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Selma Times-Journal: YMCA gearing up for busy summer

Published 10:33pm Wednesday, May 13, 2015

As school winds down and kids become restless for summer vacation, the staff at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA prepares for a full summer with multiple activities for kids of all ages.

But for kids that have completed kindergarten through sixth-grade, a special summer is in store at the Y.

The local YMCA will have its annual day camps, along with a brand new five-week camp conjunction with Power Scholars Academy.

"We are so excited about our best summer ever adventure day camp that starts June 1 and goes until July 31," said Ann Murray, general director and CEO of the Selma-Dallas County YMCA.

"This year, the middle five weeks, we are partnering with Power Scholars Academy, and they are helping us add an enrichment and academic portion of the day camp."

The local YMCA was selected by the national director of Power Scholars Academy to be a pilot program for the camp. According to Murray, the YMCA is the smallest in the nation that is going to be running Power Scholars.

They have hired three certified teachers to teach the children, along with several teaching assistants to help with the camp.

"We are honored to be chosen. The national director chose us because we are Selma, so we're really honored to be selected and so we want to do our very best to make sure that all the right children have the opportunity to come," Murray said. "A portion of it is being funded by Power Scholars, so it is going to be $35 a week for children who commit to those five weeks."

The children who attend the Power Scholars camp will be assessed before and after the five weeks to see what improvements they have made.

"The morning will be all academics for those five weeks, and we'll have enrichment in the afternoon. They'll still be swimming and doing fun things in the gym, but we want to be sure that all the children of Selma that come to our day camp are enhancing their academics over the summer so they don't lose anything," Murray said. "So often children will just drift further and further behind [during the summer], because they don't get everything that they need to stay on track for the school year."

Combining summer camp activities with learning objectives is something Murray said she and the staff are excited about.

The regular day camp, to be held the first three weeks and last week of the June 1 through July 31 period, will also undergo a couple of changes. This year, they are adding swimming lessons as part of the activities allowing children to really grasp swimming rather than just playing.

"We plan to be swimming more than once a day with our campers, and we have several people on staff who are teaching lessons. This year we are really going to be trying to teach them to swim," Murray said. "We've applied for a grant in hopes that every child that goes through day camp will be having swim lessons."

Murray said the camps are a great solution for working parents to drop their kids off in a fun, safe environment during the summer months.

"A great thing that I realized from last year is that these kids don't go to school together, so they have an opportunity to get to be friends with not only the counselors, but with other children that they've not known before," Murray said. "I think they love summer camp because they get to do things that they don't normally get to do during school. It's nine weeks of enrichment activities, field trips, swim, gym - everything that goes with day camp."

The regular day camp, to be held the first three weeks and last week of the day camps, is $85 a week for members and $99 for non-members. The Power Scholars Academy five-week camp is $35 a week. All camps begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. The camps are limited to 45 participants. For more information, call the YMCA at (334) 874-9622.

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