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Tri-Lakes summer camp programs in full swing

VERMONTVILLE — Playing capture the flag, four square, making bracelets and hanging out with friends. That’s all part of a normal day for children who take part in the town of Franklin Summer Youth Program.

Kate Mountain Park has been home to the summer program for almost 20 years. The program caters to kids ages 4 to 16.

Between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, there are games, crafts and activities available for kids in attendance, with a lunch break at noon. Lunch, open to anyone under the age of 18, is provided by the Saranac Lake Central School District.

Theme days are one of the staples of the program, with days such as Winter in July and Costume Day.

Kathy Drake runs the program. She’s been in her position for 19 years.

“Seeing the kids happy is my favorite part,” she said.

Drake is part of a staff of five. Her son Dan, a volunteer and two recent high school graduates also are there to watch over the kids at the park.

“Very thankful for the staff I have,” Drake said.

Almost all of the staff have experience with the summer program. The two high school students helping out attended as children. Dan Drake has been on staff for a while along with Kathy.

COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the program slightly. Children do not have to wear masks, but those over 12 must be vaccinated. Continuing to enforce good hygiene is another prevention measure.

“I really have to make sure kids wash hands,” Dan Drake said.

Other protocols include temperature checks for all, and parents aren’t allowed to leave their vehicles.

Being in their cars hasn’t kept parents too distant from the program.

“I’m just thrilled with the parents and their support,” Drake said. Parents’ support comes in various ways. Some are registered helpers who come in to cover for an employee and others support through donations to the program.

The program was only taking 36 kids and availability was prioritized towards town of Franklin residents, according to a press release from the program. However, now that the program has a larger staff, 60 kids is the limit.

For more information, contact the town of Franklin at 518-891-2189.

Youth day camps open

– Lake Placid — North Elba Show Grounds, Lake Placid Summer Recreation Program, 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Open to children ages 5 – 12 in the town of North Elba or in the Lake Placid Central School District. Call 518-523-2591 for more information.

– St. Agnes — St. Agnes in Lake Placid will be hosting its two summer programs for kids in pre-school and students in kindergarten through fifth grade. For more information, call 518-523-3771.

– Keene — The town of Keene typically hosts a seven-week summer program for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program includes recreational activities, crafts, trips to ECHO Museum in Burlington, Vermont, Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Queensbury, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, beach trips and much more. Haley Garno Potter is the summer camp director. This program runs from July to August, according to the town’s website.

– Tupper Lake — The L.P. Quinn Elementary School gym, town of Tupper Lake Summer Youth Program, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open to children ages 5 – 12. Registration forms available at www.tupperlakeny.gov under “Recreation Department” tab. For more information, call 518-359-8370.

– St. Bernard’s — This year St. Bernard’s in Saranac Lake is changing up its summer program. The program will be once a week from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The new summer enrichment program will focus on education with STEM integrated into the program. For more information call 518-891-2830.