Meeting Waters YMCA, now in its 126th year of service to youth and families, will be running its popular day camp program as it has each summer since 1965. Over 13,000 area children and teens have attended Meeting Waters YMCA camps over the past 56 years.
Y Day Camp, for 6-13 year-olds, offers eight one-week sessions between June 28 and August 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, located on Route 5 in Springfield, just off I-91. Bus service is provided to and from camp each day from Brattleboro, Putney, Westminster, Bellows Falls, Chester, Springfield, Walpole, North Walpole, and Charlestown.
The regional Y’s camp participates in the federal Summer Food Program. All campers — regardless of town of residence or family income — qualify for a free healthy breakfast and lunch each day. And, to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, Meeting Waters YMCA offers financial assistance to those who need it. If you’re interested in helping send kids to camp this summer, you can donate to the Y at www.meetingwatersymca.org/support.
Meeting Waters YMCA Executive Director Susan Fortier says that her plans have, for a second year, been developed with guidance from the CDC, the Health Departments of both Vermont and New Hampshire (the camp services youth from both sides of the river), YMCA of the USA, the American Camping Association, and MWYMCA’s risk management consulting firm, the Redwoods Group. The former Y Day Camp director explains 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 any time campers and staff are inside, or during sustained close contact with others, even if outside.
According to Fortier, “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 contract tracing, should it be necessary.” She adds, “We 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.”