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Joshua House Juniors offering ‘specific interest camps’ for kids this summer

Joshua House and the J-House Juniors program will be filling another void in the Tyrone community for the third consecutive year for children from first through sixth grade and their families.
Juniors Director Tommie Murray is excited to be offering “specific interest camps” geared towards providing an opportunity for kids to experience the fruits of summer, in a safe and positive atmosphere.
In the past, Joshua House Juniors has offered an effective day camp for kids, but this year there will be a number of activities for interested kids to lay down their Nintendo Wii paddles and get outdoors.
The Juniors program will be holding a soccer camp, basketball clinic, an outdoors adventure camp, and a dance theatre camp. There will also be Family Fun Nights for kids and their parents to get together and enjoy events such as a Scavenger Hunt, Frisbee Golf, and Family Olympics.
“There was a lot of parents and families who were participating in our programs last year for only a couple of days,” said Murray. “They really didn’t need a whole day camp setting, so I wanted to provide another opportunity in the community.”
Murray, who is also a kindergarten teacher at Myers Elementary in Bellwood, wanted to have programs spread throughout the summer so kids could participate in the programs without interfering with family vacations and other activities.
Being a former high school soccer and basketball player in Pittsburgh, Murray is looking forward to the sport camps offered this summer. She also thinks the outdoor adventure camps will be a hit among the kids.
“This generation a lot of things are provided for them in the house like video games,” said Murray. “Kids are inside instead of outside enjoying the summer, which is what the summer’s for – being outside, being a kid, and having fun.”
The outdoor adventure camps will include activities such as hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing. It offers new experiences that kids may never have the opportunity to enjoy. It also provides a chance for the kids to get out of the community and see new places.
“We’ll be going on field trips in Huntingdon and State College, and the areas around our town,” stated Murray. “It’s a chance to spread their experiences beyond the streets of Tyrone, while incorporating the great adventures that are in our town too.”
The Juniors program comes at an affordable cost for families also. The camps run for five days, ranging from $20 to $75. The children are separated by age groups, with first through third graders being together and fourth through sixth graders together.
“Parents needed something that was affordable and something that was fun,” said Murray. “It’s something they can send their child to for a shorter period of time, so kids can be outside, active, and not bored at home.”
One of the main reasons Murray moved to Tyrone two years ago was to help make a difference here in the community. She didn’t want to just help kids, but families also. The idea of having Family Fun Nights grew from her ambition.
“As much as I pour into reaching kids, it’s really the family unit that’s going to need to change for a town to change,” noted Murray. “The parents are going to have to jump on board, and I wanted something where the parents and kids could come and have a fun time together.”
She added, “They don’t have to worry about cleaning up or setting up, or who is in charge of what. They can just come and enjoy each other, and build memories with each other that are positive.”
That’s what Joshua House and its Juniors program is all about. It’s a Christian-based facility, but when a child goes to soccer camp, basketball camp, or any summer camp, the J-House staff will be teaching the kids the skills of that specific camp, but underlying that will be the foundations of the Christian faith.
“Those foundations are good sportsmanship and honesty,” said Murray. “Those are the things parents will want from their children, whether they’re religious or not.”
She continued, “We’re not promoting Christian principles, we’re not preaching or teaching it – we show our faith by our deeds and our actions, and we let who we are come through in our camps, instead of forcing it.”
“We’re just setting an example of who you can be and what life can be like with those certain foundations in your life,” said Murray.
To learn more about the Joshua House Junior’s summer camps, events, camp dates and times, and pricing, visit www.joshuahousetyrone.org, or call 684-2032. Emails may be sent to jhousejuniors@joshuahousetyrone.org.
There will be an Open House at J-House on Saturday, May 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.