KeepHealthCare.ORG – Summer camp offers 26 students new view of West Virginia | Kanawha County
As school lets out for most Kanawha County students on Friday, a summer camp will offer 26 children opportunities to learn about West Virginia.
“We want to make sure they know there’s lots of fun things you can do here, if you get out and you really look for it, you can find something to keep you busy everyday,” said Jenna Elmore, the program director of the YWCA Mel Wolf Child Development Center.
The center offers a summer camp from Monday to Aug. 17 for children who have completed kindergarten to children who are 12 years old. Elmore said the camp keeps kids from being home alone and bored.
“For some kids this might be really the only vacation they take this summer,” Elmore said. “Going with their friends and spending a day at the park, or spending a day at Heritage Farm, going to Water Ways, doing those fun things.”
Elmore said around 80 percent of the children involved in the program are from low-income families. These students can receive varying levels of financial assistance, though YWCA Mel Wolf does not charge parents for any of the field trips.
It costs YWCA Mel Wolf about $100 to pay for the trips of each child.
Donations are accepted to help pay for the costs.
“To sponsor a kid for summer camp, $100 per child for the whole summer would get that child access to so many things that they’re not going to have otherwise,” Elmore said.
Donations can be made at ywcacharleston.org or by mailing a check to YWCA Charleston at 1426 Kanawha Blvd. E, Charleston, WV 25301.
YWCA Mel Wolf is considered Tier II child development center by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which means it has to meet higher standards of care.
“Tier II takes into consideration everything in your classroom,” Elmore said. “To us, that just means we’re giving a higher quality of care to the children here.”
YWCA Mel Wolf also offers an after school program for those ranging in age from kindergarten to 12 years old, as well as child care for infants to 5-year-olds. For the children in childcare, there are classrooms and playgrounds for different age groups. Children can read in the library and learn about growing their own fresh food from four garden beds that currently hold strawberries, onions and spinach.
“The kids, I think they’re really excited about the strawberries,” Elmore said. “They’ve already come out and picked a whole bowl.”
Braylee and Aalayah, both 5 years old, have been at the center since they were 3 months old. On Thursday, they toured the Yeager Airport with other children in the program. There, they met Flyaway Greg, a dog that works for the airport.
“I like him. He chases birds away,” Aalayah said.