Wake County to keep popular school summer camp program after all

The Wake County school system has reversed its decision to eliminate popular summer recreational camps used by hundreds of students from Cary and Morrisville.

Parents were told at the end of January that the camps were being discontinued because of concerns such as whether the programs met property and liability insurance requirements. But after they “heard from a lot of parents,” school officials announced this week that the camps would open this summer while a review is conducted to determine whether any changes will be made for 2017.

“District staff reexamined the summer camp program and determined that the schools that had been operating them will be able to continue for the summer of 2016,” said Lisa Luten, a Wake County school spokeswoman. “But while that’s going on, the district will conduct a districtwide audit of all the programs in place to review fiscal, safety and programming structures.”

Families pay a $50 registration fee and $145 a week for the all-day, nine-week summer program. The camps offer activities such as field trips to science museums, weekly activities such as swimming and daily activities such as theme-related crafts.

This just shows that one voice is a whisper, but many voices are a roar.

Nancy Haywood, Cary Elementary School parent

In addition to concerns about insurance and whether the programs had gotten approval from the school board, school officials had questioned whether the camps had a strong enough academic focus.

Nancy Haywood, a Cary Elementary School parent who formed a Facebook group to help coordinate the lobbying efforts, said Friday that families who will use the camps and teachers who will get paid to work at the programs are ecstatic. Haywood said the decision to offer the camps shows the impact the community can have bringing about change.

“This just shows that one voice is a whisper, but many voices are a roar,” she said.

Haywood said Cary, Green Hope and Weatherstone elementary schools have told parents that they plan to offer camps this summer. She said Davis Drive Elementary and Davis Drive Middle aren’t expected to continue the camps this year because of summer renovation projects.

Parents had planned to show up at Tuesday’s school board meeting to urge that the summer camps be saved. Haywood said they’ll now come to thank the school system for letting the camps continue.

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui