The Stephenville City Council approved an after-school program and day camps that will begin this fall.

The after-school program will run from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and on holidays excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Day camps will be offered during spring break and in the fall, and a 12-week camp will be offered during the summer.

In the fall of 2018, the Parks and Leisure Department began conversations with Stephenville ISD to determine the need for after-school care and summer day camps, according to Jennifer Basham, director of Parks and Leisure Services.

It was determined that if a need was proven to be present, the school would host the program, and the recreation department would be the administrator and facilitator.

In January, SISD sent out a parent survey to 3,157 households in the school district. The survey ran for 26 days and received 492 responses. The results of the survey determined that there was a prevalent need for affordable after-school and summer day camp opportunities for local youth.

“We’ve done all of the cost estimates. We’re going through those final numbers but we’re very positive that the numbers up for the fees that we’re proposing will capture and make us a cost-neutral program,” Basham said. 

Students attending camp will also be able to participate in extracurricular activities.

“One of the questions we asked in our survey was, ‘In addition to just attending camp, would you be interested in your children participating in extracurriculars?’ So participating in an archery program or an outdoor naturalist program or a ballet class or a cooking class, we would incorporate that which would be a separate program that would be blended into ours in the summer. We’ll bus kids to swimming lessons and things like that so that they can definitely get a great experience,” Basham said.

City councilman Brandon Huckabee was enthusiastic about the program.

“I think it’s a great cooperation between the city and ISD for something that’s desperately needed for children in this community,” Huckabee said. "Affordable daycare, I have two in it and it’s crazy expensive, and for us to find a way, cost-neutral, to work with other organizations in the city to deliver services is awesome and I commend y’all for that. I just think it’s a great thing for our citizens.”