By Joe Bachman
The Finance & Property Committee approved a contract for the YMCA Day Camp Experience for this summer on Apr. 6, but saw further debate at common council on Thursday night.
The summer project, funded partly by the YMCA, Mead School, and the city, raised critique from multiple council members who questioned the fairness of the camp’s inclusion of only west side children.
The YMCA estimates that 545 children will sign up for the summer activities, though the limit would be 572. $14,000 would be contributed from Mead Elementary, $11,000 from the YMCA, and an amount not to exceed $60,000 would come from the city. This amount would be taken from the money budgeted from Mead Pool, since the pool will not be in operation this year.
“What happens to other students?” said alderperson Scott Kellogg. “I’d like to see a program that’s more inclusive than exclusive.”
It was noted by Brett Salscheider that there are other summer programs in town on the east side, that any parent or child can take advantage of.
According to Mead Elementary Principal Margie Dorshorst, the safety of the kids is what’s at stake. “I have a real concern about the safety of our kids this summer,” said Dorshorst. “Without the pool, or without a program anywhere on the west side.”
“My concern is that it’s city money, coming from every district, why don’t we look at making this program all inclusive?” said alderman Scott Koth.
The council approved a motion to finalize the contract for the YMCA Urban Day Camp Experience, with the stipulation that the YMCA look into either making the activities all inclusive, or at the least a system where west side students have first priority over others.
The vote passed 7-1, with Tom Rayome holding the only “nay” vote.