Camp Ponemah at Hampshire Hills offers summer fun for kids
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Batman passes the ball to Superman, while Wonderwoman tries to intercept it on the bounce.
When the horn sounds at 9 a.m., the basketball is forgotten and the children of Camp Ponemah run straight to attendance, adorned in Superhero costumes to match the day’s theme.
Designed to entertain two different age ranges: three-five and five-twelve, Camp Ponemah of Hampshire Hills in Milford holds a variety of themed days and weekly field trips.
Both age groups have access to a wide array of activities including but not limited to: basketball, swimming, “Nuke Ball,” wall climbing and tennis.
Swim time a favorite
“The free swim is my favorite,” said Fletcher Lumb, one of the campers. “I really like the swimming pool outside.”
Hampshire Hills has a total of three pools – two that are inside, and one outside.
“The kids really love the free swim,” said Kelly Corchado, an instructor in her third year at the camp. “They swim twice – we give lessons first and then later they’re allowed to have a free swim. They love being able to do whatever they want when the free swim comes along.”
The free swim, however, isn’t the only activity that the kids love. Fletcher and his friends were also found in the sandpit, playing and making paths and tunnels. When asked what they were doing, they claimed they were making a racecar track, which was later destroyed by monsters.
Dodgeball, knockout, manhunt
Simultaneously, other groups played dodgeball and knockout. If anyone even so much as breathed the word manhunt, the children would buzz.
“The kids always beg to play manhunt.” Corchado said, “they love it.”
“Our group’s favorite game is nuke bomb,” said Laura Graham, a counselor in her second year. “You throw the ball over the volleyball net and if someone on the other side doesn’t catch it, they’re out.”
“They also really like the team building games,” Graham said, “they really enjoy the human knot. It gets them all talking and working together.”
In addition to all of the fun activities, Camp Ponemah includes an environment rich with familiarity and bonding.
“You watch the kids grow up,” Corchado said, “I worked with some kids in the younger group and now they’re in the older group. It’s really great because you get to play with a lot of the different groups and get to know the kids.”
Watching them grow up
Graham agreed with Corchado’s excitement over watching the kids grow up.
“I used to work in the nursery,” she said. “Now some of the kids I had in there are involved with the camp out here.”
“It is such a great environment,” she said. “When I worked in the nursery I saw the counselors walking by with the kids and it looked like so much fun. Working the camp you get really close with the counselors and kids.”
The almost family-like environment was especially evident on superhero day.
Walking around camp it would have been hard to distinguish between counselor and camper had it not been for the height difference.
Counselors and campers alike ran around laughing, and counselors became heroes, even without their masks on.