MetroFamily Magazine April 2016

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  • Make a Splash!

    See our calendar for 212 April events!

    APRIL 2016


    Meet the mom & owner of The

    Plant Shoppe

    ROUTE 66 ROAD TRIPTop spots for

    family fun

    Gear up for summer with swim lessons

    page 24



    CAMPS &




    NATURE CAMPFor children ages 7-12


    June 6-17 July 11-22 August 1-12

    Ecology - Wildlife - Outdoor SkillsArchery - Nature Crafts - Fishing Fun

    $275 for a two-week session, $175 for a one-week sessionCamp runs Monday-Friday 7:30am-5:30pm

    Call (405) 297-1392 for more information.

    Register online at

    SUMMER DAY CAMPSSummer Day Camps for all ages and interests.

    For more information about Summer Day Camps, visit

    Junior GolfSoccerBaseballBasketballVolleyballPlay in the Park

    Junior Explorers ClubSecret Agent ClubRocking RocketsLEGO Mindstorms Robotics


    MOREEmergency PreparednessPerforming ArtsYouth Artist Camps

  • 32AT HOME WITH JENGet to know the owner of The Plant Shoppe Jen Semmler.

    guide...goThe ultimate OKC family fun

    542016 SUMMER CAMPSDiscover the greatest summer camps & activities in OKC & beyond.

    24ROUTE 66 ROAD TRIPDiscover the top family-friendly attractions on the Mother Road.

    Get ready for summer with swim lessons


    6 Six Reasons to Send Your Kids to Camp 8 Editors Picks: Top Indoor Pools 16 How Therapetuic Foster Care is Healing Local Kids

    22 Mom Humor: It's a Summer Camp Thing

    PLUS... DONT


    HAVE A STORYOR BIG EVENT?We are all about family activities and fun in the OKC metro. If you have a story to share, let us know!

    CONTACT THE TEAM AT 405-818-5025 or email

    EDITORIALSarah TaylorPublisher

    Hannah SchmittManaging EditorLindsay CuomoAssistant Editor

    Heather Davis and Lindsay CuomoContributing Writers

    Emily HartContributing PhotographerBrittany ViklundContributing Illustrator

    DESIGN & SALESStacy NoakesArt Director

    Callie CollinsMarketing Director Athena Delce, Dana Price &

    Jessica MisunSales Kathy AlbertyOffice/Distribution

    Shelly SandersonBusiness Development

    Circulation - 35,000 Also available as a digital edition at

    Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Inprint Publishing, Inc. We do not

    assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The

    acceptance of advertising by MetroFamily does not constitute an endorsement of the products,

    services, or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service which is

    fraudulent or misleading in nature.

    MetroFamily Magazine is a monthly magazine published by

    Inprint Publishing, Inc. New Address: 318 NW 13th St Ste 101

    OKC OK 73103

    Phone: 405-818-5025 Fax: 405-445-7509

    Inprint Publishing, Inc. 2016, All Rights Reserved.


    Volume 19, Number 4


    It's hard to have a bad time at summer camp. Sure, you spend a few days being homesick and you might not always get along perfectly with your counselors and fellow campers, but overall it's usually a great experience. I carry many good summer camp memories with me to this day.

    Preparing this month's issue, my mind was flooded with great memories from my own summer camp experiences. Besides bringing lice home from camp one summer, I really can't think of anything I didn't love about camp.

    I grew up surrounded by my siblings and close cousins, but camp gave me an opportunity to do something completely on my own. For a week each summer, I made friends, learned new skills, found confidence and discovered my likes and dislikes in a way I couldn't really do at home.

    Summer camp likely wasn't always easy for my parents to plan or accommodating to their tight budget, but I believe they felt everything I brought home from the experience (except the lice!) was worth the trouble. On

    the next page, hear from camp experts and local parents about the numerous benefits of summer camp. If you can find the time and money to make it happen, our Summer Camp Guide on page 24 reveals dozens of camp opportunities throughout the metro and beyond so you can start planning your child's adventure.

