Salesian spirit infuses Immaculate Conception summer camp

Immaculate Conception’s “ICS Summer Camp” offers a variety of activities geared toward sparking the creativity and a spirit of friendly competition among boys and girls ages 3-12 – all in the warm and loving atmosphere of the Salesian-founded school campus in Marrero.

“I think it’s that family atmosphere you feel, that family togetherness when you’re on campus,” said Scott Walker, director of the camp since 2005 and the athletic director at Immaculate Conception School. “I attribute that warm environment to our school’s Salesian foundation and St. John Bosco’s philosophy of “Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness.”

Each camp group is overseen by a certified teacher, with the assistance of a college-age counselor and volunteers from the camp’s counselor-in-training program for teens ages 13 and 14.

“There is quality care,” Walker said. “They’ve all been through camp and know what it’s about. Our turnover ratio for the counselors is next to zero. Our college-age counselors build their summer schedule around coming back to camp.”

Camp days consist of a rotating schedule of 45-minute activity blocks featuring sports, games, songs, improvisational skits and swimming, the latter at a decked, on-campus, above-ground pool.

“They’re in the pool each day for about 45 minutes,” Walker said. “We have games and dance contests in the pool – ‘water activities,’ we call them – some competitive and some silly.”

Traditional sports are played inside the school gym and on a large, outdoor field. In addition to sports such as flag football and soccer, there is a big focus on what Walker dubs “wacky games”: dodge-ball, noodle ball, scooter relays and “Big Red Ball,” in which teams compete to push a supersize ball to a goal.

Campers take field trips each Friday to places such as the zoo, Skate Country and bowling; however, the most famous camp “field trip” is the one where campers stay on campus: a full-fledged drama production is mounted on the final Friday of each camp session. Past shows have included “The Princess and the Frog” and “ICS Goes Back to the Beach.”

“We are fortunate that Academy of Our Lady lets us use their gym, which has a fully functional drama stage, with the lighting and all the bells and whistles,” Walker said, adding that AOL’s drama teacher will staff the camp’s drama program. Costumes, sets and props are created by the campers during art time.

“The plays are pretty amazing,” Walker said. “They are just spectacular!”

Two camp sessions will be offered: June 2-27 and July 7-25. The camp day is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended care available beginning at 7 a.m. and after care through 6 p.m. Cost is $120 per week, plus a $30 registration fee. For more information, call Scott Walker at 347-4409 or email s.walker@icschargers.org.

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