Almost three weeks into the summer, Mayor DeMaria’s Summer Youth program, a partnership with the YMCA in Everett, is keeping the youth of Everett busy and engaged with a robust schedule of fun and enriching activities.
“I am happy to report that our kids are loving their summer camp with the YMCA,” Mayor Carlo DeMaria said. “This may be the best year yet – we have a passionate staff team, a large group of bright kids and, so far, beautiful summer weather. I’m grateful to the Y for coordinating the camp programming and setting up such a full line-up of activities for the kids to do. It’s always good to keep them busy during the summer!”
The participants’ days are filled with various exciting games, entertainment, swimming, teambuilding and field trips. Every Friday, the camp celebrates the weekend with a special event. Last Friday, July 22, the theme was “Superhero Day.” Everyone arrived in the morning, dressed as a favorite superhero. While participating in “Superhero Training” games, creating superhero names and logos, and playing in their costumes, the children also learned the value of performing random acts of kindness.
“A parent later told me that one of our kids even went home and cleaned her bedroom, without even being asked,” said Gregg Ellenberg, Director of Community Development at the Y. Every camp day ends with Most Valuable Person (MVP) awards—a chance for counselors to recognize campers for demonstrating exemplary behaviors throughout the day. “YMCA value-based programing provides a fun experience for all children while teaching them important life skills. We are thankful to Mayor DeMaria and the City of Everett for providing us this wonderful opportunity to positively impact the community’s youth.”
The counselor staff, which includes several high school and college students from Everett, teach a different principle of social responsibility to the campers each week. Other themes have included anti-bullying and healthy living.
Those lessons are emphasized during a variety of activities throughout the week. For the first time at Mayor DeMaria’s summer camp, youth are now able to participate in clubs. Staff members form the different clubs, based on the children’s desires and staff’s strongpoints. The clubs – which include science, sports, dance, singing, art and jumbo games – meet several times a week to share interests and work on projects together. One of the newest is the Leaders Club, which offers older campers a chance to develop their leadership skills, explore career options and receive mentoring.
“We’re engaging the youth by keeping it interesting and introducing new options,” Ellenberg said. “The youth are excited because there is more choice and the staff is excited because they are passionate about the material.”
This year, 70 children signed up to begin the camp on its July 11 opening day. The children, aged from six to 13, attend the summer camp every week day until August 19. Spots are still open for Everett youth who are interested in attending. Applications can be found at the Health and Wellness Center at 548 Broadway.