Mason Whiteside is spending her summer vacation doing some of her favorite things.
The 11-year-old is part of Fit Summer Camp at Florida Keys Community College, which offers physical and educational activities during summer break.
"I love to swim and it's good exercise," she said. "My second favorite thing at the camp is tennis; I look forward to it every summer."
Fit Camp runs through Aug. 15 at FKCC, 5901 College Road. It keeps kids active and socializing while school is out. It is also offering swimming lessons.
The college also runs a Leadership Camp for kids ages 11-14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,Thursday through Aug. 5. This camp encompasses the American Red Cross Junior Lifeguard Program that includes swimming, rescue skills, CPR, First Aid and snorkeling skills. Cost is $225 per session with a limit of 10 campers per session.
Swim Camp is available Aug. 8-12 for kids ages 9 and up. Cost is $100 per week with a limit of 15 campers who must be able to swim front crawl and back crawl 100 yards each. Activities include stretches and dry land training, watching technique videos and improving stroke performance.
Chase Fariss, 14, is excited about learning life saving skills during his summer camp experience.
"Recently much of my extended family has had children and I feel confident being left alone with them if something happened," said Fariss.
The camp also lays the groundwork for 11-14-year-olds to become certified lifeguards once they turn 15 and can complete the class.
Program Coordinator Lori Bosco said numerous camp members go on to get their certifications and some end up working at the FKCC pool as lifeguards.
At Fit Camp, for children 7-11, a series of games and activities inside the pool and out, keeps the kids challenged and busy.
Jake Perez, 11, says he loves the diving and has gotten pretty good at it.
"I also like the Wii game and Punch Out, where we box each other on the television screen," he said. "One day I want to be a professional boxer."
When asked if they are having fun, most of the Fit Campers agreed, they loved the iceberg -- a giant inflatable raft that's put into the pool on Fridays -- the best.
Bosco started the program 14 years ago to give her son something to do and said the camp is ideal because parents can drop the children off and feel comfortable leaving them in the safe and well-supervised environment.
For more information on the camps at FKCC , call 305-809-3562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Press is an intern with The Citizen and a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.