Students get a ‘splash’ of summer

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published July 31, 2013

 Students from the Warren Woods Public Schools School Aged Childcare Summer Camp water each other down while on a field trip at the Squirt Zone at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.

Students from the Warren Woods Public Schools School Aged Childcare Summer Camp water each other down while on a field trip at the Squirt Zone at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — If not for the Warren Woods Public Schools School Age Childcare Summer Camp, 10-year-old Joshua Fair could be having a dull summer.

“I might be pretty bored,” the Pinewood Elementary student admitted after splashing with his campmates July 18 through the Squirt Zone at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township. It was the perfect place to beat the summer heat, and with their neon yellow shirts, the day-campers were as bright as the sun. 

“I like it here because it’s really hot outside,” Fair said. “It’s a place to cool off.”

One Squirt Zone activity the campers often play is a game in which they try not to touch the water at all, 9-year-old Briarwood student Hudson Mizgalski said. The object is to jump over the water and “dodge” it. If not, “You’re out,” the day-campers said.

The WWPS camp has become a tradition of fun, field trips and frolic for the many students and staff who unite every summer. The group meets each day at Westwood Elementary School. Students from throughout the district enroll every summer. Many of the same children come back year after year, and students outside the district also are welcome. About 60 kids are in this year’s camp.

Activities range from field trips of all kinds to special programs at the site. In between, everyone bonds playing cards, doing group activities, creating artwork, tie dying and much more.

The program runs smoothly under lead caregivers Kelly Burg, Natascha McCormick and Kristina Varacalli, and assistant caregivers Alyssa Karasienski, Ashley Kurkierewicz and Genna Soloway. Staff members follow lesson plans. They often get into the fun of everything, and proved to be good sports when getting splashed at the Squirt Zone. 

“They’ve very nice,” Fair said. “I am grateful they do this.”

The program includes students from kindergarten through eighth grade, McCormick said.

“It’s fun for all of us to get with the kids and interact,” she said. “They’re all getting along with each other. The bigger ones help the younger children out. That’s what I like.”

The fee to attend is $3 per hour, plus a $77 registration fee. Fees cover two snacks with a drink every day, all the field trips and entertainment, and a T-shirt to wear on field trip. A free lunch is provided daily.

While last week was all about keeping cool in the hot July sun, a visit to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum earlier this month left some children with goose bumps. Located in Farmington Hills, Marvin’s pays homage to vintage, coin-operated arcade games, some of them spooky-looking. According to, the museum is listed in the “World Almanac” as one of the 100 most unusual museums in the United States.

“Their favorite field trip I would say is probably Marvin’s,” Burg said.

“It’s a place where you get to have fun,” 10-year-old Pinewood student Tyler Diteodoro said. “You play on different arcade games and you get (prizes) with tickets.”

“You can get moving fish tanks, candy, a clock, watches,” 10-year-old Westwood student Alex Beaudoin said. He couldn’t remember the name of his favorite game there, but the arcade still left an impact. “Some spots are creepy. They have some funny stuff.”

Diteodoro also had a good time when High Touch High Tech came to Westwood to make Slushi drinks. He shared the secret.

“You put ice into a plastic bag and put Kool-Aid in two smaller bags,” Diteodoro said. “You put salt on the ice and then shake it up for 15 minutes. It comes out a Slushi.”

Mizgalski’s favorite field trip was heading over to American Pie in Warren.

“It’s a buffet and there’s pizza and dessert,” the 9-year-old Briarwood student said.

The Barnyard Express, Little Creature, Louie the Lightening Bug and Magic Marc are among the onsite entertainment scheduled this summer. An occasional movie, luncheon at El Charro’s, playing at Fort Fraser and days of roller-skating and bowling are among the field trips.

The children will be center stage during a talent show on site Aug. 22.

“I’m doing ‘The Three Stooges’ with my friends,” Beaudoin offered. “We’re going to make up our own characters.”

“I’m glad we are able to do every one of these things,” said 10-year-old Pinewood student Paige Grzenkowicz, known for her artwork.