A lineup full of fun awaits Camp Villagers

Olivia DiCorpo, 10, reacts as her grandfather, Ted DiCorpo, of the Village Valle Verde, places a tennis ball on top of her newspaper tower during Camp Villages’ Engineering Design Challenge.

Corn crafts and leaf portraits usher in the holidays Tuesday at November’s Camp Villages Fall Harvest. The event is next in a lineup of the program’s monthly activities geared toward visiting grandchildren. Camp Villages provides intergenerational fun for Villagers and their families. The program, sponsored by The Villages Recreation and Parks Department, hosts about 4,000 children, ranging in age from 3 to 16, each summer, said Lisa Parkyn, lifestyle events manager and Camp Villages coordinator for the recreation department. Monthly events were added to the lineup in recent years, and programs catered to the holidays always draw a crowd.

“Holidays are a great time for families to visit the community,” Parkyn said. “These activities are a great way to provide additional opportunities to our residents to spend some fun-filled quality time.”

At the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Fall Harvest events Tuesday at Truman Recreation Center, a corn craft headlines the activities, during which kids and their grandparents make corn out of beads and pipe cleaners. It also includes hands-on and observational critical-thinking stations, putting the grandkid’s brains to the test, said Daria Lotocky, recreation area supervisor at Allamanda and Hibiscus recreation centers.

The Fall Harvest event will be backdropped with music and embrace creative freedom for grandparents and grandchildren to work on their holiday creations.

“The fun thing about these activities is that it’ll put the whole family into the Thanksgiving and autumn mood and will be lots of fun,” Lotocky said.

Following the Thanksgiving-themed event is Camp Villages Holiday Weeks in December, and the recreation department has more than doubled the amount of events for this year.

The 15 holiday events include gingerbread house decorating, painting step by step and a craft that kids will be able to give back to a local animal shelter.

“There might even be a surprise visit from the Grinch at one of the events,” Lotocky said.

Following Holiday Weeks, is Nature Exploration in January; it’s an outdoor nature walk to spot animals that call the Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve home.

February offers “Are You Smarter than Your Grandparent?”

“It will be a contest activity between the grandchildren and grandparents,” said Jacquelyn Prim, recreation supervisor of lifestyle events. “It is a great way for them to interact and challenge their general knowledge.”

In March, grandparents and grandchildren tackle science and engineering activities as a team in STEM Challenge.

And April’s Easter Week lineup still is being formed but will likely feature many of last year’s events, such as decorating a Peep house, having ice cream with the Easter bunny and a golf cart scavenger hunt. Like last year, there will be special Easter activities just for the Buckaroos, ages 3-6, and Just for Teens, ages 13-16, Lotocky said.

The last event before the 20th year of the Camp Villages summer program begins in June is Bubbles, Bubbles & More Bubbles in May. Participants will use homemade bubbles to perform experiments.

Ideas for programming spring from input from residents and resident lifestyle groups, which creates opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to bond, Prim said.

“It is a great way to create lasting memories between grandparents and grandchildren who visit The Villages during all different times of the year,” she said.

For more information or to sign up for activities, visit districtgov.org.

Staff writer Julie Butterfield can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5254, or julie.butterfield@thevillagesmedia.com.