Children have fun in the sun at field day
By B.C. Manion
They glided down water slides, jumped around in a bounce house and ran through sprinklers, laughing and screaming with joy.
Other kids were singing songs or doing crafts or cooling off under two shade tents that were equipped with soaker hoses.
No matter what they were doing, hundreds of kids appeared to be having a blast last week at a Camp Wow! Field Day at Withlacoochee River Park.
The event was just one of many summer activities provided to children who are taking part in the Pasco Learning and Activity Centers of Enrichment (PLACE) program this summer. The program is part of Pasco County Schools.
Last week’s camp involved about 700 kids from Seven Oaks, New River, Double Branch, Watergrass, Wesley Chapel, Woodland, Sand Pine, Veterans, Quail Hollow, Chester Taylor and Pasco elementary schools.
“We’re bringing vacation to the kids. These kids don’t always get to go on vacations,” said Karla Graziano, PLACE program coordinator.
In addition to the field days, the kids have also had a chance to go swimming and skating and to try their hand at gemstone mining. Before the summer ends, they’ll also get to go to a Tampa Bay Rays’ baseball game.
At last week’s field day, the dunk tank was one of the most popular attractions.
Kids took turns tossing softballs at a target, trying to soak Mary Grey, the supervisor of the PLACE program.
Grey egged them on, good-naturedly.
Apparently, lots of the kids were good shots.
By mid-morning, Grey estimated she’d been dunked more than 50 times.
The kids seemed to love the water slide — each gliding down in his or her unique fashion.
And, Rebekah Barragan, 8 and Bailey Bessette, 7, giggled as they made their way around a course chock full of water-related challenges.
Jesyriam Garcia, who works at the PLACE Program at Seven Oaks Elementary, said the kids had been looking forward to the day — and it appeared to be living up to their expectations.
“They’re really having fun. I think it’s wonderful,” she said.