It all seemed to be quite normal at first.
A line queued to register kids for the first day of Kids Play Camp, a 1/2-day summer program offered through the Wall Township Recreation Department, inside Monday morning.
Inside the gym, dozens of kids were divided up into grade-specific groups, ranging from kindergarten to eighth, their voices mixing and bouncing off the walls in a cacophonic din of equal parts anticipation and excitement.
Co-directors Hillary Addonizio and Michael Manson were shepherding children and their parents, keeping an order to the first-day chaos.
Lightning from a fast-moving, but violent, storm passing through, followed immediately by a blast of thunder.
The gym went dark. The kids collectively screamed, mainly in delight.
"You never know what's going to happen at Wall Recreation,'' Addonizo said jokingly.
Not to worry, Manson said. Everything was under control. Campers have other rooms to go to and as soon as the power came back on, he'd begin making announcements.
And 10 minutes later, life began to flicker in the overhead gymnasium lights.
Camp was on.
For the next six weeks, more than 80 campers daily will make West Belmar School on 17th Avenue their personal playground — playing dodge ball, doing arts and crafts and chasing each other around the jungle gym.
In addition to the everyday activities, kids will have an opportunity to attend several day trips to a local bowling alley, Lakewood Blue Claws games and a water park in Seaside Heights, among others, according to the schedule.
Both Manson and Addonizio are grade-school teachers and have been with the camp for more than 15 years, they said.
The camp runs Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Prices start at $75 for each child, per week, with discounts for additional children. Enrollment is unlimited.
The schedule of fees and a list of activities is attached to this story, below the photo to the right.