Summer camp options open up Orange Recreation Center for youth

Published 12:20 am Friday, May 26, 2023

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The Orange Recreation Center is hosting a weekly summer sports camp for children ages 7-12 this summer.

Since opening in October, the center expanded its offerings beyond basketball to include soccer and volleyball. This summer’s inaugural sports camp is the first of many the center is planning.

Each week a different sport is offered. Parents may choose to register and pay $40 for individual weeks or register and pay $180 for the full camp.

The co-ed, staff-supervised camp runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, beginning May 30 and ending June 30. Meals are included.

Orange Recreation Center Director Anthony Dandridge said week 1 is basketball, week 2 is volleyball, week 3 is flag football, week 4 is track and week 5 includes a variety of activities.

The city is working to provide an affordable option for parents.

“For the parents that can’t afford it, we do have scholarship programs,” Dandridge said. “It would be on them to come in and discuss those options.”

Camp counselors are being recruited from existing staff and the wider community.

Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas’ Greg Steward said Orange Recreation Center is taking advantage of a summer internship/paid work experience program.

“This is a true benefit for our employers and our community, as we’re able to place our youth on worksites to allow them to gain valuable work experience,” Steward said. “Our employers are able to get some additional assistance that’s paid for through the Workforce.”

Dandridge feels the approach fulfills one of the center’s missions by offering opportunities to the entire community.

Since opening in October, the center has enjoyed strong attendance, officials said.

The gymnasium is shared with community members interested in walking.

“What we have now, while the kids play basketball, on the other court they go and walk,” Dandridge said. “When they come and walk, we clear the court so no older person gets hit with a ball. We’ll accommodate them.”

Those interested in resuming morning senior walks or hosting activities at Orange Recreation Center are asked to call 409-883-1072 or visit the facility 1405 W. Orange Avenue in Orange.

“We are actually interested ourselves in putting on Zumba classes; exercise classes,” Dandridge said. “In order to do it, we would need the interest behind it. We can’t justify having three or four people there.

“Now that it’s being publicized to those outside of and in Orange, everybody’s saying, ‘come hang out at the rec,’ so the mayor’s dream is coming true.”

The Orange Recreation Center is open to the public this summer during its hours of operation, offering residents of Orange free access to its gymnasium.

Nonresidents pay daily or monthly fees of $5 and $35, while family passes are $80.

— Written by Shari Hardin