MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE - --
“I like to brag, and this is the best summer camp around,” said Patrick Larkin, youth activities director for Family Care Branch, Marine and Family Programs Division, Marine Corps Community Services.
Camp Funawasto, formerly known as Camp Extramagama, is back at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for the summer. Starting June 13, the camp will be open to all military, Department of Defense and MCCS employees’ children.
“It is a special summer camp for children from kindergarten up to sixth grade,” said Larkin. “It provides parents with a place to drop their kids off in a safe, fun environment with the best trained employees in the area.”
The camp will be held at the Stone Street and Tarawa Terrace’s Youth Pavilions. Campers will be treated to field trips, crafts and visits from various entertainers. Mondays are dedicated to a trip to the nearby theater; Tuesdays are trips to the Tarawa Terrace Pool; Wednesdays and Thursdays are reserved for trips such as golfing, bowling and kayaking, and all big trips, entertainers and guest presentations are reserved for Fridays.
“We go on some pretty fun trips,” said Larkin. “This year we are going to Jungle Rapids in Wilmington, the Ice House, also in Wilmington and the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Fridays we also try and get people to come and present crafts like basket weaving and mosaics. The children get a great cultural experience as well as all these field trips, and they get introduced to a wide variety of activities.”
The children are all arranged by which school grade they will attend the following year. Each location, however, has a max capacity of 115 people. Spots fill up fast and spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We’ve had the max 115 children in the building, and it’s just amazing,” said Larkin. “Everything is loud, noisy, colorful and fun.”
There is also the option to attend as a daily camper, where children attend no more than three days a week for a specified cost per day. Parents can specify which days they would like their child to attend. For example, a camper may go only Monday, Tuesday and Friday. However, spaces for daily campers depend on how many full-time campers there are. Availability for daily campers are based upon the number of full-time participants.
Prices for camp vary based upon total family income and may range from $52 to $138 per week for full-time campers. The fees cover all expenses the children may need, including all meals, field trip fees, any craft materials, and for full-time campers, this also buys two Camp Funawasto shirts.
Larkin added that though it may seem like there’s a better deal out in town, the quality of care, the student-counselor ratio, safety and field trips may not compare to the alternatives.
Camp counselors go through countless hours of training that are both general and age specific. They all attend Children, Youth and Teens Program training which include first-aid classes, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pediatric medications and food handling instruction. Counselors then attend age-specific education that teaches them to speak to the children appropriately, use positive reinforcement and guidance and how to help the children develop and grow.
“I was a camp counselor here at Camp Lejeune starting in 2005,” said Larkin. “You get to know these kids, and they grow on you. You know the kids are having fun when you walk in and (the children) are smiling and there’s laughter, and all the staff is smiling, having fun. It’s what the summer is about. It’s the most fun and safe environment for a kid during the summer.”
Information for Camp Funawasto, including a list of required items for registration, can be found at under the CYTP link on the MCB Camp Lejeune MCCS website. Parents may also call 449-9563 for more information.