Odyssey Adventure Club’s Surf and Springs campers never know which beach they'll be surfing.
Owner Steve Waterman has camp counselor Scott Crooke check marine conditions every day to find the best spots for the kids.
“I like to follow the tides and swells, which is how we plan this (the camp),” Crooke said. “We base things off of where it’s going to break good based on the tide change.”
Crooke has been a camp counselor for OAC for 10 years, since his daughter, Ady, was 2. The Indian Trails Middle School dean and Flagler Beach resident started surfing when he was 12.
He returns to the camp every year to share the activities he grew up with and watch the campers have as much fun as he did.
“Developing something that we can do as we grow in life is important,” he said. “(I’m) 41 years old and still getting to surf, enjoy the ocean and all the beauty that’s around us in this area. We are doing something that is leaving a lasting impression on the kids. Steve’s amazing at setting that foundation. That’s why the kids keep coming back. They know that we love it as much as they do.”
Developing something that we can do as we grow in life is important. (I’m) 41 years old and still getting to surf, enjoy the ocean and all the beauty that’s around us in this area. We are doing something that is leaving a lasting impression on the kids. Steve’s amazing at setting that foundation. That’s why the kids keep coming back. They know that we love it as much as they do."
— SCOTT CROOKE, Odyssey Adventure Club camp counselor
The Surf and Springs camp is new this year. Traditionally, Odyssey Adventure Club's camp has been a five-day surf camp in the sun. Waterman decided to break the beach days up with two days dedicated to trips to the springs.
“Five days in the sun is a lot,” he said. “ I decided alternating with two days at the springs would give everyone a break. This is the first year that all of us feel exhausted by the end of the week. The heat has been so intense every single day. Everybody feels it.”
Camp counselors Nicole Sanclemente and Jan-Michael Scott had Waterman as their fourth and fifth grade teacher at Horizon Elementary in Port Orange.
Sanclemente reconnected with him six years ago after she taught for a couple years at Spruce Creek High School. She now teaches physical education at Cypress Creek Elementary and coaches cross country and softball for SCHS.
Scott has been teaching for 13 years and currently teaches at Old Kings Elementary School.
“We’re out, we’re kayaking, we’re snorkeling and when it’s not surf camp, we’re rock climbing, disk golfing, ice skating,” Scott said. “We get to work with kids like we do throughout the school year but it’s a little different environment. It’s exciting. It’s fun for us.”
Waterman incorporates STEM — scientific, technology, engineering and math — into just about every facet of his life, but believes the subject of climate change is a little heavy for the weeklong summer adventure camps.
He delves into the subject in detail at his independent school Modern Minds Learning, where one of his six-week units covers climate change and its effects. His school also offers STEM academies for junior and master engineers in the summer.
Waterman and his counselors begin the adventure camps with a safety talk for campers at Fortunato Park, stressing the importance of hydration and sunscreen.
Campers respect the necessary water and sunscreen breaks but love the watermelon rind throwing contest the best.
“Sometimes he (Waterman) finds a bucket, then we all eat our watermelon, then we throw it in,” camper Grace Gildon said. “If you make it in, you can either get another piece of watermelon or like candy or a doughnut hole. It’s really cool.”