MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer camps can be a lot of fun for kids, but not everyone has a chance to go.

Some parents don’t have the means to take their kids to camp, or simply can’t afford it. But a program in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center is bringing summer camp to kids for free.

“The young people really do help make the program what it is,” said Laura Stigen, “Rec On The Go” coordinator.

During an era where parents are worried that video games are taking over, a new kind of camp has kids begging to be outside.

“I just love the people, the games, everything about it,” said 14-year-old Travis Nundahl.

“When you have this program there are so many kids around to play with,” said 11-year-old Eiza Ojo.

“Rec On The Go” and it has kids on the move. Because of transportation or costs, about 60% of these kids haven’t been able to go to summer camp, so this camp comes to them.

“A lot of times in the apartment communities we find a lot of people who don’t get out of the house very much,” said Stigen.

Thanks to a Hennepin Youth Sports Grant and a Superbowl Legacy Grant, “Rec On The Go” visits 12 locations during the summer. The grants allowed them to buy busses, and provide free meals.

For every camp, the bus arrives packed with about 200 lunches, basketballs, soccer balls, and all the ingredients for an active day.”

There’s dodgeball, capture the flag, bean bags, arts and crafts and reading is a big part of this too.

“Unless I see it physically and it was near me at the time, I wouldn’t think about going at all,” said Roy Ontay Malone.

Roy was a camper who became a counselor.

A few years ago he’d never been to something like this before until his mom got him involved. He loved “Rec On The Go” so much that when he became too old, he found a new way to stay involved.

“The moment we hop off that bus they come running oh, they’re here! They’re here! That just brightens my day. That’s what starts my morning off,” said Roy. “I just love working with the kids, man. I love doing things they do. I love being a kid as an adult.”

And it’s opening kids’ eyes to a new world in their own backyard.

“I’ve made so many friends here. Especially in the park by my neighborhood. I knew no one. And now I have so many friends that I love to hang out with like every day,” said Travis.

About 1,200 kids ages 5 to 18 have participated in “Rec On The Go” this summer.

To learn more click here.

John Lauritsen

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