Laser tag keeps youth entertained

Stratton Chanes, 8, celebrates after winning a game during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Stratton Chanes, 8, celebrates after winning a game during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

With stealth and war cries, almost 30 kids participated in the Laser Tag Camp at Bluffs Park on Wednesday, July 23.

The camp is offered two times every summer, and has given children a way to make friends and have fun since 2009.

“Day camps provide the opportunity for participants to try a new program or enhance their skills in a specific sport or hobby,” said Katie Gallo, recreation coordinator for the City of Malibu, in an email. “Summer events are offered because the residents enjoy interacting with friends and neighbors at a fun community event.”

Eron Calip, recreational assistant for the City, enjoys watching the children interact during camp.

“I just love seeing the kids smile, especially when they’re playing games like this,” Calip said. “It’s really easy to work seeing them having fun.”

Charlie Rayner, 7, takes cover and shoots at his opponents during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Charlie Rayner, 7, takes cover and shoots at his opponents during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Laser Tag USA has run the camp for several years. The company is contracted by the City and provides all the equipment the children use.

Ruta McLinn, an employee of the laser tag company, has been involved with the summer camp for the last three years. She said the camp is beneficial because it allows kids to be active.

“It keeps the kids not sitting around on the couch,” McLinn said. “Running around outside, being outdoors — that’s why I believe it’s important.”

The camp is for children ages 6-13. Calip feels the children can get more out of the camp than just a fun time shooting at their friends.

“Even though [laser tag camp] is a fun camp, they’re still learning how to socialize [and] they’re exercising,” Calip said.

In addition to the laser tag camp, the City also offers other types of summer actives such as camps for surfing, video game design, music, engineering with Legos and more. The City offers a total of 46 camps over the summer, Gallo said.

“Having summer camps and community events reinforces the mission of the parks and recreation department to provide a variety of recreation programs for all ages designed to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Malibu,” Gallo said.

Ruta McLinn, a Laser Tag USA employee, tries to even up the teams during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Ruta McLinn, a Laser Tag USA employee, tries to even up the teams during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

The laser tag camp costs $150 for a week, which runs Monday through Thursday. Participants can also pay $40 per day if they choose.

The summer camps provided by Malibu are similar to those provided by the neighboring cities of Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. All camps offer a variety of activities in the areas of art, sports and other types of recreation.

Santa Monica camps do not offer daily rates like those of Malibu and Pacific Palisades, according to a City of Santa Monica brochure detailing the camps offered.

Calip said the camps are long enough so children have a decent amount of time away from their parents, but short enough so that parents can still have ample opportunity to spend time with their children.

Calip feels that children having a good time is the most important aspect of the City’s summer camps.

“As long as they’re having fun and they’re enjoying it, that’s all you can ask for,” Calip said.

Tijes Kline, 11, prepares to shoot at an opponent during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Tijes Kline, 11, prepares to shoot at an opponent during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

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