camp Meridale may be resting, but not local Girl Scouts.

    "Summer is a great time for Girl Scouts. We're more than about cookies, we're also about great adventures and fun," said Sonja Hopkins, membership community development specialist of the Meridian office of Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi.

    A series of day events are scheduled – for scouts and non-scouts (registration to GSUSA required):

    • June 1 – Girl Scout Day at Geyser Falls in Philadelphia, from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Registration is $23 and the deadline is May 17.

    • June 4 – "P" is for Purple. Open to Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, the event will take place from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at the Meridian Girl Scout Office, 307 24th Ave. S. Participants will enjoy a "purplicious" day of eating purple food, having fun purple activities, wearing their favorite shades of purple and more. Girls will need to bring a sack lunch; morning and afternoon snacks will be provided. Registration is $15 (includes patch) and the deadline is May 21.

    • June 13-14 – Skate the Night Away. An all night skating adventure at Skate Odyssey, from 9 a.m. 6 a.m. Participants will skate, play games and watch a movie. Registration is $20 (includes skates, snacks and a patch) and the deadline is May 30.

    • July 16 – All "American Girl" Day Camp, from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.,  South Side Community Center, Waynesboro. Open to Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, scouts will "sail" along on adventures with Caroline, the "American Girl," and learn about her story of bravery, ambition and independence. Participants will receive a copy of Caroline's book and participate in activities such as making a message in a bottle, watching the movie “Nim’s Island,” make and decorate their own cane fishing pole and more, all while learning about life in the early 1800s. Girls will need to bring a sack lunch; morning and afternoon snacks will be provided. Registration is $20 and the deadline is July 2.

    • Beginning July 22 – Stretch for the Stars Day Camp for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Pine Lake Camp in Meridian. Participants will explore fitness, science, reading, rocket building and more. Two sessions are scheduled: a 3-day mini-session, July 22-24, and a five-day session, July 22-26. Girls need to bring a sack lunch; morning and afternoon snacks provided. Registration is $50, mini session, $80, full session, and the deadline is July 8.

    And for those who would like to attend summer resident camp (three-day or two-week), Camp Iti Kana (located on 339 beautiful wooded acres 8 miles north of Wiggins) and Camp Wahi (situated on 156 acres of beautiful hardwood forest in Brandon) are open.

    For more information about summer camps for Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, visit the website

Choctaw Area Council,

Boys Scouts of America

    Even before the start of this year's summer camp, Camp Binachi has been bustling with activity.

    The official campground of the Choctaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America for more than 50 years, Camp Binachi received a major over-haul. Trees were cut down to make room for more campsites and Lake Frank Williams has been expanded.

    "We've updated our shooting sports area, have a new archery range with new equipment, a new rifle range and skeet and trap range, and we're putting in a new lighted basketball court," said Ken Kercheval, Scout executive/CEO.

    Two Boy Scout camps are scheduled June 2-8 and June 9-15 for ages 11-17. Additionally, two Cub Scout camps are scheduled for ages 6-10  Twilight Camp, June 10-14, from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; and Day Camp, June 18021, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Camps are open to non-scouts, however they must register with the BSUSA.

    For information about summer camps of the Choctaw Area Council, Boys Scouts of America, call (601) 693-6757 or visit the website