    If you can't swing summer camp this year, we've still got tons of ideas in this issue to get you thinking about summer fun. Learn all about swim lessons on page 10 and don't miss our Route 66 road trip on page 54.

    We're thrilled to be counting down the days until summer and getting a jump start on planning.

    Hannah SchmittEditor


    WelcomeFROM OUR EDITORThis month, we send your family on a Route 66 road trip, start planning summer camp experiences and reveal great places to take swimming lessons in OKC.

    Enter our contests to win big!

    Register to win a five-day cruise for four to the Western Caribbean, departing July 16 from Galveston. Trip is provided by MIE Travel Deals, LLC. and valued at up to $2,400! Enter by 5/31.

    MetroFamily has partnered with MIE Travel Deals, LLC to provide our readers a discounted cruise this fall. Enjoy a Western Caribbean cruise Oct. 3-8 with rates starting at $319 per person. The first payment of $100 is due by May 10. Learn more at

    Web Exclusives: Get our exclusive Kid Review of Oklahoma City's

    new indoor skydiving attraction, iFLY at

    Dont miss out on life due to allergies and asthma. Get tips from Oklahoma Institute of Allergy and Asthma at

    Brain Balance offers a drug-free approach to help kids with behavioral issues improve their ability to learn academically and socially. Learn more about the cutting-edge methods at





    Calendar starts on page


    THIS MONTHS COVER:Randy M., 7, is an Oklahoma City native and film actor who likes painting, archery and playing with LEGOs. He was one of the winners of our 2016 Cover Kids Search. Photo taken at Mitch Park YMCA in Edmond.



    family buzz

    Were buzzing about Summer CampOn the surface, summer camp is a fun getaway for kids to help fill the time during a school break. But on a deeper level, it's so much more. We talked to experts from some of our favorite local camps about the benefits of sending kids to summer camp.

    1. They gain self-esteem. The American Camp Association reports 70 percent of parents claimed their child gained self-confidence at camp.

    "Summer camp is a supportive, creative, nurturing environment for children to learn and grow physically and emotionally," said Mickie Schmith, the camp director at Camp McFadden in Ponca City, "which improves self esteem."

    2. They make new (and different) friends. The American Camp Association reports 96 percent of campers said camp helped them make new friends and 93 percent said camp helped them get to know kids who are different from themselves.

    Jess Randolph, camp and outdoor specialist at Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, said she sees girls make lifelong friends at camp. Campers are bonded through activities like going on their first hike together or seeing the world atop a horse for the first time, she said.

    "Making new friends with children from other communities and being mentored by adult counselors are memories that will last a lifetime," Schmith said.

    3. They learn independence. In addition to having to make new friends and communicate effectively with adults on their own, campers have an opportunity to discover who they are away from home.

    "It (camp) was the first place I could go and be myself without any other influences," said DJ Morgan, YMCA Camp Classen board chairman and former camp director. "It allows you to step out of your shell. You see people at camp all the time who might have been shy or different at school but the person they are at camp is a different person, a truer person. And that's something I keep with me."

    4. They learn new skills. Think your kid isn't adventurous? Send them to camp and you might be surprised. Seventy-four percent of campers interviewed by the American Camp Association said they did something at camp they were afraid to try at first.

    Dance, music, drama, basketball and science are just a few of the types of camps listed on our Summer Camp Directory (page 24). Camps offer opportunities for kids to try brand new skills or activities they otherwise might never encounter.

    5. They gain a new appreciation for the environment and physical activity. "The research shows spending time in nature improves concentration and creative reasoning," Randolph said. "Outdoor experiences help promote healthy social development and increase your girls self-esteem!"

    Schmith agreed and said giving campers the opportunity to spend hours outside exploring, learning about nature, playing games and visiting with new friends has endless benefits.

    6. It keeps them busy. If you have to work, the obvious reason for camp is that you know your kids are engaging in an enriching activity while they're out of school. If you can manage to find free time while your kids are away at camp, that's even better! Take advan-tage of that time to do something you dont usually have time for when kids are at home.

    Lezel and Richard Safi's two sons, Evan and Tye, attend Kanakuk Kamps in Lampe, Missouri each summer. The couple uses that time to take a long weekend trip together and do other special activities together to strengthen their marriage.

