Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cultivate creativity at YMCA

Kids 5-11 busy with themed weeks

Express Staff Writer

The climbing wall at Ketchum’s YMCA has become a popular place for kids and adults. Photo by Willy Cook

    Wood River YMCA program director Emilie Wark and her staff are planning a jam-packed summer of themed weeks and outdoor adventures to keep kids ages 5-11 busy in the 2013 Y Summer Day Camp.
    In her second year as program director after serving as a volunteer and camp counselor in the Ketchum YMCA’s Summer Day Camp, Wark has seen growth to the point where she’s averaging about 35 kids per day.
    She is proud of her committed staff, and the YMCA is also proud of having supplied 39 youngsters with 100% financial assistance last year. Many came to camp for the very first time and learned skills like swimming, canoeing, archery, digital design and those silly, silly summer camp songs.
    “Our camp is really creative. Our staff is always coming up with new games and little treks and adventures to keep the kids busy,” Wark said.
    Four full-time YMCA staff members plus two volunteers are always on duty. Wark said, “Our staff is what makes it a quality program. All the camp’s staff members work year-round at the Y, so they understand the Y’s mission and also understand the valley itself.”
    The kids can attend the camp each day from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most kids are picked up by their parents around 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. each day. Swimming takes place at least three times a week.
    The first week of camp is June 10-14. Final week of the 12-week program is Aug. 26-30.
    Special features for each summer week are the Thursday field trips and “Friday Night Live” slide shows that incorporate music with fun photographs of the kids doing their activities. Also on Fridays, the kids receive certificates and earn appropriate and humorous awards.
    “It’s a good conclusion to each week,” said Wark.
    Among the field trip highlights are fishing with volunteer Bob Knoebel June 17-21; several visits north of Galena to Camp Perkins for canoeing, hiking and archery; cooking and arts; a Pirates theme July 22-26; and outdoor adventures July 15-19.
    Early-bird rates paid before May 15 are $180 per week for YMCA members and $275 for non-members. The regular rates paid after May 15 are $200 per week for members and $295 non-members. Day drop-in rates are $55 for members and $80 for non-members.
    For more details and registration forms, visit or call Wark directly at 928-6718. She can also be reached at

Climbing camps all summer
    Besides the Summer Day Camp at the YMCA, Wark said, “We are offering climbing camps again, and this year we are also offering swim lessons.”
    Learn the fundamentals of climbing in a safe and controlled environment in several sessions from June through August. The sessions are divided into ages 5-8 and ages 9-11. Cost per week is $120 for YMCA members, and $170 for non-members.
    Meeting times are 9:45-11:45 a.m. The wall and bouldering cave at the YMCA will be used for an interactive camp designed to develop climbing skills, teamwork and self-discovery. Register by calling the YMCA at 727-9622.

  • The Rock Stars 1 camp for ages 5-8 meets June 10-13, June 24-27, July 15-18, July 29-Aug. 1, Aug. 12-15 and Aug. 26-29.
  • The Rock Stars 2 weekday camp for ages 9-11 meets June 17-20, July 8-11, July 22-25, Aug. 5-8 and Aug. 19-22.

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