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Don’t Wait to Plan Summer Camp Fun

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summer camps

We’re coming up to those lazy days of summer more quickly than you might realize. It’s just a few calendar page flips until the last day of the school year will be here.

For Gwinnett County Public Schools and Cornerstone Christian Academy, the last school day is May 22. For Greater Atlanta Christian School, it’s May 23 and Wesleyan School’s last day is May 24.

That means weeks of students with time away from school. While they claim they can’t wait to get a break, we’re all too familiar with the “I’m bored…” whine that often starts within the first week. Or we notice the reddened, glazed eyes from too much screen time and think ‘There’s got to be something better for them to do.’ Of course, there is.

The summer camp solution

Summer camps are a time-honored solution for filling weeks of school break. Camps not only keep kids busy, they also keep them active — physically and mentally.

Traditional summer camps focus on sports and warm weather activities. These days, however, there are a wide variety of camps to choose from that feature topics like art, theatre and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Whatever camps are the best fit for your kid’s summertime, start researching and registering now. Summer camps fill up quickly!

Activity and nature camps

The classic concept of summer camp is a day spent outdoors, swimming and playing sports with the guidance of counselors. While many camps follow that pattern, they often add more.

The goal at Camp All-American is to build strong character in the lives of young people. The full-day camps they offer are available for kids aged 5 through 17 and include Bible study, physical activity, and specialty camps. Campers can also choose from a wide range of specialties like art, cheerleading, photography, and soccer.

Camp All-American runs for 10 weeks and is held at Perimeter Church in Johns Creek. Day camps for 1st to 6th grade students are also held at Dunwoody Baptist Church. Registration opens Superbowl Sunday; campallamerican.com is the place to get details.

Christ the King Lutheran Church offers Preschool Summer Camps that are designed for children aged 2 to rising kindergartners. Three sessions are available, June 24-28; July 22-26; and August 12-16. Go to ctklutheran.org/preschool or call 770-449-7217 for more information.

The 10 sessions of summer camp programs at Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA run from May 28 through August 2. There’s a lot to choose from, too: traditional camps, sports camps, specialty camps, teen camps and half-day preschool camps. Sports include baseball, flag football and volleyball, and specialty camps offer STEM, film, cartooning, dance and more. Go to ymcaatlanta.org/program-locations/summer-camp/norcross.php for more.

The summer camps at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage Center in Johns Creek emphasize reconnecting kids with nature and history, allowing them a break from technology and competition. Campers are kept engaged with activities and learning opportunities, but they’re also given plenty of time to explore and imagine.

Autrey Mill has several options of full-day summer camps for campers aged 5 to 14 years, and half-day camps are available for 4-year-olds. Visit autreymill.org for camp themes, schedules and more.

Summer camps are not summer school

Several area schools offer camps during the summer months. Though many keep a focus on learning, they bring in a strong element of fun.

Wesleyan School has a long list of camps for kids aged 4 through 8th grade. There’s Summer Art Fun; Cooking and Forensic Science. Students interested in science and technology may especially enjoy camps like Movie Makers and Game Designers, Coding and Lego Robotics, Project Invention, STEAM for Middle School or Xtreme STEAM for Lower School.

Camps are offered over six weeks in the summer in a safe, nurturing environment. Registration began January 21, and you can get details at wesleyanschool/camps.

At Greater Atlanta Christian School, more than 30 summer programs in academics, arts, and athletics are offered through the seven weeks of camp, June 3 through July 26. Campers enjoy making new friends and exploring new talents in a secure, Christian setting.

Some of the camps have opportunities for field trips that take students to various locations in metro Atlanta for fun learning experiences. Visit gac.growcamps.org for the 2019 schedule and details.

The Primrose School of Peachtree Corners offers a Summer Adventure Club for children in kindergarten through 5th grade. The kids become artists, explorers and scientists as they’re guided through experiments, engineering design challenges and other themed activities. Call the school at 770-409-8732 or visit their website, PrimrosePeachtreeCorners.com, to learn more.

Pinecrest Academy in Cumming welcomes all children 5 and older to their summer camps, which begin in late May and run through late July. The school typically hosts over 25 camps each summer. A favorite, Camp Altius, features fun activities like scavenger hunts, team games, splash time and crazy crafts.

There are also many special interest camps with a focus on subjects like the arts, Spanish, science and athletics. For the budding techies and scientists, there are camps on Coding + STEM, Robotics, Rocketry & Aeronautics and Introduction to Engineering. Visit pinecrestacademy.org/page/campus-life/summer-camps for details and information on registering.

University summer camps

The University of Georgia holds its Summer Academy Camps a little further away, in Athens, Ga., for middle and high school students. Camp choices range from STEM and the arts to college and career preparation camps. Some of the STEM camps choices are Robotics, Engineering, Video Game Design, and even a Mini Medical School.

Kids interested in the arts can choose from Fashion Design, Photography, Screen Writing and more. The Career Preparation and Specialized Camps have focuses that include culinary skills and law. A residential option is available for students to stay in a college dorm during the week. Registration opens February 6; go to ugasummer.com to sign up.

Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology both offer summer tech camps through iDTech, focusing on STEM education including coding, game development and robotics. At Emory, the week-long camps and two-week academies are for ages 7 to 18 and run May 27 to July 26. Georgia Tech’s week-long iDTech camps, scheduled June 10 to July 19, are for girls only, aged 10 to 15. Get more info at idtech.com.

Tech summer camps

Summer camps with a technology bent is the perfect way to add some productivity to your kids’ screen time. Prototype Prime is introducing the Kids 4 Coding camps this year, and there are also more tech camps in the area.

