Playground Experience fees to double this summer

By Jason Hawk -

Fees will double this year for the Summer Playground Experience, a day camp run by the Oberlin recreation department.

The popular program starts June 12 and includes outdoor and indoor games, arts and crafts, bowling, and swimming.

For Oberlin residents, the cost will rise from $40 to $85 for a single child, with small discounts for each additional sibling who attends. Non-residents will see the cost go from $85 to $130 for the first child.

There are also full and partial scholarships based on free and reduced lunch eligibility at school. “We don’t turn any child away for the parents’ inability to pay,” said recreation director Ian Yarber.

Daily attendance last year was about 225, with 90 percent of kids hailing from Oberlin.

But the Summer Playground Experience has costs, including about $1,000 to take children swimming on Fridays at Splash Zone.

There’s also the overhead of wages for the nearly 30 workers who supervise activities. Most are teenagers or college students who enjoyed the program themselves and are now paying it forward to the next generation.

For many, it’s their very first job, Yarber told city council on Tuesday.

“Even though it’s a long, hot summer for everyone, and they’re to keep the children going and entertained, I wish I could pay them the money LeBron James makes,” he said.

Council voted the fee increase through unanimously.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk