By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — For some, the idea of balls whirling by their heads may not sound like much fun. But for kids at the Impact Center’s Mini Camp, it’s a favorite activity.
Cameron Parks, 8, said he really likes playing.
It’s his competitive nature. He likes “getting people” out of the game.
The center’s inaugural mini camp began in early June and runs until July 31 and is held at the Impact Center, 630 Nichol Ave., every Wednesday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
It’s sponsored by Buckskin Bikes, Intersect Inc., Community Hospital, Catapult Fitness, St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and the Impact Center, and features games like Ultimate Frisbee along with events like a hip-hop class from Catapault.
Wendy Cook, of Intersect, said it’s supported by a state grant.
“One of the goals (of the grant) is to reduce underage drinking,” she said. “One of the ways we decided to do that was to provide safe, drug-free activities in Anderson.”
Like the mini camp.
Alisha Bratjan, 13, said she’s really enjoyed the hip-hop dancing and dodgeball.
Sports are her “thing” so she really likes getting the chance to come and play with other kids.
“It’s fun,” she said. “There’s nothing else to do at my house.”
Plus, she said, there aren’t many kids in her neighborhood and it isn’t the safest area to play.
Cook said another goal of the camp was to provide a safe place for kids to have fun.
It’s a part of the reason they targeted the Impact Center neighborhood, she added. To bring “a new light to this side of town.”
According to Anderson police, the area surrounding the center is one of the city’s top crime areas.
While coming to the summer camp, Bratjan said she’s met kids from different schools and made new friends.
Cook said they’ve seen attendance rise from week to week. Last Wednesday, they saw about 40 kids.
Alisha’s sister, Victoria, 9, said she’d be “sleeping a lot, begging my mom to go swimming” if she wasn’t in camp.
She, too, is a fan of all the games like basketball and kickball.
Avery Cook, 9, said it’s a good time of day to have the activities; when it’s so hot outside. Most of their games have been in the center’s gymnasium.
Hip-hop class has been her favorite activity. That and meeting other kids.
“You get to see friends and make friends,” she said.
Buckskin Bikes will be sponsoring a ride on Wednesday. Wendy Cook said they’d have about eight bikes on hand for those kids who do not own any.
The camp is free to all the children and for school-age youth.
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If You Go What: Impact Center Mini Camp Where: 630 Nichol Ave., Anderson When: Every Wednesday, 12:30 to 2 p.m., until July 31