Field trips and more

The Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department now offers Camp Trek, an innovative Teen Adventure Camp in addition to its traditional Naticook Day Camp, located at Wasserman Park, 116 Naticook Road.

Camp Trek, open to town residents and also to non-

residents, was launched last year and operates as a subset of Naticook Day Camp. This program is designed for participants ages 12-15 as an alternative to the traditional day camp experience.

Campers in the Camp Trek program will spend two days a week participating in traditional camp activities at Wasserman Park and three days traveling to off-site destinations throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Camp Trek adventures include everything from visiting spectacular State Parks to zooming through the air on rides at Canobie Lake Park. Each week of the eight-week session is packed with new and exciting field trip destinations.

Naticook Day Camp is geared towards participants ages 4-14. Campers participate in a wide variety of activities including these favorites: swimming lessons, boating, group games, archery, drama, nature exploration, sports, arts and crafts, special events and much more. The camp day runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the option to add morning and afternoon extended-day arrangements for an additional fee.

In addition to the array of weekly activities offered, each child receives a daily hot lunch. Menu items vary, but always include selections from a salad bar stocked with greens and veggies and a delectable dessert. Lunch is enjoyed at outdoor picnic tables or in the camp’s spacious function hall during rainy days.

Parks & Recreation Director Matt Casparius recently said that his goal in these programs is to inspire children to develop a positive self-image and to increase their social skills while building new and everlasting friendships.

“We create a space for campers to learn new skills and work as a group,” said Casparius. “They learn while gaining confidence in their unique abilities as individuals.”

He notes an abundance of research that proves day camp experiences support children’s social skills, leadership qualities and independence, along with their self-esteem and sense of adventure. The young campers develop a heightened awareness of nature as they explore the shores of Naticook Lake and the 46 acres of Wasserman Park, home to dozens of scenic trails, some tennis and basketball courts and other outdoorsy attractions.

“We provide our campers will the opportunity to try a little bit of everything,” Casparius said. “We allow them to engage in activities they might not otherwise get to experience.”

Amenities at Wasserman Park include an on-site theater building where campers ages 8-14 can take part in Merrimack Summer Stage Theater Camp. During this one-week specialty camp, children learn about scene acting, vocal work and dance, plus creative movement, and improvisation. The space also is utilized by Naticook Day Camp to conduct activities that incorporate stage skills culminating in skits, plays and performances throughout the summer.

All of the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department summer programs are based at Wasserman Park and are outfitted with more than 50 dedicated, experienced and highly trained staff members. Many are former campers at Naticook Day Camp. All programs are open to both residents and non-residents at different fees.