By MADDY VITALE
When looking for activities for kids, the Ocean City Recreation Department has an array of camps, sports and programs to fill the entire summer calendar.
“We offer affordable, high-quality programs that are accessible to everyone,” explained Daniel Kelchner, director of the city’s Community Services. “There are so many activities for the kids to adults.”
The summer recreation programs begin in May. Signups start May 1 at www.ocnj.us (Click on Recreation Programs). For more information, call 609-525-9304.
“We have camps and activities for kids as young as 4 years old up to adults,” Kelchner noted. “We use the major playgrounds in town for some of the sports camps.”
Some popular camps are the Junior Lifeguard Camp, OCPD Youth Camp and Junior Firefighter Camp.
There are plenty of sports activities to choose from. The city offers soccer, track and football camp and skateboard camp. There are field hockey programs, golf clinics and basketball leagues and more.
Activities also include ways campers can learn about the shore.
Kelchner said the Environmental Science Camp at Bayside Center covers everything from discovering the wonders of the beaches to learning the fundamentals of crabbing in the bay. Campers even get to learn about different kinds of weather and about the lives of real pirates.
Camps run from a week to nine weeks. Most of the school-aged kids begin camps in June and wrap up in August.
A new camp offered this year, the Ocean City Pops Band Camp, offers campers who enjoy music a chance to learn from members of the OC Pops orchestra.
“This will be the first year we have that. I think people will really like it,” Kelchner said. “Music was one of the things we were missing.”
Kelchner explained that what makes the city’s programs so popular for families are the many options that are offered.
Season passes for pickleball are already on sale. Kelchner said people should not delay signing up because pickleball is a popular sport.
“I like to say we have such a wide breadth of programs. If you just want a well-rounded diverse summer experience for your kids, there is a whole lot of mix-and-match experiences you can do between the different camps and programs,” Kelchner noted.
The city’s Recreation Department is partnering with the Ocean City Theatre Company to offer the Hawaiian Beach Party camp, which runs July 5-8 and July 11-15.
The camp is open to students from 3rd through 8th grade. Campers not only sing and dance to several Hawaiian hit songs, they also learn about the traditions, beliefs, and language of the land. A performance on July 15 at the Hughes Performing Arts Center will showcase what the students learned at the camp.
Anyone wishing to enter the Miss Ocean City, Junior Miss and Little Miss pageants can enroll. People can apply to be in the pageant by filling out an application. Then they will be able to rehearse their routines to prepare for the special evenings.
“It is a strong Ocean City tradition,” Kelchner said of the pageants.
Hard copies of the brochures with a list of recreation programs are available at the city’s Welcome Centers, the Community Center and at the Sports & Civic Center, among other locations.