    "We'll do late dinners. Date nights. Concerts. We plan fun outings with friends, and we don't have to worry about scheduling a babysitter," Lezel Safi said. "It's like dating all over again!"

    She also uses the camp time to plan summer activities for when her kids return and organize their closets and drawers and maybe even redecorate their rooms.

    Regina Ruff's three kids all have attended Kanakuk Kamps. Her youngest still attends camp for two weeks every summer and although she misses him when he's away, she sees it as an opportunity to recharge.

    Back when her oldest two were away at camp, she used it as an opportunity to spend quality time with her youngest son. Now that her youngest attends camp, she focuses on herself with long walks after work, visiting family out of state, staying up late to watch movies and doing other things she can't seem to find time for when her son is home.

    No matter how you use the time your kids are away, summer camp has proven benefits for the whole family!



    T hink a minute about a woman who has made a difference in your life. Does the thought bring a smile to your face? Whether it's your mother, a teacher, a mentor, a sister or someone you've never even met, we all can think of a special woman who's inspired us.

    The Oklahoma Women's Coalition has set out to help you honor that woman with their SHERO campaign.

    Famous Oklahoman and country music star Reba McEntire kicked off the SHERO campaign with a video tribute of her own.

    She was the one that taught us if you say youre going to do something, you do it, Reba McEntire said of her mother, Jacqueline McEntire in a tribute video released as part of the Oklahoma Womens Coalition SHERO campaign, which began International Womens Day, March 8. I am the person I am today because of my SHERO, my mama.

    The SHERO campaign aims to shine a light on Oklahomas every day female heroes who serve as role models in a state that ranks low in quality of life for women. The campaign runs through Mothers Day, May 8.

    The Oklahoma Women's Coalition is a statewide non-profit network working to improve the lives of women and girls through education and advocacy. Danielle Ezell, the coalition's executive director, said a SHERO is often unaware of the difference she's made in someone's life. This campaign will help mentors and role models see the impact they have on others.

    There are two ways you can pay tribute to your SHERO. First, honor her on social media by using the hashtag #okshero with a few sentences or short video testimonial about how she's made a difference in your life. Second, visit to make a $25 donation to the Coalition to get a commemorative print or e-card she'll cherish forever. Your donation helps OWC make a difference to improve the quality of life for all girls and women in the state.

    Honor the SHERO in Your Life

    Oklahoma SHEROs are providing

    support in a difficult environment for women:

    Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation for women to live (based on economic security, leadership, health).Oklahoma ranks 50th in the nation for womens health.Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state, doubling the national average. Nearly 80% of incarcerated women in Oklahoma are non-violent offenders. More women are murdered by men in Oklahoma than in almost every other state.Women working full-time, year-round, earn just 77% of what men earn in Oklahoma.



    Foster Indoor Pool614 N.E. 4th

    Why We Love It: This large pool is operated by the City of Oklahoma City and features plenty of space to swim laps or simply splash around regardless of the weather outside. The pool offers open swim for families from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Fridays. Purchase a punch card to attend open swim or any of the classes offered at the pool. A 10-punch card costs $25 and a 20-punch card is $50.

    Murray Case Sells Swim ComplexUniversity of Okla, 1701 Asp Ave.,

    Why We Love It: This swim complex features both indoor and outdoor pools with an assortment of areas for all levels of swimmers. Let your little swimmers splash around in the comfort of the indoors for just $5 per day. Open swim hours vary so check website before visiting.

    Lighthouse Sports, Fitness & Health3333 West Hefner Rd., Oklahoma

    Why We Love It: This facility has two indoor pools boasting plenty of space for families to splash around. Regardless of the weather outside, enjoy a balmy dip year-round with open swim hours offered from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Day passes are $5.

    Mitch Park YMCA2901 Marilyn Williams Dr.,

    Why We Love It: One of the few YMCA pools offering admission without a membership, this indoor swimming facility boasts plenty of opportunities for family fun. Enjoy a leisure lap pool, competitive pool, water toys and a water slide all wit...