ALONG THE COAST CAMP SUMMER // REGISTRATION OPENS SPRING 2021
Dates: Monday-Friday throughout summer (we’ll post new weeks on the Wednesday prior to the coming session)
Time: 9:00am-1:00pm (please pick-up at the daily destination between noon and 1:00pm)
Location: See daily schedule
Ages: 6-10 years old
This summer obviously presents new challenges for parents and kids alike. A spring semester locked inside likely has everyone looking for a breath of fresh air — and a bit of distance. So in consideration of this — and coupled with new safety precautions and social distancing measures — we are going to test the waters with a new take on our most popular camp format, Along the COAST Camp.
For those unfamiliar with this camp program, Along the COAST is a five day trek around Old Town complete with nature lessons, history, practical skills, games, and plenty of time along the shores and the beaches skirting our island.
The program and route will more or less stay the same as in years past, however to stay on the safe side we will be adding the following safety precautions as recommended by the CDC:
- Campers will wear masks when not in the water — buffs will probably work best.
- Each camper will have their own hand sanitizer bottle and we’ll do regularly scheduled hand washing breaks.
- Campers will pack their own snacks and water bottles.
- To manage social distancing during the walks, campers will hold onto a rope with knots every six feet. In fact, our first lesson will be to learn the knots and make the rope!
- We’ll have a fully-stocked first aid kit and extra rubber gloves in the event of cuts, scrapes, etc.
- No non-Monroe County children will be allowed to attend. Rates here have been reasonably low, so we don’t want to mix with outsiders at the moment.
- Finally, we will be limiting the group to 10 campers — plus one counselor (Billy — owner at COAST) and one junior counselor.
If things go well and the kids are happy, we’ll add additional sessions throughout the summer. But for now, here is what the first week’s day-to-day schedule will look like…
Day 1: Starting at the End… of the Road (drop at Southernmost Beach and pick up at Truman Waterfront Park) — Starting at the Southernmost Beach Pier we’ll get everyone comfortable with the rules and have a lesson on the beach followed by swimming and an overview of the day’s trek and what to look forward to over the next five days. We’ll then weave through the southernmost neighborhood pointing out historic landmarks, wildlife, notable trees and flowers and stop at the COAST shop to have a snack, wash hands and have a bathroom break. From there, we will move slowly through Bahama Village pointing out more landmarks while making our way to Truman Waterfront Park where we’ll explore the grounds and play socially distant games — think Simon Says, paper airplane contests, tag with pool noodles and the like. Parents can pick up in the main parking lot between noon and 1:00pm.
Day 2: Day at the Beach (drop and pick up at Truman Waterfront Park) — We’ll start the day with a quick meeting and then a trek into Fort Zachary Taylor State Park where we’ll set up camp and, together with the kids, plan our expeditions for the day. From there, we’ll trek to and discover the “Secret Beach”, take a dip in the water, beachcomb, and have a lesson in the local marine life and natural environment. Next we’ll move to the old Fort for more socially distant games and history lessons. We’ll end the day with a journey back to the Truman Waterfront Park for a socially distant scavenger hunt!
Day 3: Old Town Stroll (drop at Truman Waterfront and pick up at Bill Butler Park) — We’ll start with a bit of navigation and course plotting so the kids know where we are headed and how to read a map. From there, it’s a leisurely stroll through the Truman Annex and an exit onto Front Street. We’ll weave down to Mallory Square for a snack and continue down towards the harbor for a dip in the water at Simonton Street Beach. From there, it’s a harbor walk at the Key West Bight with history lessons and some fish feeding. Finally, it’s onwards through the heart of Old Town to Bill Butler Park for tree and fruit identification and maybe some relay races to end the day?
Day 4: Cemetery to Cemetery (drop at Bill Butler Park and pick up at Higgs Beach) — The day starts with a cemetery walk and iguana spotting! From there, we’ll walk through the back streets of the Meadows for plant and fruit identification. Then it’s more of our new favorite games at Bayview Park, a snack and then a walk to Rest Beach and White Street Pier for beachcombing, wildlife spotting and, of course, swimming! Pick up at Higgs Beach by the African Cemetery adjacent to West Martello Gardens.
Day 5: Beach Combing (drop at Higgs Beach and pick up at Southernmost Beach) — We’ll walk the shores of Rest Beach for shell collecting and wildlife spotting — we’ve seen everything from queen conchs to ospreys catching fish. From there, we’ll take a dip at the White Street Pier followed by a snack and lesson at Higgs Beach. Then it’s a walk through the back streets of the Casa Marina neighborhood for stories, tree identifications, and history before we wind up at Southernmost Beach for a cool down in the water where the trek comes full circle!
The kids will feel a huge sense of accomplishment both in the lessons they’ve learned but also in completing the entire “route” while simultaneously learning the theory that “the journey is the destination”. What’s more, they’ll be able to tour you around town in the future!