Dozens of children who otherwise might have spent a summer vacation around the house are eagerly looking forward to their recess next month. Why? The youngsters are part of an innovative joint venture between the YMCA of Northern Westchester and the Brewster School District’s Community Learning Center.
For the first time, the YMCA will be offering weekly programs in Putnam County for children in grades kindergarten through 8 each containing a unique theme.
During registration last week, YMCA Executive Director Bonnie Fogarty explained that the summer program was staffed by “dedicated and caring individuals who promise to make summertime extra special by providing programs that are all about adventure, personal growth, friendships and lasting memories.”
Offerings begin the week of June 26 and include Ocean Life; Stars and Stripes; Construction Kids; Summer Safari;
Space Station Vacation; Backyard Bash; Decades of Fun and Game On.
Superintendent Valerie Henning-Piedmonte described the endeavor as “unusually important. Our Board of Education acknowledged that more programming and services were needed for low income families who can’t afford most of the area camp offerings.”
Henning-Piedmonte added that the Y’s summer initiative and the district’s recently implemented Community Learning Center was a match: “Our center is all about providing year-round opportunities for children as well as adults. This marriage could not have occurred without the involvement of State Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne for obtaining a Community Schools Set Aside Grant – only one of two in the entire region – that has made the program possible.”
Pricing for the summer program is extremely reasonable. Children currently receiving free lunch in school will be charged $40 per week while those receiving reduced lunch will be charged $80 per child. Full rate tuition is $250 per week.
The pricing includes breakfast, lunch and a snack in addition to transportation being provided by the district to the child.
The camp will be taking place at the Henry Wells Middle School in Brewster through Aug. 18.
During the registration last Monday evening, students enrolled in foreign language programs at Brewster High, assisted by aiding non-English speaking parents’ complete forms and applications.
Brandon Augugliaro, a senior, described the partnership as ‘amazing. Many of these people come from unfortunate circumstances at no fault of their own. This is so great for the children of our district – all kids.” He added, “The world will be a better place when young people interact and mingle with each other.”