Children had fun and gained a better understanding of what it means to be a superhero as part of Camp Tellico.
The June 24-28 offering is one of three Camp Tellicos held over summer break for children ages 7-11.
“We do have a lot of repeat children because they can come between the ages of 7 and 11,” Larissa Lownsdale, Tellico Village Property Owners Association activities coordinator and camp co-director, said. “So they will start when they are 7 and come every year and with them doing a different theme it keeps it interesting. We do have it on rotation so it also makes it a little bit easier for us for the main props and the back drops. We change up the art every time we do the themes, but some of the basic backdrops are the same.”
This year’s theme was superheroes, which placed an emphasis on both fictional and real superheroes such as first responders. Other themes are pirates, medieval, wild west and “Where in the World is Camp Tellico,” a play on the old show, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Themes offer variety, Lownsdale said.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch — I think there’s a lot that they’re exposed to in media that kind of relates police and fire and that sort of thing as real life superheroes,” Jessica Antrim, POA assistant recreation manager and camp co-director, said. “So it seems to be a real natural part of it for them, and a lot of kids it gives them something to talk about. They can relate to it a lot more than the fictional superheroes because a lot of the kids have family who are military or family who are in police or fire. I don’t know, they’re proud to talk about that.”
Throughout the week children spoke with emergency responders and a representative from Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. One day they met with a Monroe County Ambulance Service paramedic, while another they spoke with deputies from the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit.
Representatives from Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department showed children around a fire truck, medical response truck and motor vehicle crash response truck. Hopes were to get them familiar with firefighters in case of emergency, Wayne Tinder, TVVFD firefighter, said.
“We don’t want children to be afraid of this kind of stuff,” Bill Bruns, TVVFD firefighter, said. “... For any, whether it’s police or fire or medical people, it’s important that children understand that guys in uniform that drive a big, flashy truck it’s good, it’s a good thing to call 911, that they shouldn’t have any fear of these people in this equipment.”
Children also made crafts, played pickleball and tennis, swam and tried “superhero yoga.”
“One of our fitness instructors did a kids yoga,” Antrim said. “So they focused on poses that were like Superman, that would kind of play into it, but she always integrated it into a story. Like she would tell them a story and their emotions they would do would be yoga poses that went along with the story she was telling.”
Camp Tellico has been a staple in the Village for more than two decades, Lownsdale said.
“That is the majority — we have grandchildren and we do have children that live here,” she said. “In fact, this year we do have one that one of our campers, her mother came to camp in 2004. So she is now we’ve got a second generation coming to camp. The kids enjoy coming to it. They make plans throughout the year to come with their friends that they met at camp the year before. ... That was really neat. This is the first time that’s happened, so it was really neat to see that we have a parent now bringing her child to camp, and she was excited to come and see everything.”
Of the two weeks remaining, July 22-26 still has spots open. Lownsdale asks registration be completed by July 15.
For more information, call Chota Recreation Center at 865-458-6779.
“We plan to have maximum numbers every week,” Lownsdale said.