One of North Augusta's most popular summer options drew 95 kids to Riverview Park Activities Center for much of last week, with Pat Carpenter's basketball and cheerleading camp underway from Monday through Thursday.
This year's data represented the biggest camp yet, said Carpenter, a longtime North Augusta City Council member with a reputation as one of the community's top boosters of youth sports and other kid-friendly activities, with emphasis on good sportsmanship and Bible-based character lessons.
"I feel like this was one of the best camps that we've ever had, in all my nine years of doing camp," said Carpenter, who led the program's basketball portion this year. "I just think, first of all, the young people – my staff – were absolutely wonderful, and they all took it to heart. They just did their very, very best this year.
She also expressed thanks for her daughter, Fran Gay, for leading the craft activities, which had kids in the cheerleading program making their own masks, armbands and capes, comprising the costumes that they used in their grand finale – a Thursday presentation on the main gym floor at the activities center.
"It seemed like everybody this year just went over and above the call of duty, and the children that attended our camp were absolutely wonderful – the most well-mannered children. We had no problems."
AnnElise Baxley, a cheerleading instructor who is preparing for her sophomore year at North Augusta High, also weighed in on the program. "The week was great and the girls were great and I love being here every year, and I've done it for four years now. I was here when she first started the camp, and I've been going every year, and now I help at it every year."
Baxley, also known as a captain of the high school's junior-varsity cheerleading squad, also addressed the aim for the week. "If the week goes well, the exhibition goes well, and ... the big goal is for it to go smoothly and everybody know exactly where they're supposed to be, so we're not having to tell them where to go and be every time, and they can just perform for their parents and do the best they can."
As for her younger neighbors, she added, "There was a lot of kids and they all did great and they're all respectful, and that was great."