Finding Kindness and Community | YMCA Summer Camp

Saving the Summer!

After the abrupt stop of school days and playdates, our kids deserved and needed to be kids this summer. They have dealt with so much change all without really understanding why. YMCA School Age Child Care and Summer Camp have been a way for our children to have that normalcy they are craving.


Caption: Campers enjoying summer field trips! 

Summer Camp is ALL About FUN!
Camp days are full of local field trips, swimming, crafts, safely socializing. These activities are all about trying new things, getting out of comfort zones and ultimately learning (even though it doesn’t feel like it!) New procedures allowed the children to have the Summer Camp experience meeting CDC and government guidelines.

While the building was temporarily closed in March and April, the Valparaiso Family YMCA embraced the idea of sharing kindness through the #YMCAKindnessCampaign. This year our camp kids took it even further with their #SpreadKindess initiative! Each group was challenged to imagine their own ideas of kindness, plan out the project, and implement it. Welcome posters, encouraging artwork, and hand-crafted gifts to our local Fire Department have allowed the campers to grow in kindness and share it with others.

Caption: Camp Staff ready to make it the BEST SUMMER EVER for our campers!

Where Would Kids be Without Y Summer Camp?
“I honestly don’t know what their summer would look like. For many kids, camp is the only normal thing in their lives,” Katie Ridinger, School Age Child Care Coordinator, shared. Many would be at home, relying on screens to make it through the day. For some kids, camp is the only time they are leaving their house. Kids would also be missing friendships, building their conversation skills and vocabulary, learning and exploring.

Some families don’t have options outside of Y Summer Camp, leaving parents unable to work. Parents have shared they trust the Y to take care of their kids this summer, “the Y hires great people – they care about each and every kid and really take the time to make sure each child feels a sense of belonging”

Caption: Campers made motivational signs to encourage Y members

Donors Make Summer Camp Possible for All
Another mother shared how meaningful financial support for youth programs has been for her family, “I am currently working two jobs and going to school for Nursing. Y School Age Child Care, Summer Camp, and financial aid scholarships allow me to work. I’m right on that cusp, where I make too much for state assistance, but not enough to get by. This program and support have been a savior for us.” As for her daughter at summer camp, “She loves it! Every Saturday she asks when she gets to go back to the Y!”

Thank you for giving children the Best Summer Ever at camp; and giving parents the opportunity to best support their families! #SpreadKindness

Want to learn more? Hear School Age Child Care Coordinator, Katie Ridinger, tell us how Y programs have been serving children during the pandemic in the video below!