Campers wind down with more fun, and good food

GLADES COUNTY  — The Glades County Summer Camp’s inaugural class wrapped up for 2018 during the week of July 16-20 with more fun for its 30 participants and more happy meals for them to enjoy, one of them courtesy of Moore Haven City Councilman Jake Eighner.

Lead teacher Stefanie Garrett of Moore Haven Elementary School reports that the children’s week started off with them learning about healthy eating choices from University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Service Director Tycee Prevatt. First the kids made yogurt parfaits on Monday; then the next day, Ms. Garrett, her two assistants and Ms. Prevatt took the group to Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area to learn about animal habitats.

Special to the Glades County Democrat/Courtesy of Stefanie Garrett
Most of the kids were too busy enjoying lunch provided July 17 with Jake Eighner’s help to talk about how much fun they had at the Fisheating Creek Outpost.

There, the kids participated in arts and crafts led by Ms. Prevatt, making a bird feeder and painting a stained-glass turtle craft item. They also watched big alligators in the creek. Their visit there was financed by the Glades County 4-H.

Mr. Eighner donated and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the children, which they enjoyed along with watermelon and other healthful sides in the screened-in pavilion near Spring Lake, the swimming hole at Fisheating Creek Outpost (which operates the campground at the WMA, owned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).

On Wednesday, July 18, they toured Glades County Sheriff’s Office and Glades County Courthouse. Ms. Garrett wanted to extend their thanks to Sheriff David Hardin and his staff, County Clerk Sandra Brown, Lorie Ward, Gail Jones, Supervisor of Elections Aletris Farnam, Judge Jack Lundy and staff and, especially, to Bonnie Rhymes for guiding the children’s tour through the courthouse.

On Thursday, the children took in a showing of “Hotel Transylvania 3,” and on Friday they wound up their two-week memory-making expedition at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

As many were after the first week’s activities, parents were effusive in their praise for the Glades summer camp.

“I’m very pleased,” said Yashika Hall. “Chloe talks about her experiences every day; especially (about) when she held the baby gator, because the night before she told her brother and me she wasn’t going because she was afraid, so to hold that gator was huge for her.” The children had visited Gatorama as one of their first activities.

“She also enjoyed the K-9 (demonstration),” Ms. Hall said. “She said that ‘Mom, you know that dog was big.’ My son and I talked about how this was wonderful for the kids. Thanks to all who played a part, from getting it going to the teachers, aides and volunteers who work with the kids daily,” she added.

Special to the Glades County Democrat/Courtesy of Stefanie Garrett
Participants in the 2018 Glades County Summer Camp visited the county courthouse for a tour and to learn from officials including Judge Jack Lundy.

Myrna Reyna was also grateful. “Thank you so much for the opportunity for Kamilah to enjoy her summer break. Unfortunately, I work full-time and can’t afford to take time off of work to give her the fun that she deserves. This has been a great experience for her,” she said, complimenting the organization with which the camp was conducted. Ms. Reyna added a “special thank you to Ms. Garrett for all your effort.”

The Glades Education Foundation’s director, Laura Perry, who worked for weeks to set up the camp experience for the children, had another round of kudos to hand out for all those who were involved: “Thanks to the Glades County Courthouse/Clerk of Courts Office; the Glades County Sheriff’s Office; Tycee Prevatt of Glades County Extension; the Glades County 4-H; Jake Eighner, Moore Haven City Council member; Okeechobee Brahman Movie Theater; the Glades County School District staff from the cafeteria, transportation and administration departments; teacher Stefanie Garrett, paraprofessionals Rashondra Croskey and Elizabeth Devine; and Moore Haven Elementary School Principal FeLinda Langdale.”

Parents of the kids who participated were all appreciative and hopeful that the Glades County Summer Camp would continue for years to come.

“I feel that this would be a huge asset for our children in the future summers, and I want to thank everyone who helped make this summer program a success.” said Kari West.

Kristen Horn brushed off the $50 cost, saying, “It’s definitely worth the price, and we hope it continues for years to come.”

Agreed Maribel Gonzalez: “I hope it continues to every summer. Thank you to all the volunteers as well. Our kids wouldn’t have this without your help.”

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