By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — After last year’s successful YMCA Urban Day Camp, the city is considering a renewal of the program for this summer.
If renewed, the YMCA and Mead Elementary seeks a “two-pronged” approach for this summer, which combines the usual activities of a summer day camp with help from the local AmeriCorp program. According to Mead Principal Margie Dorshorst, the AmeriCorp portion of the camp would consist of “park hoppers”, where various experiences and activities would be held around the city.
“In addition to planning the summer camp experience, we would also use our AmeriCorp to do some in-park/along the river experiences,” said Dorshorst.
According to YMCA Executive Bret Salscheider, this summer’s program aims to be more inclusive, including participation from parents.
“We’re going to provide the children full access to Camp Alexander coming out of Port Edwards — last year, these four weeks you came to the Y, and the other four weeks you went out to camp,” said Salscheider. “This way we’re allowing a pathway for the child to choose which way they would like to go.”
All costs and figures are unofficial at this point, though the YMCA is asking the city for $16,000 to put towards the program, much like last year, with the YMCA making up the rest. Last year, the program provided a summer experience for 152 kids and expect to do the same, if not more this summer. Money from the city has already been budgeted from prior year’s Mead Pool budget.
“It gets kids active, it gives them a destination to go to during the day time, and the cost is minimal,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “It’s a good partnership for us and hopefully next year as the success grows, the community will rally and say this is something we want for our area youth.”
Further discussion will be held on the potential of a YMCA/Mead summer camp in the coming weeks before plans are cemented and approved by the city.