MONROE, CT — Monroe Summer Day Camp keeps children busy throughout their days with Legos, art, cooking, sports, waterslides and interactions with animals among the lineup of fun activities.
“We’re firm believers in sending your kids home tired, dirty and happy,” said Karen Mucherino, who founded the camp in 2019 and runs it with her daughter, Kristen Cavanaugh.
“We’re all about being hands-on, interactive and letting children be creative,” said Abby Salamon, assistant and first aid director for the camp. “We’re structured in a way that we’re very organized.”
For instance, Mucherino said camp days are structured with snack times, art periods and playground sessions.
Prior to starting her own business, Mucherino ran the town’s Summer Fun Days camp for 10 years. Mucherino said she and her daughter just felt it was time to have the freedom of running their own camp.
Monroe Summer Day Camp, which is for children from age 3 to those going into ninth-grade, rents space at the Rexford House behind Monroe Congregational Church on Church Street.
“The people at Monroe Congregational Church have been amazing,” Mucherino said. “We can use the air conditioning and their rooms. Our first year was amazing. We were able to walk to the library and use the green and the gazebo at Town Hall.”
She said the camp tries to have outdoor activities as much as possible.
An array of discounts
The 10-week-camp runs from June 14 to Aug. 20 and families can register throughout that time for $275 per week. However, those registering from now until May 31 will save $25 per week with an early bird special.
On top of that, those registering for more than eight weeks receive an additional 10-percent off per week.
Families signing up two children for two-to-three weeks get a one time $50 discount, along with any of the other discounts they qualify for.
Those who mention this Monroe Sun article will get an extra $25 off per week.
Working with children
When she ran the Summer Fun Days camp, Mucherino said she built the preschool program, which is called Playmates. Her daughter, Kristen Cavanaugh, volunteered there and later became co-director with Mucherino.
Salamon started out as a volunteer at the town’s camp, while a high school sophomore and later became a counselor. She is a member of Masuk’s Class of 2015.
Salamon recently earned her teacher certification and works as a tutor for Stratford public schools. Monroe Summer Day Camp’s hired staff members are age 18-and-older and Salamon said, “we try to stick with backgrounds of working with children.”
Monroe Summer Day Camp has openings for a part-time gym specialist and a part-time arts specialist.
Mucherino said she and her daughter make it a point to be active at the Monroe Summer Day Camp on a daily basis, rather than relying on high school volunteers. All of their staff members are trained in CPR and first aid and are EpiPen certified.
“And most of us had our COVID shots,” Mucherino said. “We are vaccinated.”
Aside from regular staffers, the camps has counselors in training, who must be at least 14-years-old and commit to a total of two weeks of volunteer hours, though it does not have to be consecutive.
Bring on the fun
Monroe Summer Day Camp breaks children up into groups of age 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 or 13, though the groups do some activities together.
Among the sessions in store for children this year are Schools Out for Summer from June 14-18, which tosses virtual learning aside to make way for in-person fun and games with friends. Campers will enjoy Legos, art, sports, and “getting to know you” activities. The week ends with campers sliding down huge waterslides to cool off.
Put Your Game Face On, from June 21-25, is a week featuring sports. Teams will work together in preparation for the camp’s annual Field Day. The fun includes soccer drills with local athletes, relays, pie eating contests, potato sack races and more.
Campers’ Kitchen is on tap for Session 3, from June 28 – July 2. Campers get creative in the kitchen, cooking, baking, decorating and eating. Children will make their own personal pizzas with Bella Rosa Ristorante in Monroe. Then campers will cool off with popsicles and a water day.
Holidaze, July 5 – 9, will make each day a holiday celebration. Children will wear red, white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day and put on a costume for Halloween. Campers will see an acrobat perform and end their week with an egg hunt and water day.
Animalia, July 12-16, will feature visits from all kinds of animals, from lions, tigers and bears, to birds, reptiles and amphibians. The week will include Critter Caravan Wednesday on July 14. It ends with a water day.
Shipwrecked, July 19-23, is a week of water games with waterslides, a scavenger hunt and a visit from “a real-life pirate.” Wear sunscreen and your favorite Hawaiian shirt.
Superhero, July 26 – 30, police officers and firefighters are among the local heroes visiting this week and campers can be heroes themselves by giving back to their community. The camp will hold a food drive for the Monroe Food Pantry and make arrangements with plants to cheer up those in need. There will also be a water day.
It’s a Wonderful Wacky Week at Camp during Session 8, Aug. 2 – 6, allows campers to get in touch with their crazy sides with wild socks and spiked up silly hair. The week includes musical entertainment, a dance party and waterslides.
The Carnival’s in Town, Aug. 9 – 13, is Monroe Summer Day Camp’s annual camp carnival with cotton candy, snow cones, a moon bounce, a giant waterslide, face painting, tie-dye and carnival-themed games.
Grand Finale, Aug. 16-20, is the 10th and final session is a fun filled week to get kids ready for their return to school. This summer finale includes a summer movie, a special water day and a visit from an ice cream truck.