by Robin Kemp

Looking for things for kids to do this summer? After an unprecedented year of remote learning, COVID-19 concerns, grab-and-go and school bus-delivered meals, not to mention the difficulties of being separated from friends, classmates, and teachers, Clayton County’s kids deserve a great summer vacation!

Here’s a look at some of the fun stuff Clayton County’s younger residents can look forward to this summer:

Get Ready for Summer Virtual Town Hall

On Thursday, June 3 at 7 p.m., join Commissioner Felicia Franklin, along with representatives of county recreation centers, the Clayton County Library System, Clayton County Public Schools, and the Clayton County Police Department for an overview of youth programming this summer. Register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/y95wvn9y.

Summer Madness Teen Basketball Tourney

Forest Park Recreation and Clayton County Parks and Recreation are joining forces for the Summer Madness Teen Basketball Tournament. The contest is open to players ages 13-18 . Registration is $20 per player and runs from June 7 through July 3. Sign up online at https://bit.ly/3uwt9Fp.

Lifeguard Training June 5-6

Strong swimmers can train to become American Red Cross-certified lifeguards this June 5-6. Prerequisites include a 300-meter swim, a timed brick test (with a 10-pound brick), and two minutes of treading water using your legs only (no arms). If you pass those tests, you will move on to lifeguard training. For more information, contact Vincent McPherson at (678) 215-8913 or Vincent.McPherson@claytoncountyga.gov. The class costs $150 and class size is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re already a certified lifeguard looking for summer work, visit http://www.claytonparks.com. Can’t make this course but looking for summer certification? Check out other lifeguarding classes coming up in metro Atlanta.

“Wonder Woman” Movie Under the Stars June 5

On Saturday, June 5, Commissioner Gail Hambrick invites you to grab a blanket, snacks, and your magic lasso and head to Flat Shoals Park, 1915 Flat Shoals Road in Riverdale for a special outdoor showing of “Wonder Woman.” The event takes place at Baseball Field One. No alcoholic beverages are allowed in the park. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and the event ends at 9:30 p.m.

VOX Media Café

Want to be a multimedia journalist? Check out VOX ATL’s VOX Media Café, where 13- to 19-year-olds get to learn about reporting hands-on–partly through livestream, partly in-person–from professional journalists in the Atlanta metro area. The Clayton Crescent is a big supporter of VOX Media Café. The workshop is free for those who are accepted, with a small deposit required to hold your place. Last year, we funded four slots specifically for Clayton County youth who might not be able to afford the deposit–and we’ll do it again this year. Apply online at https://rb.gy/8zkdmt.

GPB Summer Learning Series and Camp GPB

Georgia Public Broadcasting (Channel 8-1) offers kids fun and educational activities all summer long. On Monday, June 22 at 10 a.m., check out the interactive “Arthur” screening and educational activity online at http://www.gpb.org/summerlearning. Don’t miss “Camp GPB,” which shows kids how to do fun things. For more details and downloadable activity recources, visit https://www.gpb.org/education/summer-resources.

Girl Scout Camp

The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta will have summer camp! This year’s theme is “Let Your Light Shine.” COVID-19 precautions, such as specific staggered check-in and check-out times, health screenings, and deep cleaning and sanitizing between sessions, will be in place. Both campers and staff are encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19. According to sleepover camp guidance, “Campers and staff will wear masks except when clearly socially distanced outdoors (6 or more feet) or when swimming, eating, or sleeping. Girls should bring 2 masks fitted to their size per day to be sure they have a clean and functioning mask at all times.” Day campers and staff also will wear masks. Learn more about programming by grade level and awards and badges that girls can earn for learning different skills. Plus, Medicaid recipients (adult volunteers and girls) can join for free!

CCPS Summer Learning Opportunities

School may be out, but CCPS is offering several learning opportunities for students:

  • STEM Camps (K-11) will run June 2-11 (8 days)
  • KinderCamp (Pre-K-K) takes place June 7-18 (10 days)
  • Summer Enrichment Academy (K-8) covers reading, writing, and math from June 15-25 and July 6-12 (15 days)
  • Advanced Learning for All is happening July 19-23 (5 days)
  • Credit Recovery is for high school students only and runs June 2-July 16 (34 days). You can get FREE help meeting your graduation requirements! Registration is still open–check with your school counselor to register.
  • Summer STEM Kits
  • Clayton Reads: Students are encouraged to read at least 20 books this summer.
  • Summer Reading Books: CCPS will be giving away books for students to read this summer.
  • Laptops

