YMCA Summer Camp 2015 makes local lives better

in Community by

The YMCA of Beaufort County helps youth in our community realize their potential to be active, engaged and thriving members of the community.

Summer camp is a cornerstone of youth development at the Y and this summer the YMCA of Beaufort County registered record 734 youth ages 3-15 in its programs! These camps were held at 8 different sites in Beaufort and Jasper Counties, and included Penn Center on St. Helena Island, Whale Branch Elementary, Roberts Smalls International Academy, Hardeeville, Ridgeland, Port Royal Elementary, Lady’s Island Elementary as well the main YMCA facility in Port Royal.

Y camp nutrition Whale BranchWhen kids have a chance to break from the routine of school and explore in a new setting, YMCA camps are there to help them discover who they are and all they can achieve. The YMCA of Beaufort County offered 28 different camps ranging from Traditional Camp, Literacy Camps, Specialty Camps, and Sports Camps.

Additionally they welcomed over 80 participants into their Youth Boating Program. This program focuses on STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, math) practices, education, safe boating environment awareness, leadership development and physical fitness. Participants undertake classroom training taking the SC DNR Boating License class and exam as well as hands-on learning out on the water utilizing power boats, sailboats, stand-up paddle boards, canoe and kayak.

At camp, youth have the opportunity to build new skills and talents, foster relationships with friends and role models, and develop a sense of belonging so they feel comfortable to be themselves. The Y summer day camps provide kids with imaginative activities that make sure they have fun while making new friends, building self-confidence and discovering the world around them.

During the 2015 Y summer camps, participants read for a total of 522,000 minutes and participated in 1,092,000 minutes of physical activity! These activities included swimming, sports, games and even triathlon training during one of specialty camps. They also taught 259 free swim lessons, teaching the community’s children fundamental water safety and swimming skills they will utilize for a lifetime. All this pool time equals 850,000 minutes of water fun and learning for hundreds of Y campers during summer 2015.

At the Y, campers enjoyed free healthy meals – they served 18,520 lunches this summer! That’s a lot of apples, carrots, milk and whole grain sandwiches!

One of the main goals of the YMCA’s Board of Directors is to not turn anyone down due to lack of funds. With this in mind, financial assistance was awarded to 320 summer camp families in addition to free swim lessons. This figure is broken out as follows: 29 families from Robert Smalls International Academy, 48 from Whale Branch, 98 from Jasper County, 61 from Penn Center/Lady’s Island/ Mossy Oaks and 96 from the Port Royal YMCA.

Annual scholarship campaign donors make it possible for programs like Y summer camp to be available the many children and families in our community who otherwise would not be able to afford a camp experience.