Y Offers Camps for Learning and Outdoor Play

Kids learn about gardening at last year’s iCARE Day camp. Courtesy/YMCA
YMCA News: 

Registration is open for Y summer programs. Camp registrations completed by April 30 save a $25 registration fee. Summer options for teens and elementary-school aged youth are available.

The Y has two camp choices for youth in kindergarten through seventh grade. 

Y Camp offers a traditional day “camp” experience for elementary age youth featuring arts and crafts, drama, sports, assembly, swimming, hikes, field trips and the opportunity to create friendships with other kids in one’s own age group. It includes fun, hands-on science projects, and a Camp Readers program. Y Camp will have a Dr. Seuss-book weekly theme, and be based at Barranca Elementary School.

The Y also has an outdoor-based camp, iCARE Adventures on the Pajarito Plateau, which focuses on hands-on, nature and play-based environmental education. Barranca Elementary is the point for drop-off, pick up and inclement weather, but this camp is held at area trails and canyons.

Additionally, during the two days before school starts, iCARE Day Camp will hold a garden-themed outdoor based camp. Several sports-themed day camps are also being offered with dates to be announced. For teens, the Y offers Counselor-In-Training and Y Earth Service Corp programs that enhance job skills for future entrance into the job market.

“Summer is a critical out-of-school time when children and teens can benefit from enriched learning, new experiences and making new friends,” Senior Program Director Diana Martinez said.

Martinez said programs are staffed with experienced, well-trained adults and seasoned teenagers. Staff have taken first aid and CPR, Child Protection Protocols training, and have undergone criminal record background checks, she said.

“We hire teachers and young adults and place them in areas where they can use their field of study. And all our staff members are caring and fun,” Martinez said.

A summary of summer options follows:

  • Y Camp, for youth entering grades K-seventh grade, based at Barranca. Features Dr. Seuss-tastic weekly themes in camp that includes group arts, crafts, sports, drama, science and Camp Readers program.
  • iCARE Adventures, ages 5 to 12, outdoor, play-based weekly summer camp studies ecological systems and sustainable practices and is led by environmental educators.
  • iCARE Nature Camp, ages 5 to 12, Aug. 4-8, base camp at the Y, daily field trips, youth explore  each person’s impact on the environment, includes creative projects, environmentally themed games and field trips.
  • iCARE Day Camp, ages 5-12, Aug.11-12. Youth explore ecology through garden-themed games and projects, creating garden art, planting seeds, playing and experimenting with soil, tending garden space, and field trips to local gardens, greenhouses and nearby farms.
  • Counselor-In-Training, application required for summer long program for youth in grades 8 and 9. CITs gain job skills helping at camp while supervised by adult staff. Applications are available April 15.
  • Y Earth Service Corps, ages 11-17, 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Thursday, features summer service-learning projects with a focus on trail and garden work. first aid, CPR training, field trips, teambuilding activities, backpacking/camping trips, rock climbing, and job skills training are included. Space is limited.

The Y offers financial assistance so that no one is turned away for inability to pay. For more information, call 662-3100, or visit http://www.laymca.org/.



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