SUMMER IS HERE!!!! The kids are out of school and in search of something to do. It can be a little time consuming and pricey if you have to accommodate kids of different age groups and interests. I only have one child and luckily for me he’s fine with going with the flow so I don’t have to make to many preparations. Now I work mainly on third shift so I am free during the day but for other parents who have to work, there are some options for you. Earlewood Park off North Main Street is where you can go to pay $55 a week and sign your child up for a local community center near you. This is also a plus because you can find out about different activities going on around the city as well as sport teams that your child can join. They can also inform you about which locations are providing free summer lunches to children.

Now my niece will be going to middle school and we heard on the radio (gotta love local advertisement) about a STEM camp for GIRLS ONLY on the campus of Claflin University. This is a wonderful opportunity for young ladies to get out there, meet new people and expose themselves to new technology and what it could feel like when they do go to college. It is never too early to expose our girls to the future and what they can become.

It’s amazing how one spark and ignite a huge flame.

Now, I myself enjoy things that don’t cost much money. I will be taking the kids to Lake Monticello as much as I can this summer. I love going there with the kids because it is free and they have it set up perfectly. Due to experience I realize the best time to go is during the week, that’s when there are fewer people there, but if  you do decide to go on the weekend, go as early in the morning as possible to ensure you get a good spot to set up (if you’re able to get one at all). It can be a little bit of a drive, but it is so worth it. I like cooking on the grill while the kids play and my son loves fishing. I do all my prep a day or two before hand and the rest is history. The only down side is the ride home. You may have a car full of children, but everyone will be asleep due to exhaustion and you will be on your own – then again, that could be a plus.

One last great thing we can do with our children that’s free, will come with a meal and is educational. Edventure Children’s Museum is offering free lunch for parents and children birth to 18 along with free museum admission. Now this is a win-win all the way around. So many different local organizations are offering free lunches for the youth but this one also feeds the parents as well. After you enjoy lunch, you can walk it off exploring Eddie and all of the other attractions. Anything educational is a huge plus in my book. Again, it’s something about igniting that spark. Playing a simple game can turn into a lifelong career that you child enjoys in their adult life.

No matter what you decide. Enjoy your children and be safe. My son doesn’t know it yet but I will be throwing some school work in there a few times a week. “If you’re not ahead, you’re behind” I always tell him. Fun is nice, but I am very big on education. Anywhere I can combine the two makes learning easier for both of us.

– Sarah Ravenell

As the school year ends, one of the things we parents have to think about is…what can my children do for the summer while I work?

Many parents tend to dread summer camp because it usually entails expenses and since the kids are always hungry, we have to budget in more good to feed those hungry bellies. Not all camps will provide food.

Well, fear not! I’m here to offer some suggestions about affordable summer camp that will feed multiple meals included in the price.

My first choice is the RAM Foundation. The RAM Foundation was founded by my former high school English teacher, Dr. Mary Stover. This free summer program provides a free educational program, and it includes breakfast, lunch, and a snack based on Richland District’s nutritional meals. Currently, the program provides its services for a half a day but you really can’t beat free. You have to fill out an application with a one-time $25 administrative fee because seats are limited.

My second recommendation is the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. This non-profit organization provides several different types of summer camps throughout the Midlands and it’s based on your income. My daughter will be attending the Summer Art Camp. The program provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well! Their hours of operation are 7:30am until 6:30pm Monday through Friday and it starts from June 5th until August 18th! You can sign up your child/children by the week if you don’t want them to go every week of summer.

– Jameelah Rasheed

Camp Ages Times/Dates Price Meals Provided
City of Columbia Camps: Registration at Earlewood Community Center Varies Registration: 8:30 am- 5 pm at 1111 Parkside Drive, Columbia, SC

Camps: Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.


Exception: Arts and Outdoor Adventure

Teen Camp provides lunch
Lake Monticello All Ages Daylight Hours Free Admission and Parking Bring your own
EdVenture All Ages Monday-Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Members: Free

Children under 2: Free

Children & Adults: $11.50

Seniors, Military (with ID), Educator (with ID): $10.50

Families who receive SNAP, WIC or Medicaid benefits: $1 per person

Lunch for parents and children
RAM: Reading Arts Mathematics Camp 4-17 Monday-Friday

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

$25 registration fee Breakfast and Lunch
Boys and Girls Club 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Snack
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