SOUDERTON AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT — In what has become an annual tradition, Alex's Lemonade Stands were held again July 26 at Franconia Elementary School and Oak Ridge Elementary School as part of the Souderton Area Community Education Summer Adventure Day Camp programs. 

"We want to make sure our kids feel part of the community and are giving back to the community where they are living and going to school," said Brenda Oelschlager, Souderton Area Community Education's coordinator. 

Plus, the children taking part in Alex's Lemonade have a lot of fun, she said. 

To help draw attention to the lemonade sales, the children stand in front of the schools waving signs to attract drivers to stop and contribute to the cause.

Alex's Lemonade is named for Alexandra "Alex" Scott, who passed away of cancer in 2004 at age eight. She started the first Alex's Lemonade Stand when she was four and had raised $1 million by the time she died, according to information on www.alexslemonade.org, the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation website. 

"Today, ALSF is one of the leading funders of pediatric cancer research in the U.S. and Canada having raised more than $150 million so far, funding nearly 1,000 research projects and providing programs to families affected by childhood cancer," the site says.

The Summer Adventure Day Camp runs 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for nine weeks at the two schools, Oelschlager said. 

"We are breaking last year's attendance records," she said. 

Average attendance is between 70 and 80 campers per day at each of the schools, she said.

This year's theme is "Cool Camping Capers," with each week having a different subheading, she said. Examples in camp information included "On the Road Again," "National Parks," "Exploring Pennsylvania" and "Living with Wildlife." 

The goal is to get kids interested in wanting to be outside more, Oelschlager said. 

Groups or individuals making presentations at the camp included the Boy Scouts, who brought tents and talked about camping gear, and Indian Valley Camping Center, who brought a camper the kids could walk through, Oelschlager said. 

"Many of our field trips have been to outdoor places," she said. 

That has included going to Green Lane Park, she said. Other upcoming trips include to Bushkill Falls and Franconia Community Park, camp information shows. 

There are also several workshops for camp members. The schedule includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), art and other types of instruction, Oelschlager said. 

"We don't call them classes because we don't want it to be too much like school," she said. 

The camp staff includes about 45 people between the two locations, she said. There is a camp director, assistant director and about 15 counselors at each of the schools, she said. 

The school district's Food Services Department provides lunches for the camp members, she said. 

"That's one of the things that makes our camp program unique in that lunch is included," she said. "Parents like that because they don't have to wake up every morning and pack lunches for their kids." 

The Summer Adventure Day Camp members do not have to be Souderton Area School District students, she said. There are camp attendees who do not live in the district, as well as some that are home-schooled, she said. 

The camp is open to students who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade, she said. 

This year's camps run June 17 through Aug. 16, camp information shows.   

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