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OWO starts 10th year

The Osborne Warren Oden Center has been filled with children, and the schedule is packed with fun field trips, activities and day camps since Tues., May 26, when the annual summer program began.

The Osborne Warren Oden Center is celebrating its tenth birthday this year. In June 2005, the center was changed from a Boys and Girls Club into the OWO center thanks to the efforts of Walter G. Osborne, Earl C. Warren and Charles Oden Sr. Although all three of the founding members have passed away, the center still operates to provide foundations in education, community awareness and moral beliefs for its members.

The program includes field trips to places such as a farm, laser tag arena and bowling alley. Quail Creek Golf Course will also host a one-day version of their regular summer camp for the OWO program. The camp will give the children the opportunity to choose from activities such as archery, horseback riding and zip lining.

One of the most popular field trips with the kids, though, is the weekly trip to the pool. Every Friday afternoon, the campers will get to spend three hours at the Hartselle Aquatic Center.

However, field trips are far from the only thing on the agenda. OWO Director Felecia Wilson said they also have many activities planned for the children at the OWO Center. The kids will be able to participate in basketball, soccer and gymnastics camps.

The staff will also host a field day. Another event at the center will be a summer Olympics. The campers will tie-dye T-shirts to create team uniforms, and then compete in various events against other teams.

According to Wilson, a favorite activity every summer is a simple game of dodgeball. She said the counselors and campers enjoy playing this together.

Wilson said they will offer an optional Couch to 5k program for the first time this summer. Coach Shane Alexander from Hartselle Junior High School’s IMPACT program will speak to the children about living a healthy lifestyle. The kids will then have the opportunity to train for a 5k throughout the summer.

“We are really excited about this new program,” Wilson said. “We plan to have a 5k for the kids at the end of the summer and give out prizes.”

Despite the number and variety of exciting activities, Wilson said it is the counselors who make the summer program special.

“They’re the heart of the program,” she said. “We have ten counselors, six of whom are returning from last year’s summer camp. They play games with the children and help care for the children. They are a big part of the program’s success.”

The program has certainly been successful based on its popularity. Wilson said the summer program slots have filled up very quickly this year compared to the past year. At this point, only a couple of the 100 spots remain open.

Even if the two spots become full, it may not be too late. Wilson said that they are willing to take names for a waiting list. If a participant drops out, they will invite a student from the waiting list. Attendance can also vary slightly from week to week.

“Many of our students attend all summer; however, parents only pay for the weeks that their children attend,” Wilson said. “Thus, if a family goes on vacation one week, their child’s spot may be open for the week.”

To register children for the program, email Hartselle Housing Authority Executive Director Leigh Chappell at or pick up an application at the Hartselle Housing Authority office. Applications can be dropped off at the Osborne Warren Oden Center.