Instead of sitting idle at home, watching TV and playing video games, children in grades six through nine, can enjoy outdoor activities and fun, educational field trips through a Child, Youth and School Services program. The Gear Up! Summer Adventure Camp is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at Comanche Youth Center.

Willie Grandison, 13, attended the camp last year and wanted to come back because he enjoys the different field trips the children take.

“It’s great that I don’t have to stay at home, bored,” he said. “It’s really a lot of fun and you make a lot of new friends.”

Antionette Parker, assistant director at Comanche Youth Center, said the camp focuses on giving children skills they can use in the future.

“It’s not just baby sitting and putting them in a room,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of activities they’ve never tried before. Instead of arts and crafts at the center, we stepped it up a notch ... and they’re doing skilled art, like pottery, where they’re making art and not just painting a wooden box.”

Parker said each day is packed with numerous activities, including arts and crafts, a fitness hour, cooking and field trips.

“We try to keep them as busy as possible,” she said. “We try to do different things that appeal to different youth. You kind of tap into a different activities and strengths. It’s some athletic and some educational.”

Parker said many parents who bring their children to the camp like the fact that it’s not stationary and that their child gets to participate in activities they haven’t been exposed to, like chess and croquet.

“We have one child who has autism, and (the parent) said her child comes home and talks about everything everyday,” Parker said.

“The parents are (saying) that their kids are becoming more social, they’re building friendships that are lasting, they’re also becoming more confident in themselves and the choices they’re making.”

Marisa Richardson, 14, signed up for the camp after her mom suggested it.

“I would just be at home in bed the whole time (if I wasn’t at the camp),” she said. “It’s fun.”

Marisa enjoys spending time outdoors with the friends she’s made. “It’s great to go (to the camp) because we work out a lot and play a lot of sports,” she said. “It’s good to stay fit.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.


I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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