Words By: Cameron May
12:00 PM EDT, May 4, 2012
Green Ridge Recreation Center in Roanoke County offers a variety of fun and educational summer services designed with your children in mind.
The Green Ridge Recreation Center sneaks up on you. There are a few gravel driveways, a campground, and a small Baptist church. You certainly wouldn’t expect a vibrant, modern, state-of-the-art athletic and recreational center to be planted there. But it is, and its remote location hasn’t kept the center a secret. Kids bike along the trails nearby and the loud, playful screams of children that shoot down waterslides and splash in the enormous pool let you know that something exciting is going on. Inside, the building is modern, sophisticated, and efficiently packed with every sort of activity you could imagine. With its top-notch athletic club feel, one could easily conclude that it also has top-notch initiation and monthly fees. But its low daily entry fees, as well as monthly membership options, make its programs much more accessible.
Judging by their website and their ever expanding catalogue of scheduled events and programs, there always seems to be something new and exciting going on at the Rec Center.
This summer is certainly no exception, according to Scott Ramsburg, Marketing and Information Manager for Green Ridge Recreation Center. Ramsburg says that the Center is focusing its sights on providing an extensive and varied selection of summer camps for the Roanoke Valley area.
These summer programs, Ramsburg hopes, will act as a more economically viable alternative for these trying economic times. “With the economy down and gas prices as high as they are, people like to recreate close to home. We provide that opportunity to not spend a fortune in sending your children to camp. We’ve had a steady increase in participation every year, I think, because we offer affordable programs, close to home, that the kids enjoy,” says Ramsburg.
The schedule of summer camps offered by Roanoke County is as varied as can be.
Variety is a big concern for the Rec Center because of its goal to offer programs for kids of all ages and interests. Ramsburg says, “We actually have camps for ages three to seventeen! The earlier camps for preschoolers only meet for a couple of hours a day to introduce them to the camp experience. As they get older, we have more extensive camps, including arts and crafts and athletic programs. We have full day programs intended for kids that need childcare for the full day. We also operate Camp Roanoke, a regional, outdoor co-ed camp program located in the southwestern part of the county that’s been operating since 1925.” These different age groups are all offered their own unique classes.
With the variety of age, however, comes a wide variety in interest. “For example, a camp for three to five year olds will be ‘I Love Bugs’ or ‘Dinosaur Stomp.’ And as they get older we have a lot of pop culture influences. So we also offer some very popular Lego camps, a Survivor camp, and a school for wizards camp for the Harry Potter fans. Last year we even had a Justin Bieber camp that was very popular with the teenage group,” explains Ramsburg, “but the center doesn’t just offer pop culture entertainment classes. The athletic programs are skills based and are geared towards preparing kids for playing a sport in the fall for either a recreational or school league.” Some of these classes have become so popular that they are already filling up before early-bird registration ends on April 30th.
Ramsburg says that these camps are about more than just having fun. They’re about growing and enforcing values. Ramsburg continues, “We adhere to the values of the community.
Roanoke is a very family oriented community, and we strive to provide positive enrichment in family centered services.” That can mean offering an education-geared program, like Camp Roanoke’s new Pioneer Program, a camp for fifth and sixth graders, which focuses on environmental science and education. It could also take the form of something like a cooking class, which Ramsburg notes has been “surprisingly popular with the youth.” But Green Ridge Recreational’s commitment to the family doesn’t just stop at their values.
Timing and convenience can always be a real concern for a parent whose child is attending a camp. Working out the logistics of picking up and dropping off their kids, particularly for camps that are only part day, can be frustrating and limiting to the programs they can attend. “Many of our programs that are part day camps this year can be turned into a full day camp out of convenience for working parents. After the half-day camp ends, these kids have the option of being put into the Green Ridge Full Day camp. The parents can still drop them off at 7:30 and pick them up at 6:00,” says Ramsburg. This is just one more way the Center is hoping to make the camp experience more accessible and convenient.
Speaking of convenience, there are three easy ways to register your child. You can come to Green Ridge Recreation Center in person at 4715 Wood Haven Road, register over the phone by calling 540-387-6078 ext. 0, or register online at http://www.roanokecountyva.gov. And remember, Early Bird registration ends on April 30th, so don’t miss a chance to get discount rates.
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