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March 19, 2018
A Child’s Development is Never on Vacation
It seems like we just rang in the New Year, yet here we are in springtime, already waiting for the final bell of the school year to ring. But we know that just weeks into the summer holiday, we’re going to hear the dreaded two-word phrase: “I’m bored.”
That’s why March isn’t too early to start planning summer, particularly when it comes to the all-important decision of which camps to keep in mind for your little ones.
The YMCAs of Tampa Bay offer a variety of summer camp programs designed to strengthen your young ones’ minds and bodies and keep them on track for academic success year-round. Summer camp at the Y provides kids with adventure, healthy fun, personal growth and friendships that can take a so-so summer and turn it into a memory that lasts a lifetime.
The Y provides a welcoming environment where children can belong, build relationships, develop character and discover their potential. Summer camp teaches essential leadership and social skills and helps youth develop confidence and independence. The peer friendships and adult mentoring relationships built at camp build resiliency and encourage healthy decision-making.
Kids benefit year-round from Y programs, but never is it more critical than the summer months, when kids are at greatest risk of falling behind. According to a recent YMCA nationwide survey, based on responses of nearly 1,200 parents of children ages 5 to 12, only 26 percent of kids spend more than an hour each day reading a book for fun during the summer. The Y intentionally integrates reading and other academic components into its summer curriculum. So, while they’re having fun, campers are learning about nature, cooking, math and more. But shhh; don’t tell them! It’s called disguised learning for a reason.
Summer camp also gets your kids outdoors and active. Research shows kids are less active and gain weight two times faster during the summer vacation than during the school year. According to the nationwide YMCA survey, 64 percent of parents report their kids spend three or more hours per day online, playing video games or watching TV during the summer. That’s a 30 percent increase compared with results for the school year. Summer camp at the Y unplugs kids from technology by engaging them in activities that keep them moving, learning and exploring new things with others. Some YMCA camp programs specialize in strengthening a specific sport or swim skill, while others teach the importance of nutrition to help improve campers’ eating habits.
As you can see, a child’s development is never on vacation, and YMCA Summer Camp helps kids stay healthy and achieve all summer long. Camp registration is already open! Log on to http://www.ymcatampabay.org/find-your-y/ and find the Y camp most convenient to you. Camp scholarships are available for families in financial need, giving all kids access to learning new skills, developing character and making new friends.
By Lalita Llerena | Originally published in the March 2018 edition of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.