USUALLY, THE LAST day of the school year brings mostly plans for summer vacation. Trips to the ocean or local amusement parks are often the only immediate thoughts in a child's mind.
But such ideas were put on hold by 25 Park Elementary pupils from kindergarten through fourth grade who had perfect attendance during the school year - and then some.
They were attending Park's fourth annual Computer Camp held the week of June 19.
Karen Cordell, Park's computer support technician, said the weeklong camp is always popular.
"The students were very excited about it. The fifth-graders who graduated this year were disappointed that they couldn't attend. We also have students who only missed one day of school who want to attend, and some who were eligible couldn't attend because of baby-sitting arrangements, and they were disappointed."
The camp, meeting two hours each day, focused on a study of rain forests.
Children from kindergarten through second grade attended in the morning, while the older ones came in the afternoon. All spent time researching rain forests, their plants and animals, and creating graphics.
While the morning group gathered information and prepared booklets, the older children created Web pages.
While doing this, Cordell said, all sharpened their computer research, writing, multimedia and graphics skills.
"The younger students concentrated on writing sentences, and the older ones wrote paragraphs. Their skills improved. They learned how to work with files and the software. All had a good time.
"We tested them when the camp started and when the camp ended. Sixty percent of the students improved their skills," she said.
And the parents "really like it," Cordell said, "not because it's a reward, but because it has the students working with computers."
Costs of the program - planned to continue next summer - are paid through Park's federal Title I funding.
A camp with bounce
Boys and girls entering kindergarten to eighth grade are invited to take part in a free basketball camp sponsored by Townsend Avenue Baptist Church.
The camp will be held July 10 to 14, with sessions for children through third grade meeting from 10 a.m. to noon and for the older children from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Rev. Mike Pollack, TABC's youth pastor, will provide basic instruction on shooting, passing and dribbling, along with offensive and defensive principles.
But not to forget the sponsor, he also will lead a "challenge time from the Bible" each day.
The church is at Fifth Street and Townsend Avenue in Brooklyn. Information: Mike Pollack, 410-355-0347.
Summer reading programs
This week brings three opportunities to attend summer reading programs at area libraries.
The Aquarium on Wheels program of Baltimore's National Aquarium will make its annual stop at the Brooklyn branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
This year's program will focus on wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay. All ages are invited to attend.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the library branch will play host to Wild Willy Woo Woo's Magical World of Reading. Wild Willy, otherwise known as Michael Cox, is a magician specializing in programs for young people. He is a full-time professional entertainer, and performs hundreds of shows each year.
The Brooklyn branch is at 300 E. Patapsco Ave. Information: 410-396-1120.
Wild Willy also has a performance scheduled south of the border, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave.
Here, Wild Willy will demonstrate the importance of books with a performance of magic tricks with live rabbits and birds.
Page the Talking Book and Rocky, a mind-reading raccoon, also are expected to be on hand for the event.