If you ask adults to reminisce about their youth, many will give memories of their experience at summer camp. Summer camps can be some of the best times of a child’s life. They provide opportunities for youth to be creative and help identify what makes them happy.
Camps connect students from different areas, leading the way to everlasting friendships.
In 2016, Grand Vue Park began to foster these wonderful experiences to young guests and community members.
Prior to the summer of 2016, Grand Vue Park leadership reached out to Marshall County School District staff to discuss the direction of the camps. The park and the school staff agreed on five key elements for the program.
- First, in order to accommodate a variety of family situations, before- and after-care services were to be offered. Understanding that the community has non-traditional working hours, the team wanted to be as flexible as possible to accommodate as many as possible!
- Next, it was decided that each week the camp would have a different theme. Having themes increases creativity and gives youth a guide for what is to come.
- Third, all agreed that leadership should be included. Each camper will be introduced to leadership skills based on recognized practices of helping children achieve their personal level of confidence.
- Fourth, STEM programming will be applied as much as possible. With the ever-growing trends in technology, Grand Vue Park and the school district want campers to stay ahead of the game.
- Fifth, the camps will be all inclusive and affordable. The registration fee for camp is $89 a week, and there is no extra cost to swim, play miniature golf or use any park amenity. There are also discounts for multiple family members and multiple week registration. The registration fee has not increased since the camp’s existence.
The relationship with the Marshall County School District has become very strong. Grand Vue Park is one of the school district’s food program locations. The school district provides breakfast and lunch to any camper who wants to participate. This service has made a difference in the camps and ensures students receive a well-rounded breakfast and lunch.
Educators also have become involved in the camp — the lead instructors are certified teachers. As for the instructor’s assistants, they are all in school working toward an education degree. The school district has made advertising seamless. Grand Vue Park has approved literature to be distributed to each camp-aged student in the county. Grand Vue Park values the relationship with the Marshall County School District and recognizes the positive impact it is making on the community.
Another supporter of the camps is Chevron.
Chevron stands by its mission: “Our company is built on our values, which distinguish us and guide our actions. We conduct our business in a socially responsible and ethical manner. We respect the law, support universal human rights, protect the environment and benefit the communities where we work.”
Chevron has donated significant funds to Grand Adventure Leadership Camps over the past three years. The funds have allowed Grand Vue Park to keep registration affordable and to purchase technology.
The Chevron team of employees has also been involved in the camp. During the campers’ lunchtime, Chevron employees talk with students about their position with the company and why they made the choice for their career. This gives Grand Adventure Leadership campers awareness about different vocations and an understanding of the diverse options that are available.
Other supporters who have impacted the camp are Robert and Libby Strong with the Smart Center/Smart Centre Market in Wheeling. Robert and Libby have been friends of the park for years and were overjoyed when they were invited to share their scientific knowledge with the campers.
Nila Chaddock, with The Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, introduces the campers to the history of Marshall County as she invites the campers to tour the farmhouse.
The Grand Vue Park Foundation is another supporter of the camp. The foundation gives funds that are geared toward scholarships for underprivileged youth.
These entities increased the caliber of content, choice and materials needed to make each year the best it can be.
As mentioned, Grand Adventure Leadership Camps are all about experiences. One of the most anticipated is the field trip to the Marshall County Fair. Half of the campers’ day is spent attending educational presentations and the other half is spent enjoying rides and games. Another experience funded by Chevron that wowed campers was the Grand Slam Science Program from the Carnegie Science Center. This program dove into the great sport of baseball and the science behind it.
Other outstanding experiences are the visits from the WVU Extension Office. Students are amazed by the environmental programs that consist of making their own rocket, vision boards and “squishy circuits.”
Another extraordinary experience for campers is a trip to the Aerial Adventure Park at Grand Vue Park. The campers love meeting the guides and experiencing life in the air.
The programs mentioned are just a small example of what campers are exposed to. Between disc golfing, getting to know each other on the Teambuilding-Building Challenge Course and splashing in the pool, the campers have non-stop days of growing.
The GALC development team is finalizing the last details for the 2019 summer season. New camp programming added this summer season are mini camps for youth 4 years of age — details are coming soon.
Registration for Grand Adventure Leadership Camps will open March 11, online and in person at the GVP Main Office, 250 Train Drive, Moundsville, W.Va.
If you or your organization would like to be involved in funding or volunteering, contact Ben Bolock at email@example.com.
2019 Grand Adventure Leadership Camps
- June 10-14: Kind Kids
- June 17-21: History Mysteries
- June 24-28: Build It, Create It, Move It
- July 1-5: Stars and Stripes (No camp, Fourth of July)
- July 8-12: Arts Rocks!
- July 15-19: Kid Business
- July 22-26: It Takes a Village!
- July 29-Aug. 2: Mad Scientist
• Ben Bolock is the assistant general manager at Grand Vue Park. Ben was born and raised in the Ohio Valley in historic Mt. Pleasant, Ohio. He graduated from Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in recreation leadership and minors in coaching and strength conditioning. Prior to the position at Grand Vue Park, Ben lived in Unalaska, Alaska, for six years working for the municipality as recreation manager. His passions include long-distance running, mentoring youth through Wheeling Youth Services Program, and buying and selling antiques. Ben resides in Woodsdale with his fiancé Ali Bonomo who owns her own photography business.