YMCA begins day camp program

BELLOWS FALLS — Meeting Waters YMCA, now in its 126th year of service to youth and families, will run its popular day camp program as it has each summer since 1965.

More than 13,000 area children and teens have attended Meeting Waters YMCA's camps over the past 56 years.

Y Day Camp, for 6-to-13-year-olds, offers eight one-week sessions between Monday, June 28 and Friday, Aug. 20. Two one-week sessions of KinderCamp, a specialty camp for children entering kindergarten in the fall, is held the final two weeks of the camp season.

The camps take place at the regional Y's 52-acre Lewis Day Camp facility, on Route 5 in Springfield, just off Interstate 91. Bus service is provided to and from camp each day from Brattleboro, Putney, Westminster, Bellows Falls, Chester, and Springfield, as well as Walpole, North Walpole, and Charlestown, N.H.

To ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, Meeting Waters YMCA offers financial assistance to those who need it.

Executive Director Susan Fortier said in a news release that most, but not all, Covid prevention policies and practices have been adapted for this summer. Face coverings will still be required on the bus and anytime campers and staff are inside, or during sustained close contact with others, even if outside.

“We are going to structure the camp as we did last summer with two groups of 12 campers and four staff serving as a pod. This will allow for ease of contact tracing, should it be necessary,” Fortier said.

The regional Y's camp participates in the federal Summer Food Service Program. All campers - regardless of town of residence or family income - qualify for a free healthy breakfast and lunch each day.

Fortier said the camp staff “are looking forward to continuing our strong emphasis on relationships, achievement and belonging; character development; and social-emotional leaning through a fun, active camp experience.”

“Allowing kids to be kids this summer, in an environment that supports their holistic well-being - as we have said in the Y movement for 170 years, in 'spirit, mind and body' - will be critical to their growth and development after this challenging year,” she said.

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