Children can stay busy learning and being active this summer as several Central Texas organizations provide camps and programs.

“We would rather see them in the program than at home,” said Antionette Wiggins, Armed Services YMCA childcare director. “We want them to enjoy (their summer) and be safe.”

The YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas are both hosting programs throughout the summer in multiple locations in the area. Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove parks and recreation departments also are offering summer camp programs.

The Boys & Girls Club will operate at six sites in Killeen, two in Copperas Cove, two in Georgetown and one each in Lampasas and Gatesville. The YMCA will conduct seven summer camps for children 4 to 12 years old, including four in Killeen, one in Copperas Cove, one in Belton and one in Florence. The Copperas Cove Family Center and Harker Heights Teen Center also will be open during the summer.

Parents have to work during the summer, and these camps and programs allow for children to be active and social during those hours their guardians are not at home, Wiggins said.

“This is a positive place where you can build on your academic success, work on their character and work on healthy life style,” said Calvin Darthard, Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas deputy chief professional officer. “We keep kids on their feet and moving around all the time.”

Darthard and Wiggins said learning also plays a role in their summer programs.

The Boys & Girls Club youth campuses will run a summer curriculum called the Learning Loss program. It is a program developed for children when school is out.

Those attending the YMCA summer camps will focus on the basics through games and arts and crafts, Wiggins said.

“As we all know, the kids don’t necessarily retain everything during the 2½ months they have off,” Darthard said. “It is very important that we continue to offer these young folks their learning. We are looking forward to see the outcomes of these programs, too.”

Both the teen campuses for the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club will allow for a variety of activities for the older children, from playing pool to swimming to sports.

“They can come out and hang out and be with their friends,” Wiggins said of the YMCA’s Teen Center in Harker Heights and the Family Center in Copperas Cove.

With supervision at all the summer program sites, parents won’t have to worry about their children while they are at work, Wiggins said.

“Kids should always have a place where it is safe,” Darthard said.

Summer Programs and Summer Camps

Killeen Parks and Recreation

Dates: July 29 to Aug. 9

Location: Killeen Family Recreation Center

More information:

Harker Heights Parks and Recreation

Dates: June 17 to Aug. 2

Times: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Ages: 5 to 11

Location: Skipcha Elementary School

Cost: $75 ($5 off for residents) per session/per camper

More information:

Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation

Dates: June 10 to Aug. 16

Times: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: Copperas Cove Civic Center

Cost: $70 per week

More information:

Boys & Girls Club

Dates: June 10 to Aug. 16

Times: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for children through the eighth grade

Locations: Boys & Girls Club Copperas Cove, Gatesville, Lampasas, Bingham Unit, Woodhall Unit, Clements Teen Center, Cove Junior High, Liberty Hill and Union Grove Middle Schools, Killeen Community Center.

Cost: $25 membership fee

More information:

Armed Services YMCA summer camps

Dates: June 10 to Aug. 23

Times: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., for children 4 to 12

Locations: Timber Ridge, Cedar Valley, Willow Springs, Belliare and Brook Heaven Elementary Schools in Killeen, Copperas Cove City Park and Belton and Florence.

Cost: $25 registration, $80 per child

More information:

Doors open at noon for the Harker Heights Teen Center Monday through Friday

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474

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