PHOTOS: Cold weather camping: Marco Y’s ’Blizzard Beach Camp’ lives up to its name

The name turned out to be appropriate.

The Greater Marco Family YMCA holiday “camp” for kids was called “Blizzard Beach,” and Monday’s weather made the blizzard part of the name feel right at home. The camp was structured so that parents can drop their children off whenever they choose.

On Monday, approximately two dozen campers in the program’s age range from kindergarten through fifth grade took part, under the supervision of Laura Hernandez, assisted by Kenny Alvarado.

Shortly after noon, the kids competed in a boogie board race, where they divided into two teams and ran a relay, surfing themselves over the basketball court on their tummies, rolling along on a miniature surfboard on a wheeled dolly.

“We’re going inside next, to do an art activity,” said Hernandez, “so they don’t freeze. We do one outdoor activity, and then an indoor activity.” According to the plan, the camp did actually go to the beach, but Monday was not the day for it.

Although Hernandez has no kids of her own, keeping more than 20 rambunctious pre-teens entertained, safe and reasonably well-behaved seemed to present no problem. She never lost her smile, and when she wanted to get the campers’ attention, she would call out “if you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, put your hands on your head,” or any of a number of variations on the theme.

“I’ve been doing this for four years,” she said. “These kids are no problem.”

The counselors encouraged the children to create, as they tried pointillist painting using Q-Tips as brushes.

“That’s awesome, buddy,” said Alvarado, looking at one painting. “What is it?”

Additional activities included hopscotch, creating an aquarium, gymnastics, volleyball and a beach-themed version of the telephone game. Finally, said Hernandez, “everyone’s asking for basketball, so that’s what we’re doing next.”

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