Day Camp at Plum Creek offers fun for campers, staffers alike

| Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Lauren Drew has a lot on her plate.

Drew, 18, graduated from Franklin Regional High School last month.

Later this summer, Drew of Murrysville will join other young people on a mission trip to Moose Factory in Ontario, Canada.

Also, this fall Drew will begin her studies at Geneva College. She plans to major in math education.

Still, Drew took time from her busy schedule to work as a counselor-in-training at the Day Camp at Plum Creek, a Christian-based adventure day camp for elementary-aged children on the grounds of the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek, 550 Center New Texas Road in Plum.

It features challenge elements including a low-rope course, climbing tower, zip line, mountain boarding, arts and crafts, team sports, Bible study, faith stories and nature education.

Camp staff members each year are certified by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) said Joy Smith, president of the church's board of directors. ACCT-accredited inspectors perform annual safety inspections on the course components, Smith said.

The camp, in its eighth year, runs through July 19.

“I love working with kids,” Drew said. “I have a good time with them, and I enjoy teaching them about Jesus and the Bible.”

Smith of Plum said about 95 children are attending camp this year, a slight decrease from last year.

“Part of it is there are so many new camps starting up,” Smith said.

Smith, 62, who retired seven years ago from the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, wrote the Bible curriculum for the day camp this year.

The curriculum focuses on the parables of Jesus, Smith said. The individual themes from the parables are carried through in other activities including arts and crafts and music, she said.

Steve Skero, 49, of Penn Township is in his first year as camp director after serving as a counselor last year.

“My belief is that God wanted me to use my gifts to do something (with children),” said Skero, a special-education teacher at Penn Middle School in the Penn-Trafford School District.

Skero, a 1982 graduate of Plum High School, praised the staff of about 20 for their dedication to the program.

“The staff knows what to do,” Skero said. “They come to me with suggestions.”

Tyson Semetkoskey, 12, of Apollo has been a camper for five years.

“I like the low ropes and mountain boarding, Semetkoskey said.

“And I like it because I have a lot of friends here.”

Semetkoskey hopes to be a member of the support staff next year.

Molly Giles, 10, of Plum enjoys the zip line and climbing tower, activities that keep her physically active.

“I play softball, and in the winter I swim,” Giles said.

Adam Hearn and Matt Geib, both 17 and both from Plum, met as campers.

They have been staff members for five years.

“We grew up with the camp,” Geib said.

“It's a good mix of work and play,” Hearn said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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