News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 17, 2014

YMCA summer camp takes on new focus via grant

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A new opportunity for youths interested in a future job in health care will be presented for children attending the Vigo County YMCA Summer Camp Program.

The YMCA has received a mini-grant from the West Central Indiana Area Health Education Center, in Landsbaum Center near Union Hospital, and the goal is to introduce youth to the many types of health-related careers available.

Another new change for the YMCA Summer Camp is a location change to Meadows School on Brown Avenue for four days each week. That will allow the campers to walk to Deming Park to participate in daily activities, such as swimming. Each Friday of day camp will be conducted at the YMCA location on Dresser Drive at Fairbanks Park.

Applications are now being accepted for the 120 spots available in the summer program. Spots are filling fast, said camp director Amanda Pendleton, and financial aid is available for families that qualify.

Children can attend either part-time — one to three days per week — or attend full-time four or five days per week. The program runs from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning June 9 and ending Aug. 8.

Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack are served through the Summer Food Program, and children are welcome to bring their own health food as an alternative.

Because the YMCA program will be utilizing Deming Park for its activities, the Terre Haute Parks Department will not be offering its summer day camp program as in past years. Pendleton said that parents who have enrolled their children in the park program in the past are welcome to apply to the YMCA camp.

“We want kids, especially junior high kids, to be here for the summer,” Pendleton said. “Those kids who are sitting at home, playing video games, they can be here having fun, and participating in our new program.”

The new feature of the health career program will connect students with professionals such as nurses, doctors, therapists, veterinarians and other health-related careers.

“We have high hopes to get a lot of middle school-age children interested in have a health-related career,” said local AHEA director Barbara Lucas. “This is kind of a pilot program, and we’re excited about it.”

“If we want them to be health care professionals, they need to start in middle school with realizing they need to buckle down and get good grades, do special projects, and prepare themselves for the work that goes into a career in health care,” Lucas said.

Pendleton said the summer day camp will also feature several field trips, guest speakers and possibly an end-of-program trip.

One of the goals of the program is to decrease summer learning loss that occurs when children are out of the regular classroom. Each day will include two to three hours of educational activities, followed by physical activity, such as swimming, hiking and playground time.

Each week has a specific theme, including super heroes, creepy crawly, healthy living, local history, wet and wild, animals, outer limits, famous people and carnival.

“We have a lot of good stuff planned so far,” Pendleton said, mentioning a trip to Turkey Run State Park, as well as the weekly visit bus trip to take care of tomato plants at a community garden.

An application packet available at the YMCA includes all of the information needed to apply for the program, including camp fee schedules, a financial aid application, camp rules and a sunscreen policy.

For more information, call the Vigo County YMCA at 812-232-8446.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.