The Boaz City School System opens its doors to students during the summer and offers something more than a glorified day care or a dreadful semester of summer school. It’s called Camp Boaz.
Since it’s inception in 2001, camp director Renaé Mosley said the fun, six-week program at Boaz Elementary School gives students in grades pre-K through fifth grade an enjoyable summer, while providing a great opportunity to continue their educational development.
“We started out with only 24 students,” she said. “This year we have more than 170 students, which is down from years past when we’ve had nearly 200.”
Mosley said she has been part of the extended day program since 1997. Shortly after joining the staff, she had several parents ask about doing a summer program. After visiting with the superintendent at the time, Camp Boaz was born.
For years, Camp Boaz has been funded with the help of federal grants. But since the guidelines have changed, the school chose to fund the program itself. Although it’s been a challenge, Mosley said they are still able to have the same amount of fun.
During the program, students spend days playing interactive games, taking educational field trips, swimming at the Boaz Recreation Center and, of course, learning along the way.
“It’s a much more relaxed environment than it is in regular school hours,” she said. “Some days you’ll come through and they’re playing board games or playing cards. You just never know what you’re going to see when you come in here.”
For the first half of the day, students meet with certified teachers and learn lessons across all subject areas. The second half of the day, students engage in different enrichment activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They go swimming on Mondays and Wednesdays.
This year’s camp theme, “Kidcot,” is based on Disney’s Epcot attraction, Mosley said. Students are currently learning about cultures of countries around the world. In July, at the end of the program, Mosley said students would perform and demonstrate a few things they’ve learned during Camp Boaz.
The cost ranges from $50-$90 per week, depending on each student’s free and reduced lunch form, Mosley said. This year’s program runs from June 3 through July 19, but is not in session July 1-5. Students spend the entire day at the school, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but Mosley said they all enjoy it.
“People ask me why I work during the summers, but I don’t look at it as work,” Mosley said. “I get up earlier in the summer and stay later too. But, we have a lot of fun. I love it. I can’t imagine us not doing it. So many people depend on it.”