The Columbia County Exchange Club created a vacuum for children's activities during Masters Week when they announced last year it would no longer hold its spring fair.
But for parents looking to entertain their children, who have the week off from school, other area groups are stepping up to fill the gap with camps and activities.
Near Columbia County's border in west Augusta, the Family Y plays host to a Masters camp and several smaller day camps all this week.
The Masters Camp, for ages 5-12, will be April 5-9 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Offerings include a morning devotional, group games, field trips, swimming, crafts and lunch.
Day camps include a kids' camp, teen camp, spring training camp, gymnastics camp and Masters sports camp.
Most of the camps take place at the Wilson Branch, 3570 Wheeler Road, Augusta. The gymnastics camp will be at the Wheeler Gymnastics Center, 3532 Wheeler Road, and the Masters sports camp is at the Southside Branch, 2340 Milledgeville Road.
Avery Villines, director of the Marshall Branch, Columbia County's Family Y, said her program is too new to offer Masters Week activities.
"We'll definitely be having a summer camp out here, with the help of Wesley United Methodist Church, but it was too soon for us to organize a Masters camp," she said. "It is something we plan to do in the future once we get on our feet."
The deadline to register for Family Y camps is April 5. For more information, call the Marshall Branch at 364-3269.
The Martinez Bible Chapel, 643 Furys Ferry Road, will hold a Masters camp Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for ages 6-12. The camp includes Bible lessons, crafts, games and prizes. For more information, call 278-1084.
For the more artistically inclined, Artsy Me Ceramic and Art Studio, 145 Davis Road, will hold a camp Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The camp, for ages 5 and up, costs $10 each day. The fee includes painting supplies, glazing, firing, studio time and lunch. Ceramic sculptures for painting are extra and cost $8-$12. Activities include pottery painting and games like art bingo.
"Kids love to be artistic and be creative," Artsy Me Owner Cricket Willis said. "With this pottery, once it's glazed and fired it looks professional, no matter if a 1 year old painted it. Kids love to paint and see the outcome."
Although it's not a camp, the Mistletoe State Park Junior Ranger program will help many children better appreciate camping.
"We have a junior ranger program, the state park system that is, where we give kids a book listing all kinds of activities," Mistletoe Park Manager Bill Tinley said. "They do these activities, and when they get so many things done, they get a junior ranger patch."
Held Tuesday through Thursday at Mistletoe, park officials will help pre-teens and teens complete activities required to get their patch. Prospective junior rangers will study wildlife and lake ecology, identify plants and trees, identify birds, build birdhouses, take nature hikes, build a kite and more.
Hours for the program are 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day. For more information and reservations, call 541-0321.
All of Columbia County's libraries will host programs aimed at children during Masters Week.
Gibbs Library, 326 N. Belair Road in Evans, will have storytime events on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"Normally, I do storytime for pre-school kids, but for Masters Week I'm trying to do something for all age groups," Gibbs Library Children's Specialist Pam Link said.
Storytime and crafts for children ages 6 and up will be Monday at 10:15 and 11 a.m.
A storytime for 2-year-olds will be Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. Also on Wednesday, another story will be read at 11 a.m. for ages 3-5.
A lap-sit story program for infants under 2 and their older siblings will be held on Thursday at 10:15 and 11 a.m.
Link has yet to determine what stories she will read, but she said each will have a spring theme.
An Easter-themed storytime for all ages will be held at the Euchee Creek Library, 5907 Euchee Creek Drive, Grovetown, on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The Harlem Library's storytimes are 10:30 a.m. for younger children and 2:30 p.m. for ages 7 and up.
Beyond storytelling, the library at 375 N. Louisville Street, Harlem, will play host to several events on Masters Week.
An ice-cream party will be Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. A Movie Day featuring Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lizzie McGuire Movie, will be shown Thursday from 1 to 6 p.m. On Friday, the library plays host to an Easter egg hunt at 2:30 p.m. Each event is for all ages.
Reservations are required for the ice-cream party and can be made by calling 556-9795.
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