Beaver Township program kicks off to success

Sixteen kids are participating in the township’s first summer day camp.



NORTH LIMA — With his fist full of play dough, Cody Howard explained the best technique for making imitation crabby patties.

You know, the hamburger-type patties, typically made out of crabmeat, frequently created by film and TV star SpongeBob SquarePants.

“You just have to make sure they’re not too thin, or they’ll fall apart,” explained 5-year-old Cody during his demonstration. “It’s not that hard. I just use my hand as a spatula.”

Cody, who will enter kindergarten at South Range Elementary School this fall, enjoyed some down time Wednesday afternoon at Woodworth Park, after running a few relays, dribbling a basketball and making a craft for the Fourth of July.

He was surrounded by other children busy making crabby patties, playing board games, watching a movie or visiting the craft table at the front of the park pavilion.

The camp

Cody is one of 16 youths participating in Beaver Township’s first summer day camp program. The township park board is offering the program for two weeks this summer.

The first session, which started Monday, ends Friday. The second session is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon July 16-20 at Memorial Park.

The free program is open to all township children ages 5 through 12. The registration deadline for the second session is July 9.

“So far, so good,” said Jodi Taylor, who is overseeing the program. “I think we got off to a slow start, and it took a while for the word to get around. But it’s OK starting off small and growing from where we are now.

“I’m hoping as more families become aware of what we’re doing, they’ll encourage their children to participate this year and in the future.”

Developing the program

The township trustees hired Taylor earlier this year to help develop the program. A teacher at Columbiana High School, Taylor said she appreciates the opportunity to work with younger children this summer. Her experience includes six years as a summer youth counselor and youth director at Youngstown State University.

The program she’s helped develop in Beaver includes team-building games, arts and crafts instruction, basketball and football lessons and competitions, animal and nature presentations and scavenger hunts, among other activities.

The children enrolled in this week’s program said they’re looking forward to spending more time with Taylor during the second session in July.

Katie Baytos, a 12-year-old going into seventh grade at South Range Middle School, said the program gives her a chance to be more active.

Being active

“If I weren’t here, I’d be at home riding my scooter or watching TV,” she said.

“I wanted to do something else this summer. I like competing. I like the basketball and kickball and everything. I like being with the other kids. I like not feeling so lazy and feeling like I’m wasting my summer.”

Leah Casas, 9, who is going into fourth grade at South Range, said the day camp gives her a chance to meet new people and learn new skills.

Normally, she would be at home playing with her 5-year-old brother, Antonio.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Ricky Schneider, who is soon to be a seventh-grader, couldn’t seem to keep his hands off a basketball.

Likes variety

“I like the basketball and football and kickball,” he said. “It’s like we get a lot of that, but it’s not all that. There are other things to do, too. You get to do a lot of different stuff instead of just one thing.”

Taylor said she wanted to offer the children a variety of activities rather than concentrating solely on a sports camp type program.

“This way they can enjoy sports, but they can also get a break from that and do something else. We wanted to give them a balance,” she said.