Campers gain athletic and academic experiences at summer program in Tampa

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The director of DreamCatchers Summer Camp, Mike Trepper, summarizes the program perfectly.

“It is our seventh summer of doing this low cost, high energy, high fun, high safe type camp program for local kids,” said Trepper.

Although the camp is officially over for the summer after nine weeks of activities, 8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley managed to squeeze in a visit this week. The camp is held at Mort Park and Recreation Center in Tampa.

Why is this camp special? She learned it “provides low-income families an opportunity to keep children safe and active throughout the summer while infusing STEAM programming.”

The keyword in the description is “active” and it is certainly true. Shirley caught the campers in the middle of a type of basketball game called “knockout.” She asked Tydre Mitchell, who will be entering sixth grade this year, to tell her about it.

“If somebody is behind you and they make the point,” explained Mitchell, “you are automatically out.”

It is popular pastime for this group.

“I think it is fun because you challenge other people,” said Nina-Skyy Simms, who will enter the seventh grade at Sunlake Academy of Math and Science this year, “even if it is your friends that are either behind you or in front of you.”

You can easily see that the campers are competitive and they are calculating. They are enjoying the game but they are always trying to win it.

Simms shared the other activities that she has participated in at the camp.

“Kickball, knockout, regular basketball,” she said. “We played ‘Infected’ which is basically like a tag game.”

Trepper says the program has been a huge success. He added it focuses on preventing the dreaded summer slide.

“We bring in enrichment services such as Tampa City Ballet, Prodigy Culture Arts with arts and music, we bring in language services, academic enrichment, and tutoring,” he said.

He also highlighted the sports aspect of it.

“Not every kid is an athlete,” he said, “and that is fine but every kid should be able to run and jump and throw and catch and those things you can learn at a camp like this. That is really important.”

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