SIKESTON - From playing outside to playing "dress up," the YMCA Day Camp is keeping children busy this summer.
Cassandra Limbaugh, director of the Day Camp, said while over 100 youngsters are enrolled in the camp, which averages about 80 children every day. Limbaugh noted that this year's Day Camp wasn't really advertised around town, only on the YMCA's marquee. But advertisement wasn't necessary.
(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
The program is housed in the Stafford Center of the Tanner Street Church of God, where the camp is able to utilize the church's gym, kitchen and classrooms. Although the camp often uses the YMCA facilities, it will continue using the Stafford Center even after the new YMCA is finished because of the church's amenities, Limbaugh said.
Students are divided up into age groups at the camp: kindergarten and first grade, second and third grade, fourth and fifth grade, and the "counselors in training," who are in sixth through eighth grades.
Each day's schedule is different and full of activities, including art, music, trips to the library, gym time and swimming. The children also go on a field trip once a week. This week, they went to Capaha Park and Pool in Cape Girardeau.
"We try to entertain them and keep them busy," Limbaugh said.
First grader Megan Witt said her favorite activity at Day Camp is going to the library. She said they recently made suncatchers at the library, and played a game called "Ants in the Pants." Third grader Katherine Lape said her favorite activity is music.
At the end of the July, Lape will be able to show off her musical talents at Family Night, where campers will sing songs for their parents and grill out. At the Family Night the "Awesome Campers" in every age group and overall are announced, as well as the "Awesome Counselors," who are voted on by the children.
The Day Camp counselors have found the job to be a reward in itself, even though the children are "a handful at times," counselor Summer Ray said.
Karen Hutchcraft, a kindergarten and first grade counselor, said her students are "just babies" when they arrive at the beginning, but she is able to see them change and grow throughout the summer.
Counselor Matt Limbaugh also noted the children's changes. "They learn how to play with a big group," he said.
Along with learning how to play with others, campers learn the four core values of the YMCA: responsibility, caring, honesty and respect.
"The YMCA program is a good program all the way around. To me it's awesome because it's a place safe for the children to go," Limbaugh said.
The last day of YMCA Day Camp is Aug. 8.