LAURINBURG — There is nothing to do this summer in Scotland County.
With school out for the first time this week, parents may find this complaint all too familiar. But could it be that some just don’t know where to look?
The Laurinburg Exchange plans to begin a on-going series on the activities offered locally — along with ideas from officials and regular folks on how we can improve those opportunities in Scotland County.
We know that there are multiple camps, including numerous Vacation Bible Schools, being held during the day for those who want to stay active, spend time with their peers and maybe even learn a little something along the way. Some of the programs and camps are free, but there are a few that will require you to open your wallet to participate.
For the athletes, St. Andrews is offering camps throughout the summer for different sports.
The Arts Council of Scotland County Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast is also holding a series of summer camps for young people. The camp begin June 27 and run through August. You can register by calling 910-277-3599 or by downloading a registration form at www.storyartscenter.org.
The county offers a number of free recreational activities. For example, the hard courts at Scotland Tennis Center on Atkinson Street are open to the public at no charge. There are also courts in Wagram at Murray Park and Laurel Hill at the Laurel Hill Community Center. There is also no cost to take part on the county’s 18-hole disc golf golf course with the first tee behind Scotland Place. The course is open from sunrise to sunset.
The Scotland County Memorial Library will host “Community Day at the Library” today from 1 to 3 p.m. The event began three years ago as a way to help students out for the summer find things to do.
Organizations, clubs and camps from all over the county will talk about summer programs for children while different county and city departments share safety tips and fun activities.
There will be a bee exhibit where students can look for a queen bee. If it is not too hot Smokey the Bear will make an appearance. Pizza Inn’s mascot Jo Jo will also be there. Scotland County Parks and Recreation will have corn hole boards.
“I want them to know they have options. I want them to get excited, get motivated and get outside and learn something,” said Denise Dunn, youth services librarian. “There are all kinds of things to get interested in.”
Here is a rundown of some other events planned for this summer:
— For those ready to rock, the Smithfield Foods Laurinburg After Five concert series continues on Thursday with the band Hip Pocket. Gates open at 5 p.m. and admission is $2. You can prepare for this evening of fun by checking the Hip Pocket Facebook page and website. The event will be held at the James L. Morgan Recreation Complex on Turnpike Road.
— The Scotland County Summer Feeding Program began on Monday and ends on Aug. 19 depending on location. Sites are located at some local churches as well as schools in the district. A mobile feeding unit will also rotate locations throughout the summer. People can view site locations by going to www.usda.gov and putting in your zip code.
— Those looking for food and thought can take part in the free Summer Read, Summer Feed project sponsored by the Scotland County Literacy Council. The council is partnering with the Restoring Hope Summer Feed Program as well as the Scotland County Memorial Library. For those 3 to 5, the program will run June 21-23 and June 28-30; for those 6 to 8 the program will run July 12-14 and July 19-21; and fro those 9 to 12, the program will be held Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 16-18.
Participants are asked to register no later than the Friday before each session begins.
— The library is also hosting its own summer reading program on June 22. It ends on July 27. The library series includes magic show, storytellers, raptors , a travelling theater group, science demonstrations and snakes handlers.
“Statistics have shown students who take part in their local library’s summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills,” Library Director Leon L. Gyles said. “In fact, children who don’t read over the summer experience summer learning loss. Children don’t just feel like they’ve forgotten some of what they’ve learned — they actually do forget it.”
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023. Maria Grandy contributed to this report.