Montgomery Parks Creates Summer Camp Scholarships for Local Kids

New program will award funding to children based on financial need


Published:

Via Montgomery Parks

A new scholarship program this year will help more local children get the opportunity to join in summertime fun at camps around the area.

Montgomery County’s parks system has collected more than $5,000 in donations for the fund, which will offer scholarships to children based on financial need, according to a news release.

“A summer camp allows kids to expand their universe,” Michael Nardolilli, executive director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation, said Monday in an interview.

Montgomery Parks offers about 150 summer camps, giving kids the opportunity to learn about archaeology, practice their ice skating skills, explore the woods and participate in many other sports and outdoor activities.

Sarah Nove, 16, has been spending summers in the archeology camp for about eight years.

“The people I got to know at camp are like my family,” Sarah said Monday.

Over the years, she’s accumulated a wealth of experience working with Montgomery Parks staff on real archeological digs, and this summer, she’ll be ready to pass on her knowledge as a camp counselor.

“I’ve been super lucky to have this program here,” she said.

But registration for many of these programs costs hundreds of dollars. For instance, Wildlife Caretakers Camp, which allows young animal lovers to spend time in various wildlife centers, costs $365 for five classes. Nature Film Camp costs $400 for five classes.

Sarah’s mother, Carol Nove, said the archeology program was reasonably priced, compared to many summer camp offerings. Still, the scholarships are a good idea, she said.

“I’m a single parent, and while I made it a priority to pay for camp, a scholarship would’ve been very helpful,” said Nove of Olney.

She said summer camp has given Sarah a place to learn with people who share common interests.
“It’s given her a safe place to go where she can be herself and at her happiest,” Nove said.

The scholarship fund is named in honor of Marye Wells-Harley, who served as vice chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board from 2009 to 2017. Nardolilli, whose foundation is administering the program, said Wells-Harley’s friends created it for her because of her passion for extending summer recreation opportunities to as many children as possible.

The scholarships will be awarded to Montgomery County children from ages 6 to 14 until the funding runs out, he said. He said the foundation now has enough money for about 20 to 25 scholarships.  

“We anticipate that the demand will exceed the supply of dollars in the scholarship fund,” Nardolilli said.

The parks system has posted scholarship applications online. Donations to the fund can be made on the Montgomery Parks Foundation website.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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