The program was developed in 2014 to answer a need in the community for working parents looking for a fun and safe environment for their school-aged children while school is out.
The Summer Camp program starts in June and runs weekdays from 7:30am to 5:30pm for 12 weeks. The camp program follows a Montessori-style format that caters to each child’s unique interests and abilities. While there is plenty of roller skating over the summer, kids may go through some days without even putting a pair of skates on. The campers enjoy a large variety of fun activities like the Creative Room (arts & crafts), the Game Room, a bounce house, ball sports, scooters, face painting, dance instruction, roller skating instruction. One of the most popular activities is the baking class, where supervised campers will make and decorate cookies, cinnamon rolls or cupcakes in the morning and then enjoy them for snack in the afternoon. The camp also offers weekly field trips to local parks and attractions, as well as “staycations” where fun activities are brought into the center.
Besides providing a fun environment and encouraging a generous spirit, Rollin’ 253 encourages children to build relationships with other kids from different ages, lifestyles, ethnicities, education, economics, etc. It has been amazing to watch friendships grow over the last three years as campers return summer after summer.
One exciting feature that makes its return is the “Doing Good” program. This program was implemented in the blazing hot summer of 2015, when the Tacoma Rescue Mission asked the Summer Camp kids and staff to help donate dozens of cases of fresh bottled water for homeless Tacoma residents. Rollin’ 253 and their parent company Bodine Enterprises answered that call and purchased two pallets of water. The campers, alongside the folks from the Rescue Mission, handed out the bottles to those in need.
One unexpected result of that small volunteer effort was that campers and their parents asked the center when they could participate in the next Doing Good project. In 2016, Rollin’ 253 is partnering with the Emergency Food Network and the Northwest Furniture Bank to help expose the campers to the truly awesome feeling of giving back to the community.
First, the kids and staff will take a special field trip to the Emergency Food Network’s Mother Earth Farm and will help harvest food that will be distributed to directly to local food banks.
Secondly, the Northwest Furniture Bank is making several trips to Rollin’ 253 throughout the Summer to bring in simple furniture-building projects for the campers to complete in small teams. This furniture will then be given to families in need that might not otherwise have decent furniture for their homes.