By Joe Bachman
This year, the YMCA gave many Wisconsin Rapids kids a summer they will never forget.
Early this year, the YMCA Urban Day Camp Experience was approved by the city, and YMCA Executive Bret Salscheider stood before council members to present the program’s successes.
“We were really excited by the experiences that they [kids] were able to have as a result of this opportunity,” said Salscheider.
At the end of the summer, the camp served 152 kids, ages 6-11, with 99% of those coming from Mead Elementary School. Out of that, the program gave 78% of these kids swimming lessons.
“I could recognize kids from the summer who were in the urban day camp, and just to see the positive connection they had with each other,” said Mead School Principal Margie Dorshorst. “I don’t know if that would have happened over the summer.” [without the camp]
The summer camp cost the city just over $16,000, which was well under the $70,000 already budgeted and not used for the currently vacant Mead swimming pool. Activities included nature hikes, ziplining, kayaking, crafts, swimming, and much more.
“Ensuring that children have access to programs and experiences that allows them to have fun while supporting them socially, emotionally, and physically, is the health of our community,” said Salscheider. “Whether we serve one child or a thousand children, the partnership really had a lasting impact on the kids.”