By Northeast Community Center staff
For the Hollywood Star News
The idyllic notion of summer is that it’s the season of freedom, the season in which schedules are thrown out the window and kids get to just be kids. No school, no schedules. For many families though, summer is just as hectic, and the absence of a regular school routine can send some families into a tailspin of trying to find ways to keep kids occupied while parents try to get their own work completed. This stress can make summer less than idyllic for some families.
Knowing the realities of summer and families, Kim Cederholm, Northeast Community Center program director, has planned another season of camps that bring the fun back to June, July and August for kids and their parents alike. With schedules that can accommodate parents who need to be at work, kids ages 6-11 get to explore art, swimming and various fantastical themes – all while being dropped off and picked up at the same convenient central northeast location each day.
NECC is pairing with community-neighbor Spark Arts Center again to create five week-long camps that keep kids busy, creative and having fun. Having kids walk the two blocks from one establishment to the other marries the expertise of both NECC and Spark for what they each do so well. Kids benefit from physical activity at the community center and the creative stimulation at the arts center. Cederholm loves the collaboration for the community and that their partner, Spark, “is super-organized. Plus, they keep the mess at their center!”
In addition to these five camps, NECC also offers camps on biking or exploring Portland’s fascinating opportunities via public transportation. “Licensed to Bike Camp” has been taught by Travis Bullard for the past four years. “He is a dad and middle school teacher, so he knows how to work with kids, keep them safe, and make it fun,” explains Cederholm. “Exploring PDX Camp” is structured to help show Portland’s youth what a great city they live in and how easy it is to get to these various gems on mass transit.
Mini-camps for children ages 4-6, introduce younger kids to the concept of camp without requiring an all-day commitment. Campers learn valuable socialization skills while engaging in activities based on things they love: superheroes, books, games, and imaginative play. It doesn’t hurt that the lead, coach Carliss Holland comes with as much, if not more, energy as any of the campers.
Continuing to build on what NECC does so well during the rest of the year, they will still offer one to two-hour long instructional camps or workshops throughout the summer on music, basketball, volleyball, and dance. Two new specialized art classes will teach campers how to use pastels or watercolors in shorter, more technically informative classes. For any aspiring babysitters, there will also be a Red Cross babysitter training in August. And, it almost goes without saying, swim classes and swim team will continue to make stronger swimmers out of Northeast Portlanders.
Sign-ups have already begun for most camps but summer swimming registration begins April 25. If you’d like to learn more about any of NECC’s summer camps or activities or just want to learn more about the community center, additional information may be found at necommunitycenter.org or at the center on 1630 N.E. 38th Ave., or by calling 503-284-3377.