Kids 4 Coding Summer Camps will be held at both Gwinnett Technical College locations. In Lawrenceville, the camp runs from June 3 to July 19, and in Alpharetta, from July 15 to 26. There’s a variety of tech-based camp themes, such as Microbit & Swift Programming, Mobile Apps + Augmented Reality and Game Design. Full and half day sessions are available. To sign up and see the full list of choices, visit kids4coding.com.

Club SciKidz has summer camp locations throughout the area, including Duluth First United Methodist Church. Children from ages 7 to 15 have 60 STEM and STEAM camp choices, including Young Scientist, F/X Zombie, Veterinary Medicine and Manga Maker. Details are at ClubSciKidz.com.

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is offering a beginner’s Tech 101 camp for 1st and 2nd graders, Whiz Learning Kids, that runs from June 24-28. Campers will learn to use different design elements — images, text, color, and backdrops — to create digital scrapbook pages. They’ll even have the opportunity to design their own animations using basic programming techniques. See the full range of camps at mjccadaycamps.org.

At Fernbank Science Center, 4th to 8th grade students can sign up for a week-long Lego Robotics Camp that covers areas like programming and motors for Lego Mindstorm robotics. Find out more at fernbank.edu/roboticscamp.html. ■

Contributing Editor Kathy Dean has been a writer and editor for over 20 years. Some of the publications she has contributed to are Atlanta Senior Life, Atlanta INtown, Transatlantic Journal and The Guide to Coweta and Fayette Counties.

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Business

Gwinnett Hosting Four Poll Official Hiring Events in July

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Citizens interested in the electoral process and who want to give back to the community are invited to attend one of Gwinnett County’s four upcoming poll official hiring events in July.

The Gwinnett County Voter Registrations and Elections Division is looking for citizens of all backgrounds, but especially needs bilingual poll workers, particularly Spanish speakers. Gwinnett County elections personnel staff 156 polling locations on Election Day plus eight advance voting locations. To comply with federal law, bilingual polling officials must be available to assist voters at each polling location during elections.

Poll officials can gain valuable work experience and earn $75 to $300 per day.

The hiring events are set for:

  • Thursday, July 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Five Forks Branch Library, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville
  • Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at Collins Hill Branch Library, 455 Camp Perrin Road, Lawrenceville
  • Thursday, July 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at OneStop Norcross, 5030 Georgia Belle Ct., Norcross
  • Saturday, July 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at OneStop Norcross, 5030 Georgia Belle Ct., Norcross

The events are scheduled in the evenings and on a Saturday so that people who work during regular weekdays can attend.

Among the requirements, applicants must be at least 16 years old, a U.S. citizen and be able to read, write and speak English. They also must be a Gwinnett County resident or a Gwinnett County government employee and they must have access to a computer for required online training.

Interested citizens are encouraged to apply online prior to the event at www.gwinnettcountyjobs.com.

Gwinnett County Human Resources staff will be onsite to accept applications in person. Computers will be available at the events for applicants to use. To fulfill federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification requirements, please bring documents to verify your identity and legal authorization to work in the U.S.

To view the list of accepted documents, visit www.uscis.gov/i-9-central.

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City Government

You Are Invited to Mayor’s Annual State-of-City Address

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Mark your calendars and plan on attending Mayor Mason’s annual State-of-the-City address on Monday, July 22, 2019, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.at the Marriott Hotel, 475 Technology Parkway, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. A reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by the Mayor’s address at 7 p.m.

Its been a short seven years since the city was incorporated as Gwinnett County’s 16th city, yet there is little doubt that this young city has been on the move since it was officially founded July 1, 2012.

Mayor Mason is expected to highlight the city’s progress — and offer a look ahead to the future of the county’s largest city.

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Community

Feeding Hungry Children in Southwest Gwinnett County

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Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Volunteers to help prepare and deliver meals to area children in need on Friday, July 12th.

The Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will work side by side with the organizers of PROJECT KIDS EAT to deliver meals in the Southwest Gwinnett area to children who often go without regular meals when school is not in session. Studies show that hunger and drug/sex trafficking are linked as predators lure children into activities with simple offers of food. Summer is an especially vulnerable time.

Mayors, Council members, and other SWGC members will make sandwiches, pack and deliver meals to over 100 children, located mostly in the extended stay hotels, on Friday, July 12th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

SWGC Chair (and Peachtree Corners Mayor Pro Tem), Weare Gratwick, explained that volunteering in areas of need were a central part of the chamber’s charter. “We are all in close proximity to kids who need our support. It is something that needs daily attention, and we were glad to participate with the folks who do this work throughout the summer and other times when school is out. Our community is made better because of the efforts of organizations like Project Kids Eat.” Membership Director, Beth Coffey also commented “the SWGC members are typically small to medium sized organizations in the SW corridor of Gwinnett County. They truly understand the specific needs of our community and are active in filling in gaps through our volunteer programs. It is one of the reasons Gwinnett County is such a tremendous place to live.”

Project Kids Eat is an outreach of Campus Church, located at 1525 Indian Trail Road.  They utilize volunteers every weekday to help with the outreach to over 100 children who rely on them for consistent and reliable meals during the summer. For more information about PKE, contact Julie@campuschurch.org or https://campuschurch.org/PKE

The Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary partnership of business and professional people, both profit and not-for-profit, working together to build a healthy economy and to improve the quality of life in Berkeley Lake, Norcross, and Peachtree Corners. For more information about Chamber, contact Beth Coffey at 678-906-4078 or bcoffey@southwestgwinnettchamber.org.

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