Day camp to introduce kids to YMCA

Published March 20, 2007

CRYSTAL RIVER - As civic leaders study the prospects of establishing a YMCA in Citrus County, young residents will have a chance this summer to get a taste of the YMCA experience.

A YMCA summer day camp will be offered at Rock Crusher Canyon, said Sue Ball, district executive director YMCA of the Suncoast, based in Spring Hill.

"This is a great place for us to start," Ball said.

The canyon has a swimming pool, a pond for fishing, playing fields, a pavilion for arts, crafts and theatricals and hiking and nature study areas.

"It's such a great site," she said. "I can't believe somebody else hasn't done this here. We're all very excited about it."

Camp will begin June 4 and run eight weeks. The cost: $85 a week.

There are scholarships available. "That is a really important part of our program," Ball said. Sliding scholarships are also available for families that can afford some of the cost, but not all.

The day camp will be for children ages 5 to 12. The children can attend one week, all eight weeks or any other number in between. This is a limited enrollment of 50 children a week. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended care hours (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) available for working parents.

The YMCA is now looking to fill various positions for camp employees, including a lifeguard, swim instructors, a site director and camp group leaders.

"We plan on a one-to-10 ratio of staff to children," Ball said.

Each week will have a different theme:

-June 4: Ooey Gooey Silly Science

-June 11: Survivor Citrus

-June 18: High School Musical-Art Week

-June 25: Ice Age: The Meltdown

-July 2: International Week: Around the World in 4 Days

-July 9: Animal Adventures

-July 16: Mystery Week

-July 23: YMCA Olympics

There will be super signup days in April: 9 a.m. to noon April 21 and 5 to 7 p.m. April 25.

Ball is excited about this new opportunity for Citrus County residents. She remembers going to camp as a child, and she sent her children, as well.

As a parent, she said, it was a relief to send her children "to a safe place where they could learn."

For information, call Ball or Amber Slusser at (352) 688-9622.