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Lincoln children wrap up city's Summer Kids Kamp before school starts

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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More than 100 Lincoln children reveled in their last days of summer this week and took part in the last week of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Kids Kamp.

Stephanie Lombardi, a recreation coordinator for the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, said Tuesday the 10-week program typically serves nearly 200 children each summer.

“There are about 120 today,” Lombardi said. “This is a slow week because school is back.”

Western Placer Unified School District students return to classes today.

Lombardi said the children, from kindergarteners to sixth-graders, were grouped by age for the activities. Each group had between 20 and 30 children.

On Tuesday, the children and 13 staff members were at McBean Park enjoying a rare day outside. Lombardi said the children were inside for several sessions because of heat and smoke from numerous California fires.

Weekly activities this summer included pool day Mondays and field trips Thursdays. The weekly cost of the camp was $135, not including expenses for field trips.

Activities Tuesday included a twist on a classic game.

“The kids are playing extreme musical chairs,” Lombardi said. “After the music stops, the kids must run through one of two obstacle courses to get to the chairs.”

Two children in the third- to fourth-grade group said they enjoyed their summer camp experience and look forward to doing it again.

Tiana Cox, 8, a Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School third-grader, said she wants to come back next summer.

“I liked the counselors. They were really nice,” Cox said. “Three-pin dodge ball was my favorite activity because it was fun.”

Cole Davis, 9, a First Street Elementary School third-grader, is coming back “for sure next summer.”

“I liked seeing my friends the best,” Davis said. “Dodge ball was my favorite activity because it’s fun and I’m good at it.”

The 13 camp counselors might have enjoyed the experience as much as the children.

Cassie Pisik, 19, is in her fourth year as a camp counselor for the Lincoln Parks and Recreation program.

“I love the kids, the atmosphere and the fact that I get to make their summer a little better by being a leader for them,” Pisik said. “Our Friday camp competitions stand out as the highlight of the week each week.”

Cayden Burkhart, 19, is in his third year as a camp counselor.

“I come back for the kids and the staff,” Burkhart said. “There are a lot of people (on staff) I’ve known for most of my life and I’ve made some of my best friends working here.”

Burkhart said Wednesdays were his favorite day.

“We have dress up days on Wednesday and the staff dresses up as well,” Burkhart said. “We’d have a different theme every week. When the staff is involved (in an activity), the kids attach more meaning to it. Twins Day was the best one.”

Daniele Padilla, 18, is in her second year as a counselor. She returned because of the children.

“The kids make an impact on you,” Padilla said. “If you’re having a bad day, they always find a way to pick you up. The kids make it worth it. Also, I’ve made a lot of friends.”

Padilla, who went to the Sheridan summer camp as a child, said her favorite activity is at the end of the day.

“We have dance parties at the end of the day,” Padilla said. “The co-workers and the kids sing and we have a dance-off with the kids. It’s funny.”