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Heat doesn’t hamper campers

Logan Schamdelmeier, 10, of Butler, plays gaga ball at Camp Alameda on Wednesday. The camp is open to children age 5 and older Monday through Friday, with a $130 fee per week. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle
Camp Alameda full of fun

BUTLER TWP — The 80- to 90-degree summer days are not putting a damper on campers at Camp Alameda. All they needed Wednesday was a hose and a slip-and-slide to keep happy throughout their seven hours of camp activity.

About 80 to 100 children are signed up to participate in the Butler County Parks and Recreation camp each week, according to program manager Frank Masi, and several more are on the waitlist because of the camp’s popularity.

Masi attributes the popularity of the weekly camp series to its ever-changing themes, which give campers new forms of activity each week. The theme of the camp this week is superheroes and villains. Masi said he thinks the themes contribute to the camp’s popularity.

“It’s our third week of 11 (weeks),” Masi said. “Our theme weeks and our water park, a lot of kids sign up for that.”

The camp has programs for children ages 5 to 8 and ages 9 to 12, and costs $130 per week. Masi said many children signed up for several weeks of the camp, and many come back year after year.

“We have really good retention,” Masi said.

The retention of the park applies to its staff as well. This is the fourth season Nicole Laborie, of Butler, has worked at Camp Alameda. She is its head counselor.

Laborie helps organize camp activities, which include sports and games, but many campers start games on their own. She said she saves crafts for rainy days, because the campers have their own favorite activities they ask to do.

Alameda Park recently had a new basketball court installed, and a pit for gaga ball, which Masi said have been popular with campers.

However, the campers have some favorite games in the theme weeks.

“The older kids really like princesses and fairies, which is like capture the flag,” Laborie said. “They have a lot of fun here.”

Laborie enjoys camp activity at least as much as the children. She said she is an early childhood and special education major at Slippery Rock University, so being a camp counselor is like a preview of her future career aspirations.

Being a counselor is already fulfilling one of Laborie’s childhood goals, she said.

“I went to camp here for six summers,” Laborie said. “My mom told me one day I came home and said I wanted to be a camp counselor.”

For more information on Camp Alameda or to sign up a child up for its waitlist, visit the county parks and recreation’s website at

Beau Bossinger, 11, right, and her ball partner, Kian Walsh, 11, both of Butler, play some one-on-one hoops at Camp Alameda on Wednesday. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle
Aviery Spears, 7, of Evans City, slips and slides her way through the day camp at Camp Alameda on Wednesday. Camp sessions are one week each, and campers are divided into age-appropriate activities throughout the day. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle