Cougar Kids Camp plans summer activites

UREC will host six-week program during break so children can gain access to facilities, resources



During the camp days, WSU students will lead children in activities that include scavenger hunts in the WSU libraries.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Finding a way to keep children safe and entertained over the summer can be a challenge.

The Cougar Kids Camp gives parents on the Palouse the clarity of mind that their kids are having a safe, fun experience for an affordable price. Camp Director DJ Mackie has been a part of the Cougar Kids Camp since 2010 and believes this is a good pastime for kids because of all the facilities they can access.

“The kids have a great opportunity to have the same experiences that college students get,” Mackie said. “We get to take advantage of all the facilities the [Student Recreation Center] has. The kids get to use the pool, the rock wall, the outdoor courts. Everything is centralized and easy to get to.”

While the camp is held on school grounds, there isn’t a “school stigma” surrounding it, as Mackie said.

“The kids aren’t there to learn, they’re there to have fun,” Mackie said. “Of course, there’s some learning and self-discovery, but it’s not education-based. The kids just get to be kids. There’s no stress involved — it’s all fun.”

University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity each year. Mackie said the staff all love getting to work with the same kids every summer.

“I love seeing the returning kids come back year after year and getting to know what’s going on in their lives,” Mackie said. “I’ve been here for eight years, so I’ve seen some kids start off in the youngest group and finish the program, and now I see them in the community.”

The counselors are primarily WSU students who gain experience from working with the Cougar Kids Camp, Mackie said.

“In the classroom when you’re learning to be a teacher, you’re going to learn some of what you need,” Mackie said, “but this is very hands-on and allows the students to understand aspects of childhood development and behavior management in a more personal way.”

The Cougar Kids Camp begins June 18, and kids involved are encouraged to attend all six weeks, ending July 27. Parents can sign their kids up for $175 per week of full days. Registration and details about pricing can be found on the Cougar Kids Camp website.

“Seeing the kids during the last week when they know it’s ending and dealing with all that sadness is really hard,” Mackie said. “And knowing we won’t get to see these great kids for another year just adds to that.”