Nothing says summer more than camp for kids who are out of school.
And in West Columbia, Tri-City Leisure Center is the base for a multitude of happy campers.
“We are very active at the camp,” said Kyana Merritt, director at the day camps at the leisure center in West Columbia. The camp is a part of the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission system.
“The kids play dodge ball and basketball,” said Merritt. “We also have arts and crafts and other activities.”
The camp serves kids from kindergarten age to sixth grade. Merritt said in addition to games and art projects, campers are taken on field trips.
Merritt, who was once a LCRAC summer day camp counselor who worked her way up to the director’s position, said she wants to present a family-type atmosphere at the camp so the participants will enjoy coming.
Stephen Collier of Lexington has been coming to the West Columbia camp at the leisure center since kindergarten. He is now in the sixth grade.
“I enjoy the games. I like the counselors and how fun it is,” said Collier. He said his favorite field trips have been to Riverbanks Zoo, bowling and to the Fort Jackson water park.
Merritt said trips also include splash pads and HiWire.
Aniyah Rowe is a counselor at the camp. She will also start her first year as a kindergarten teacher in Aiken in August.
“There are some things they don’t teach you in college,” said Rowe. She said working with the children at the leisure center is helping her get ready for her job as a teacher. “This is real life training,” said Rowe.
Katie Reeves once was one of the child campers in the LCRAC camp. She is now a Junior counselor in West Columbia.
“I love working with the kids and helping them have an enjoyable summer,” said Reeves. “I love it here,”
Reeves said she plans to go into the medical field, but interacting with the children in the camp will help her people skills.
Some West Columbia high school students use the summer to prepare for the fall. West Columbia’s Gray Collegiate Academy holds summer workouts for its football team. Rising junior and Gray quarterback Hunter Helms is a top college prospect.
“We work out about every day of the summer,” said Helms. The Gray players go to the school’s campus at 8 a.m. most mornings. “A lot of what we do is conditioning to get ready for the football season,” said Helms.
In addition to the LCRAC day camps and football, the zoo offers a Summer Camp through Aug. 17. During the Summer Zoo Camp at Riverbanks, young explorers connect with wildlife and experience the natural world through up-close animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, games, crafts and more.
Lexington County Recreation Commission Summer Day Camps are at the: Tri-City Leisure Center – Director: Ms. Kyana Merritt; Batesburg-Leesville Leisure Center – Director: Ms. Wendy Binion; Lexington Leisure Center – Director: Mr. Jess Sowell; and Spires Recreation Center, Cayce – Director: Mrs. Betty Gortman.
Camp Days and Times are: Monday – Friday. Drop off: 7:15 am and Pick Up: 6 pm. Activities are from: 9 am – 5 pm. Cost: Grades K5-6: $110 weekly.
Besides camps, West Columbia provides the perfect activity. The cool, rejuvenating waters of the Congaree River beckon tubers and kayakers. The river is filled with activity when it’s hot outside. Others find recreation at Quail Hollow pool. When you seek fun in the summer, West Columbia has it.
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