By Dr. Naesha Parks

We are wrapping up another school year and the kids will be off for a few months. A break from: “Did you do your homework? Do you have your clothes out and ready to put on in the morning for school? What would you like me to pack for lunch tomorrow?”

Not so fast… it’s summer break for schools, but who knew there were so many more educators waiting at bay to pick up the reigns and continue with learning?!

Whether it’s summer school or summer camp, teachers have been preparing and waiting for this time of the year! It’s their Christmas in June. They’ll be arts and crafts, STEM activities, field trips, dance parties, scavenger hunts, movies, and course reading, writing, and math to keep our kids in learning mode, so they are prepared for the new school year.

The first day of summer camp feels and looks much like the first day of school (minus the principal, of course).

“Wake up, Reese, it’s time for summer camp.”

“But mom… do I have to?”

“Yes, son, you do.”

And so, it begins…. We start the morning preparing breakfast and lunch for camp, packing his book bag and a few of his favorite things (mainly his phone and charger), and off we go. As soon as he arrives, his “Mom, do we have to?” turns into “Wow! They have a jumping house, and we get to go swimming on Wednesdays.” Instantly, he’s sold on what they are selling: a summer filled with fun, challenging activities and meeting new friends, all while making unforgettable memories.    

As the summer progresses, I can see him maturing more and more each day. Instead of me dragging him out of bed, he’s up in the morning with his lunch packed, towel and swimming trunks ready, and so is he. “Mom, hurry, I want to get there in time to play with Jackson!” Jackson is a friend he met who lives in another state but is here with his grandparents for the summer. Not only is my son actively learning and having fun, but he is also meeting new people and learning to create and nurture new friendships. Summer camp is an excellent opportunity to keep children engaged and build their confidence to form friendships, all while having fun!

A native of Thomson, Dr. Naesha Parks received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Specialist and Doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership. Dr. Parks is the author of the book, “The Heart Feels First”, which chronicles the near-death experience that left her with a deep faith in a big God. Currently, she is principal of Evans Elementary School and serves as an administrator in the Columbia County School System. She is married to Keenan and mother to Chandler, Sydney, Chance, and Reese.