Each summer, neighborhood kids dream up ways to make a little extra cash. We see them every year when the weather heats up—young entrepreneurs mowing yards or opening a corner lemonade stand.
One enterprising group of Edmond teens operates on a bigger scale. Each summer for the past six years, the youngsters of Oaks Addition have hosted "Camp Two Bridge" for the kids in their neighborhood. The young entrepreneurs advertise the day camp to neighbors by sending out flyers. They also get a lot of repeat business from "regulars."
Organizer Lindsay Daniels says the week-long camp gives neighborhood kids a chance to interact with other children their age and fills a need for parents who want to keep their kids busy and still have time to run errands or do other activities. It is a "win-win" situation for everyone involved.
"I would have loved to have had my own camp when I was a kid," Daniels says. "I wanted to make that an option for the children I know."
How it Works
Daniels has the help of five other camp counselors and her mother serves as the adult supervisor. Parents pay a nominal fee to cover snacks, craft supplies, and a pizza party. Camp counselors divide any money that’s left after expenses are covered. The popular camp attracts 30-40 neighborhood children, ages 4 to 12. Some summers they have hosted more than one session to meet demand.
The first time they offered the neighborhood summer camp, it was hosted at a home on Two Bridge Drive, hence the name. The Daniels’s home now serves as headquarters. Games and talent show practices take place on the lawn; crafts, snacks, movies, and lunch in the garage.
"We usually go swimming a few houses down," says Daniels. "Life jackets are required for younger children and each parent specifies their child’s swimming ability on the day of sign up."
Children are divided into three groups and go through a craft, activity, swimming rotation. The counselors offer a new game and craft each morning and a group activity and talent show practice each afternoon.
On the final day of camp, the campers are treated to a pizza lunch before they perform a talent show for their parents. Special awards, such as "Most Energetic Camper" are presented before the final good-byes.
"The campers like the fact they have something to do in the summer and they get to see a ton of children they know," Daniels says. "The counselors feel better about themselves at the end of the day, and the smiles on the children’s faces make all the hard work and effort well worth it."
"The coolest thing about camp is all the compliments parents give us about how much fun their children have and how happy they are with us for putting it all together. They also like the little break they get."
Daniels will graduate from Edmond Memorial High School this spring and plans to major in early childhood development at the University of Oklahoma in the fall. She has been actively involved in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and holds down a part-time job as a hostess and server at a local Mexican restaurant. Not surprisingly, she also baby-sits for neighbors.
"The thing I like best about working with kids is making a difference in their lives—hopefully for the best," she says.
With a young lady like Lindsay Daniels in the neighborhood, it’s no secret why the kids keep coming back to Camp Two Bridge each summer.
Want to host a summer camp in your neighborhood?
- Veteran summer day camp organizer Lindsay Daniels, Edmond, offers the following advice for those interested in hosting their own neighborhood camp:
- "Really plan ahead. You can never be too prepared. I am always looking for good ideas and activities throughout the year. I crack down on getting organized about three months prior to camp."
- "Be professional. Make flyers neat. Make waivers (release forms) in a professional manner. Definitely get an adult’s help with the release form."
- "Make sure the child is ALWAYS your number one concern throughout the day."
- "Use child-oriented magazines for game and craft ideas. Family Fun is my personal favorite. I also use different websites focused on children's activities."
- "Just think of your favorite pastimes and you’re on your way to designing your very own summer camp!"
- "Remember there is no better feeling than to impact a young person’s life!"
Katherine Leidy is a freelance writer and public relations professional based in Norman. She and her husband, Robert, have a five-year-old daughter, Allison.