BY ANDREAS BUTLER
While some students are home this summer playing video games or are attending summer school, many local students are engaged in structured activities at area centers that are keeping them entertained and busy.
Parents looking to sign up their kids for summer programs and camps until school resumes on Aug. 13 are too late. Most of them are full and aren’t accepting any new participants.
Tier One Two Aspire Leap, Inc. (T.O.T.A.L.) Inc. is one organization that’s offering a STEM program in a fun way. It’s hosting a computer science clinic for grade school kids at 206 N. Beach St., Daytona Beach.
The students at the camp, which is full, are learning computer coding, computer science, Microsoft Office suites, team building, and communication skills.
“It is very important to get young people involved in technology. Right now employers in the technology sector are having a hard time finding people to employ because people don’t have the right skills,” said Cicily Thomas, program director of the T.O.T.A.L summer clinic.
T.O.T.A.L. is a non-profit organization that specializes in computer science training, entry-level employment certifications and preparation and exams at little or no cost.
“We help folks with workforce training. We also have college kids who are paid interns working with doing project management which will help them get jobs. Those interns are assisting teaching our youth as project managers too, which will help them earn jobs,” Thomas added.
For more information on T.O.T.A.L., visit www.tierone2al.org.
The City of Daytona Beach’s Leisure Services Division is running multiple summer programs.
“We are focused on our summer programs right now. It’s too late as the programs are full,” said Keith Willis, Leisure Services director.
These programs are held at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center 130 kids, Yvonne Scarlett Golden Cultural and Educational Center with 100 participants, Ortona Elementary (85 students) and Sunnyland Park with 54 kids.
“The summer programs are good for the kids. It’s always good to have kids doing something constructive and positive. It’s good to keep them off the streets,” said Andrew Powell, site supervisor of the Golden center.
Just for kids
Another summer program is going on at the John H. Dickerson Center run by the Boys & Girls Club.
All summer programs are Monday-Friday from 7:30 to 5:30 p.m., which closes the community centers to the public for activities.
“Our centers are closed until after the summer program. It’s a safety matter with the kids. The centers are open once the programs are over to adults and kids,” added Willis.
Free meals, swimming
Most summer camp locations are also free summer meal locations where all school-aged children up to 18 years old can get free meals.
The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, runs though Aug. 9 and is being sponsored by the Volusia County Human Services Office.
The Cypress Aquatic Center at 981 George W. Engram Boulevard and Campbell Aquatic Center (Campbell Pool) located at 313 School Street are also open.
There is a $2.00 fee for Cypress while Campbell is free with open swim from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Swim lessons are available for children ages 6 months to 17 years old at both pools by request only. Scholarships are available.
“We want people to enjoy our pools. Summer camp kids get in the pools for free while other kids have to pay unless they go to Campbell during open swim. We have scholarships for swim lessons for those who need assistance,” noted Willis.
The Islamic Center of Daytona Beach also has a free youth summer camp at 347 S. Keech St. The camp is Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for youth 4-15.
Other free activities
CMX Cinemas (formerly Cobb Theaters) is offering a free Kids Summer Movie Escape. Located at 1850 Legends Lane near the Daytona Beach International Speedway, it offers free movie nights for kids of all ages. Shows start at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. For more information and schedule, call 386-944-3922 or go to www.Cobbtheaters.com.
The Museum of Arts & Sciences, located at 325 S. Nova Road in Daytona Beach, is free every first Tuesday of the month. The planetarium is the only non-free portion of the museum during the time. You must show proof of Volusia County residency. For more details, visit www.moas.org.