'Hey, Mom, I'm bored:' Families find summer rec, fitness options for kids

Jamie Hult, Staff writer
Kindergarteners scissor soccer balls during camp Thursday at McHardy Park. Jamie Hult/BV Journal

Morgan Dathe and Rosie Scheuer peruse the recyclables for building materials last week at Camp Invention, one of several kids’ camps held in Brandon this summer. 

If there’s one thing the Brandon community has in spades, it’s kids, and fortunately there’s no shortage of summer activities to keep local youngsters entertained. 
This week, the Brandon Valley Journal brings you the first report in a series dedicated to community and local programs and options for helping kids beat the boredom blues this summer.
Kids kept inventing logs, created superhero alter egos and constructed boats that could float out of random recyclables they scrounged from around their homes at Camp Invention last week.
The five-day STEM camp, which was held at Robert Bennis Elementary, is one of many activities keeping local youngsters busy in Brandon this summer.
The Brandon Area Soccer Association held its annual summer camp last week, too, for everyone in preschool through 12th grade.
Lori Thorsland had kiddos in both. She’s got six children – all boys – including two sets of twins.
Her 5-year-old lookalikes, Sawyer and Ranger, headed to the soccer camp at McHardy Park, while 8-year-old Spencer soaked up his second year of Camp Invention at RBE. 
According to Thorsland, finding summer activities in Brandon isn’t hard; there are plenty of community ed options, she noted, and her boys know better than to admit they’re bored.
“They’re like, ‘Don’t tell Mom and Dad we don’t know what to do, because they’ll give us a chore,’” she said with a laugh.
If it were up to them, the Thorsland boys would play with Legos all day, so Mom likes having outside alternatives like summer camps.
“Probably the biggest challenge for working parents is getting them to things,” Thorsland said. “I’d love it if some high schoolers wanted to do carpools, and you could just go online and fill in when you’d need a driver. Some kids could make some money. This morning, I said, ‘We just can’t do violin today. I’ve just got too many things overlapping.’”
Around two dozen middle- and high-school helpers were counselors in training at Camp Invention. 
“The kids are really run,” said Jesse Blok, an eighth-grade counselor-in-training. “It’s fun to see them learn and grow and figure things out for themselves and help them put their ideas together.”
Kids brought recyclables from home at the beginning of the five-day camp, which filled a room they returned to throughout the five-day camp to build everything from robots to superhero capes of felt and fabrics and buoyant boats of Styrofoam and plastic.
“When kids come in here, they have something in their heads. They’ll look at an egg carton and think, ‘That may float,’” said Brandon Elementary teacher Joe Krivarchka, who directed this year’s Camp Invention at RBE. “It’s almost like their little store.”
Camp Invention consisted of five stations kids rotated through, including a futuristic farm and deep-sea mystery. 
“It’s trial-and-error type of learning,” Krivavchka said. “Their imaginations are just going.”
Sunshine Foods, Brandon Area Community Foundation and Sioux Valley Energy sponsored the camp.
Summer options to keep kids busy around town also include yoga every Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Circuit Fitness. Parents can do yoga with their child for free, and 30-minute sessions are $5 apiece or $30 for the entire summer.
For more summer options, check Brandon’s summer rec program online at cityofbrandon.org.


The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
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