[by Niki King]
If you’ve been by the Jewish Community Center lately, you probably couldn’t help but notice it’s hopping busy.
Summer fun has kicked into high gear, with pool time and summer camps reaching their peak seasons, roughly June through August.
More summer memberships were sold this year than last year. The swim team, which has about 115 kids, is the biggest it’s ever been. And this year is the largest year ever for summer camps with more than 525 kids registered for camps that range in topic from Legos and dance to creative writing and sailing.
Suzy Hillebrand, membership director, said this time of year, it’s all about the pools.
People are drawn to “our excellent and attentive aquatic staff,” she said. “Exposure to the swim program makes them want to come back and enjoy our facilities.”
That’s true for Benedicte and Matt Partin, who have a family membership for themselves and their children: 12-year-old Eli and eight-year-old triplets Josie, Nick and Charlie.
Benedicte Partin said she’s at the JCC pool about five days a week. While two of her children participate in the swim team, her other two children swim independently. She finds a comfortable spot to relax and watch them.
“They’re always asking if we can go to the pool,” she said.
They’ve made lots of friends and the staff and lifeguards know them well, she said, which makes for a friendly, safe environment. The pool facilities are big enough that the whole family can find things to do, but small enough that she can keep close watch over her kids, she said. Plus, she knows they’re staying active and getting lots of exercise and fresh air.
“It’s been such a great place for them to spend their summer,” she said.
The pools are busiest for several hours in the morning and from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., when kids enrolled in summer camps are swimming.
Burcum Keeton said the opportunity for daily swimming was a major reason she enrolled her six-year-old daughter Alara Keeton in the full-day summer camp for the month of June. Alara has been trying to take her swimming abilities to the next level, Keeton said.
So far, Alara is loving camp, particularly the pool time, new friends and her camp counselors, Keeton said.
“She literally tells us not to pick her up before 6 p.m.,” Keeton said. “We knew we’d be happy.”