LAKEMORE  It has been a summer filled with fun at Lakemore United Methodist Church's Summer Fun Program for area children.

The program, which began 22 years ago, is free for area children in kindergarten through sixth grade. This year’s theme was "The Heart of it All."

The program is free to children, with a small charge for some field trips. The church covers the rest of the cost. Members of the church donate as well as local businesses and fundraising is held to make the program free for the families.

Approximately 72 kids have been involved this summer. Each receiving a T-shirt and a Bible.

The days spent at the church find the kids playing indoor games, having a devotion, enjoying lunch and groups working on crafts and other projects.

Field trips also are a part of the program. This year, the kids did things like receiving free golf lessons at the Challenge Golf Course at Edwin Shaw, miniature golf, a gardening experience with Grow Where You Are Planted, pizza parties, ice cream at New Baltimore, bowling at Bill White’s Lanes, Pump-It-Up and for the first time they will experience live reptiles with animal interpreter Marissa Dubina.

Ron Tristano, PGA professional of the Challenge Golf Course said, "Basically, we are trying to get to expose them to the game - hit some shots, how to stand, some putting and how to hold the club." said Ron Tristano, PGA professional of the Challenge Golf Course. "It is more or less an introduction to the game."

The program runs three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) for six weeks throughout the summer, with exception to the last session when the program runs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and family members are included for food and carnival activities. The children involved in the program will sing for a church service at the end of the program.

This year, the church is offering Vacation Bible School the week after the Summer Fun program ends from July 22 through 26. The program this year is "Shipwrecked." The Bible School attendees will join the Summer Fun kids and the reunion families and volunteers for an Aug. 5 community roller skating and pizza party held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Springfield roller rink.

Directors of Summer Fun are Julie Pennock and Meg Lee. Pennock has been with the program three years, is a member of the church and was a volunteer before she became director. Lee has served as the preschool assistant in the church’s preschool program for several years.

Linda Pitman, the coordinator of volunteers and community relations for the church, helps to get the program up and running with donations, coordinates business involvement and volunteers and helps to make the experience safe and positive for all children. Pitman said it is not too late to sign up for Vacation Bible School. Information can be found by visiting or calling 330-733-6531. The church is at 1536 Flickinger Road.