For students in K-8, CCPS will be giving out free summer learning resources on Wednesday, June 24 and Friday, June 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The resources are provided by the Department of Federal Programs and include SummerBridge books, reading book packs, and STEM/science kits. According to CCPS, “SummerT.I.M.E. is a series of summer learning experiences designed to allow students the opportunity to participate in positive learning and engage in various fun-filled Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities….These at home engaging learning experiences will help develop skills colleges and employers are currently looking for in STEM literate individuals, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, innovation, and systematic problem-solving. In addition, students will receive resources carefully selected to support bridging any learning gaps due to recent school closures and minimize the summer slide.” Pickup locations include:

To pick up resources, you must give your student’s name, student ID number, school, and grade level.

Register for Fall Sports now!

Register now through July 31 for football, soccer, and cheerleading with Clayton County Parks and Recreation Youth Sports. Practice starts in August, with the season opening after Labor Day and running through November. Call (770) 473-3800.

Fishing

Spend some time relaxing at Clayton County International Park, 2300 Georgia Hwy. 138 in Jonesboro, and try your luck landing the largest catfish or bass at this summer’s fishing derbies! Bring your own gear:

  • June 12: All Age Fishing Derby ($5 entry fee)
  • July 10: Norah H. Robinsion Fishing Derby (free!)
  • August 7: All Age Fishing Derby ($5 entry fee)

Other places to go fishing in Clayton County include Shamrock/Blalock Reservoir and J.W. Smith Reservoir. It costs $30 for a season pass or $5 for a vehicle pass for Clayton County residents. (Non-residents pay $40 and $10, respectively.)

Swimming Lessons

Learning to swim is more than just a fun athletic activity–it could save your child’s life. Sign up for youth swimming lessons through the Tara Tarpons Swim Association at the Steve Lundquist or Virginia Gray swimming pools. (If you’re an adult who never learned to swim, the Lundquist pool has special lessons just for you, too!) Lessons are $50 for residents of Clayton County and $60 for non-residents–a small investment for a lifelong skill that could keep your child from drowning. Lessons will follow COVID-19 procedures and only one parent or guardian per child is allowed in the observation area. Masks are required. Check class dates (filling up quickly!) and signup/availability through Clayton Parks and Recreation.

Are the county swim classes full? Try these outlets for swim lessons:

Forest Park Police Cadets

Want to know what it’s like to be a police officer? If you’re between 12 and 17 years old, check out the Forest Park Police Department Cadets Academy. It’s free to join and you’ll learn about patrol, criminal investigations, crime scene investigations, K-9s, gangs, drug and alcohol awareness, interacting with police, and more! Register now through June 3. The Cadets Academy meets every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 8 through July 20, at Forest Park Police Headquarters, 320 Cash Memorial Blvd. just off Old Dixie Road. Stop by for an application in person, apply online, or e-mail fpcommunityaffairs@forestparkga.gov. Need more information? Call Sgt. Zackery at (404) 366-7280, ext. 109.

Reading

The Clayton County Library System offers lots of resources and programming for kids. Don’t forget to check out the many little free libraries around Clayton County–we made a map for you!–and note that those at area schools are most likely to be kid-friendly:

Clayton County 4-H

A program of the University of Georgia Extension Service, Clayton County 4-H gives young people practical know-how in agriculture, cooking, and animal care. This summer, kids can learn about cooking with Chef Gracy, Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. You will cook, mix–and taste! In between sessions, kids can take part in optional activities and readings. Because campers will use tools and heat sources, a parent, adult, or caregiver is required to take part, especially for grades 4-6, with parents using their own judgment as to how much they need to supervise older children (depending on age, experience, and maturity level).

  • Basics Camps: measuring skills, recipe lessons, some technique, kitchen safety, healthy lifestyle discussions
  • Advanced Camps: recipe development, advanced techniques, additional skill development

Registration is $10. After your registration is processed, look for an e-mail that will have a link to the agenda, recipes, and the Zoom classroom. For maximum fun, 4-H strongly encourages live participation!

Don’t forget 4-H Camp–follow Ivy on a tour of Rock Eagle Camp, the largest 4-H camp in the world, right here in Georgia!

Got other great activities for kids and teenagers this summer? Let us know!

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