EATON — The Preble County YMCA has organized a day camp for children ages 5-12 which also includes a field trip each week.
The camp is five days a week, for nine weeks and each week features a new theme. Trip destinations include Laser Web, Newport Aquarium, COSI and Kings Island.
Campers have already gone to the Cincinnati Zoo and IU East.
Cory McKinney, who helps with the camp, said so far all of the kids have had a blast at both field trips. McKinney said the YMCA camp exists to have fun with the kids, help them to meet kids from other schools, and give them a great summer.
During the first week, the theme was Lions, Tigers and Bears. The kids got to dress up as their favorite animal and made a craft incorporating their favorite animal.
At the zoo, McKinney said the children formed an emotional attachment to a bird who was the last surviving one of his species.
“So the kids really bought into that, they’re like ‘oh wow this is cool, we’re gonna see the last of this species,’ McKinney said. “That was one big thing that they were really into.”
During the second week, they had the chance to tour IU East and met with some professors. Although McKinney said it might be difficult for a child to grasp the concept of college, he said they wanted to get the idea of going to college in their minds early.
“The kids really had a blast,” McKinney said. “They did some great activities with them.”
McKinney said the trips are important to the camp because some children might not have an opportunity to visit some of these places. He said the trips also mix up the week and help to keep the kids interested.
McKinney said he helps with the camp because he participated in many camps when he was younger.
“I’ve been through many sports camps and many 4-H camps whenever I was growing up and it’s one of those things that got me out of the house, it got me from watching television all day,” McKinney said.
The camp costs about $100 per week and kids are able to sign up on a weekly basis.
Each day, a child will need a packed, non-refrigerated lunch, sunscreen, a swim suit, towel, sunglasses, tennis shoes and socks and a water bottle.
McKinney said the number of campers has ranged from 24-38 kids per day.
Besides field trips and crafts, McKinney said the kids also go to the pool for about three hours each day and read for 30 minutes.
“It’s one of those things we wanna go ahead and get the kids active, physically doing something and also keeping their reading levels up high,” McKinney said, adding that kids can lose some of their reading skills over the summer if they don’t continue the practice.
He said they try to incorporate reading games for the younger kids, for whom it might be difficult to sit and read for half an hour.
“So we try to make it interesting for them and the kids really respond really well for it,” McKinney said. “The main purpose of it is to get the kids active and doing something this summer instead of just sitting there and waiting for the next school year to go ahead and come around.”