Barbi and Jeff Christopher of Greenwood, DE, face the challenge of many working parents today – how to manage summer day care for their children. What seemed like a burden to solve, has now turned into a summer adventure for their children Adam, age 11, and Rachel, age seven, who now attend the YMCA Summer Day Camp every summer.
Barbi Christopher first was introduced to the YMCA of Talbot County when her children attended Chesapeake Christian School in Easton and needed after-school care. Her home day care provider recommended the YMCA because the children were getting older and seemed to need more activities after school.
Christopher recalls, “I was surprised when I learned that not only was it less expensive for us as a family, but we would also have the benefit of a family YMCA membership.” She adds, “Getting the kids more active has been a good thing. Most days, they have had so much activity that they fall asleep on the drive home.” She adds, “My daughter has really blossomed in the after-school program. It has taught her how to swim and now she loves being in the pool.”
The YMCA’s mission statement, “With Christian principles as our foundation, our mission is to foster opportunities for individuals, families, and community that strengthen healthy spirit mind and body for all,” guides its after-school and summer camp programming. Christopher adds, “There is a moral foundation to everything they do at the YMCA and they talk about the importance of these values in the children’s lives every day. That is important to my husband and me.”
According to E Hughes, YMCA of Talbot County Camp Director, “We start off every day of Summer Camp with the Camp pledge, which focuses the kids on the moral pillars respect, caring, honesty, responsibility and faith. These values are stressed throughout the day so whenever there is an issue we need to discuss with a child, we start the conversation with a reflection on our values.”
In addition to the convenience and reliability that YMCA Summer Camp offers, Christopher praises the Camp’s programming with keeping her children’s interest all week long. The YMCA believes in providing a wide variety of opportunities for learning new skills, making friends, having fun, and building self-esteem and character development. She adds, “There is swimming, crafts, movies, trips to Idlewild Park, sports and field trips to keep their interest. In addition to the regular Day Camp, the YMCA offers specialty camps which my children really love.”
Among the YMCA’s specialty camps are Aquatics Camps, which feature outdoor water activities and learning experiences like lifeguard skills; Outdoor Camp, which features such activities as kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, and rock climbing; and Sports Camp, which includes such sports activities as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis and baseball. In addition, there are Specialty Camps for exploring new hobbies, such as art, crafts, fishing, filmmaking, cooking, science and magic.
Christopher comments, “My children love the variety at the YMCA. There is a lot to pick from and they look forward to trying new things. My son, Adam, loves baseball and would do baseball camp all summer if he could. This year, my daughter, Rachel, is looking forward to cheerleading camp.”
Hughes adds, “In addition to the traditional camps for children ages 3 to 12, the outdoor camps are designed to help kids ages 8 to 15 develop independence and to find their own adventures. These experiences in their adolescent years will be memories they will hold for a lifetime.”
According to Hughes, there is still space available in some YMCA Summer Camps. To learn more, visitwww.talbotymca.org or call 410-822-0566.