Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Youth Activities Center (YAC) 2018 Summer Camp is hosting nearly 200 youths daily to enjoy the center’s services and programming throughout the summer.
The camp offers numerous daily programs at the facility, with highlights including a trip to the Museum of Science and History, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Adventure Landing, movie trips, and water activities at the NAS Jax Outdoor Pool and Mulberry Cove Marina.
YAC Director Jason McKenzie has managed this summer camp for several years.
“The purpose of this camp is to provide educational and fun events, so learning can continue throughout the summer,” he said.
“Of course, safety is our number one concern by our staff, which we incorporate all year long.”
The camp hosts daily programs for different age groups of kids every day and each featuring a wide variety of activities. Some include life science learning, coloring and painting in the art room, educational computer games in the computer room and learning in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics room.
The camp also offers other activities outside of these rooms to keep all of the kids entertained and active throughout the day.
Recently the camp hosted a fun run for the children and they spent the week preparing for the competition. Preparation activities included running drills, as well as stretching and running short distances. The distances increased each day of the week. The fun run offered three different distances based on age groups. The five to eight-year-old children ran a half-mile, nine to 10-year-olds ran a mile, and the 11 to 12-year-olds ran two miles. Parents were invited to join in the event.
The camp also takes regular trips to the NAS Jax Outdoor Pool. Tuesdays are for the younger kids to play in the splash pad, while others swim in the pool. On Thursdays, the older children use the pool and are separated by age, arriving at different times. All the kids who use the pool must pass a swimming test at the beginning of the summer or wear a life vest.
“I’m enjoying meeting new people and having so much fun,” said first-time camper Amber Roberts.
One of the big events the summer camp offers each year is a trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The children are divided into groups and spend the day viewing the animals. Lunch is provided to give them a break from touring.
Some of the other excursions planned for the summer campers include a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, kayak and paddleboarding, as well as a day at Adventure Landing.
They also have a theater production coordinated by Missoula Children’s Theatre. The traveling group will work with the children on acting and teach them about make-up. Everyone is encouraged to attend their show, “Robin Hood” on July 20 and the annual YAC Talent Show July 21.