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Making progress

Revised resource book
offers lists of summer camps
for area children

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(March 2006) – Eight years ago Cindy Johnson, of Louisville, Ky., was interested in finding her three children summer camps to attend. Because they had diverse interests and ideas about what they wanted to do at camp, Johnson needed to find information about several different camps.
She had a problem, though. There was no available resource at that time that listed the different camps in Kentucky. After many frustrating hours spent talking with schools, sports coaches, music teachers, looking in newspapers and researching in the library, Johnson decided to put together a resource to help parents like her.
She called the bookstore, Hawley Cook, which has now become Borders, and asked if there was an interest for such a guide. The store immediately pledged to purchase 50 books if she would put it together and then sent her a purchase order. Thus, she created “Camps for Kids,” which was first published in 1999.
The first book had around 50 pages of information about summer camp programs in Kentucky. Now the latest edition has close to 200 pages of information about available camps in the Kentucky area. Some Indiana and Ohio camps are also listed.
Although the book’s central feature is information about all the available children’s camps, Johnson now offers information about Kentucky festivals and attractions as well. She said that her readers enthusiastically asked for more information about such events because most people just do not know what is available. Because her main reader base is centered around Louisville and Lexington, Ky., many of her points of interest are focused on those two cities.
In December each year, Johnson starts tracking down information for the next spring’s “Camps for Kids.” She said she doesn’t just copy the previous year’s book. Every year she starts over. She said that while most camp directors from across the state help supply the information about their camps, she also spends countless hours emailing, faxing, calling and researching information about camps and activities.
Johnson includes information about any and every camp she can find. The topics, which are arranged alphabetically, range from day camps to resident camps and sports camps to those devoted to the arts. There are aquatic camps and pottery camps, writing camps, and music camps. She also has a special section on camps for children with special needs.
Johnson said one of her passions is the camps for children with special needs. She has included information about camps for many types of special situations, including a heart camp for children with heart problems, a muscular dystrophy camp, a hemophilia camp and camps for children whose parents may not be able to afford to send them to camp. Johnson stressed that many of the special needs camps are run by volunteers, and there is always room for more volunteers to help. Most of the special needs camps have medical staffs on hand for any problems that could arise.
In every edition of “Camps for Kids,” Johnson has a list of places to hold children’s birthday parties and a list of “kid’s eat free” places. She also has coupons from a variety of camps in the book. Many of these coupons are early registration discounts, so she encourages parents to get a copy of “Camps for Kids” well before camp season and start searching for the perfect camp for their children.
Johnson also wanted parents looking for camps to know that there will be two camp fairs in Kentucky this year. A camp fair is where parents can meet many of the camp directors and get information about their camps. The first camp fair will be held at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at River City Indoor Soccer in Louisville. For information, parents can contact Nicole Clark at (502) 485-7004.
The second camp fair will be held Saturday, April 23, at Kentucky Indoor Soccer and Sport on Reynolds Road near Meijers in Lexington, Ky. Parents wanting more information about this camp fair can call (502) 223-1765.
Johnson’s “Camp for Kids” will be available in March at bookstores and many family friendly places around the area. She also has a website for parents to visit: http://www.kycampsforkids.com.

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