MATTHEWS – Charles Smith serves as program manager for the Crews Recreation Center. Part of his job involves designing and scheduling programs year-round for the center, including summer camps.
The Crews Recreation Center is offering 17 camps this year, ranging from academics to sports, thanks to community partners such as Discovery Place, i9 Sports, and Play-Well.
“We feel that our programs are affordable for all and we just have a lot of variety,” Smith said.
This marks Smith’s second summer working with the Matthews Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resource Department. He’s previously worked for the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte.
Here are some highlights from our conversation with Smith about his work.
Planning summer camps
Smith views summer camp planning as an opportunity to try new things. It took some adjusting to plan summer camps in December and January, but he appreciates having four months to market the programs.
“We are in cruise control, pretty much checking the registration numbers on a weekly basis and continuing to market the programs,” Smith said.
The biggest change to this year’s listings is a second session of the popular LEGO Camp. Last year’s session had a waiting list of more than 20 children.
Muggsy Bogues is no diva
Muggsy Bogues became one of the most beloved sports figures in Charlotte history, after logging 10 years with the Charlotte Hornets.
The NBA star’s legend continues to grow with new a generation of fans thanks to his youth basketball camp in Matthews. Despite being a big star, Smith described Bogues as humble.
“I thought that was tremendous for him to be so hands-on with the kids,” Smith said. “He doesn’t just show up when the parents are here. He’s here all day, which is awesome.”
About 200 children are expected to participate in the two sessions offered this summer.
People are amazed
After more than a year in his role as recreation manager, Smith continues to meet Matthews residents who are amazed to find that a resource like the Crews Recreation Center exists.
“I get it at least five times a week,” Smith said.
Its location behind the police station makes it a hidden gem.
It should also serve as a reminder for residents in any community to contact their town’s parks and recreation department and learn what kinds of resources are available.