Summer camps show signs of growing pains

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Some Horry County summer camps are reaching capacity in just one day, leaving some parents searching for alternatives.

The city's summer camps have filled up for years, but recently camps have met their caps in just one day of registration according to Myrtle Beach's Recreation Superintendent Pamela Stone.

This year the YMCA in Myrtle Beach also filled its summer camps to capacity. Child Care Director Diane Haffey said this is the first time their camp has had to have a wait list.

"At the end of every week I'm always checking to see if [parents] are going to use that next week, and if they're not I make sure that I call the parents that are waiting, and I try to get those children in too," Haffey explained.

Haffey says there may be several reasons for the interest in the YMCA's summer camps, including their new building and swimming pool.

"I'd like to think it's because people are working again here in this area, which is a nice thought too," Haffey added. "They really want to hang on to those jobs and they've got to have somewhere for their children to go, and they know this is a fun, safe environment for their children to be in."

All of Horry County's summer camps are full this year and according to Bonnie Fitz with the county's Parks and Recreation Department, the camps have been growing in popularity for years.

"The demand is truly, truly there for our programs, and we've grown and added new sites every year," Fitz said.

The county cannot enroll more children in summer camps because there is not enough room. Fitz said having a new recreation center like the North Park building has helped accommodate more children, but there is still a waiting list.

"It's kind of the size of the facility that caps how many kids we can accommodate at each location," Fitz said. "That's the only reason we turn away kids unfortunately is because of the size of the facility."

Fitz explained the addition of the South Strand Recreation Center will help accommodate more children in future years. The groundbreaking ceremony for that center was last week.

For parents looking for other options, many daycare's host summer camps. Balancing Buddies on Burcale Road in Myrtle Beach is just one example. The daycare operates in conjunction with Gymnastics Incorporated, which has a large enough facility that it can usually accept more children. They also offer the option of paying for one week or all summer.

"We have so many flexible options as far as rates and days and times and prices that it's convenient for a lot of people," LaChelle Carr said.

Wait lists can also allow children to get in on a summer camp when the enrolled children back out or go away for a week or two. Some one week sport specific camps offered by Horry County also have space available.

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