Local nonprofits host event for kids

Michael Caldera runs under a colorful parachute Thursday. The playtime activity was part of the fun at K’Star’s free day camp, hosted at Doyle School Community Center this week.

 

What do K’Star and the Doyle School Community Center have in common?

They’re two of Kerrville’s best-kept secrets, both offering an array of services to the community that the public may not know about, according to K’Star executive director Melody Martin Lowman. 

This week, K’Star offered a children’s camp for all ages, free and open to the public, hosted at the Doyle School Community Center. The center offered the use of its facility at no cost to K’Star or to campers.

The Doyle School Community Center also offers free after-school programming. More information on the Doyle School Community Center is available by calling 830-257-4446.

K’Star — both an emergency shelter for youth in crisis situations and a community counseling service that offers free counseling to both children and families — has begun expanding its summer programming to offer more services year-round to the community, said Lowman.

“I have an amazing staff, including Victoria Morris, who did most of the planning for this camp,” Lowman added.

“Ordinarily, during the school year, we go into the schools to see the kids for counseling,” said Morris, a K’Star family specialist. But, she noted, during the summer, opportunities to see the kids are more scarce.

The free K’Star camp, however, is open not only to students who come to K’Star for counseling but to all students in the area. There is no income requirement. 

It was held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this week, said Morris, and included free lunch. 

She is planning a second session for later this summer. Although dates are not yet firm, she hopes it will occur in July. 

“We went to the splash pad Wednesday and had a picnic and made sandwiches, and we ate lunch under the pavilion,” Morris said. “The kids had a blast with that.”

She said the campers also did crafts this week — including tie-dying T-shirts — and watched movies, did teamwork-building activities such as relays, and held a lot of dance parties. 

Because K’Star is a nonprofit with limited funding, local businesses such as H-E-B and Airtech A/C and Heating donated lunch for the campers.

On Thursday, Lois Shaw, Doyle School Community Center facility administrator, donated popcorn chicken for lunch, said Morris. 

Michael Caldera, 9, said he really enjoyed going to the splash pad on Wednesday and playing with the parachute under the pavilion on Thursday.

“You have to pick up the edges to make the parachute go down faster,” he said, excitement in his voice.

Caldera also said he liked playing freeze dance, and he would definitely recommend the camp to other kids. 

Ben Whellock, 8, said the parachute also was his favorite.

“We also played sharks and minnows with three sharks,” he said with a grin.

Whellock said he made a lot of new friends.

“It took me some struggling, but I did it,” he said. 

Other K’Star family specialists and volunteers also helped out, including Don Edgington and Bri Imholte.

For more information on K’Star and its services, or to find out more about future summer camp sessions, call K’Star’s main number at 830-858-5404 and ask for Victoria Morris.

“The best part is seeing students running around and having so much fun,” Morris said.

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