By Christie Barlow
The Harrisburg Family YMCA has started construction on another project: Its campers.
Kids attending Harrisburg YMCA summer camp are a part of this year’s summer camp campaign, “Campers Under Construction.”
“Our job is to help children grow through developing good character traits,” said Angie Kiln, the on-site coordinator for Harrisburg Family YMCA’s summer camp. “Caring, honesty, responsibility, respect and faith are the five core values of the YMCA.”
As campers learn and demonstrate those values, they are awarded with beads, and ultimately a bandanna, Kiln said. Though they are helping campers reach their goals, the YMCA summer camp is a lot more than just learning lessons — campers get to have fun.
Averaging around 60 campers a week, the Harrisburg YMCA meets at New Harvest Church on Hickory Ridge Road. The camp features arts and crafts, sports, games and lots of field trips, Kiln said. Kiln, who is responsible for organizing the activities, has scheduled at least one field trip each week, all of which are related to the week’s theme.
Kiln and the campers kicked the first week of camp off with a “Catch the wave” theme, welcoming campers with a lei and beach related activities. This weeks activities included everything from volleyball with a beach ball, to sand art, a treasure hunt and, the highlight of the week, a trip to the Splash Pad in Kannapolis.
“It’s a great kick off,” Kiln said. “Kids are excited about being out of school. This week they’ll do a lot of water related activities.”
For their part, campers were excited to get into the swing of camp. Sammie Mascaro has been attending YMCA summer camp in Harrisburg for two years and said the best part about it is making new friends. With the new location at New Harvest Church, Mascaro is looking forward to spending more time outside this year.
“Last year we stayed inside and laid down and played a lot of board games,” Mascaro said. “This year we get to stay outside and play games. We get to do a lot more activities.”
With the new location at New Harvest Church, the Harrisburg facility does face some challenges some of the other YMCAs don’t face, Kiln said. Being off site has its ups and downs, she said. The church can’t hold as many campers as West Cabarrus or Kannapolis YMCAs, but the smaller camp can enhance the experience for campers, Kiln said. Although Harrisburg doesn’t have a pool on location, they travel to the West Cabarrus branch of the YMCA to swim a couple of times each week, said Elizabeth Lindsey, managing director of the Harrisburg Family YMCA.
In addition to the weekly trip to the pool, campers will get a chance to visit Cici’s Pizza and make their own pizza, visit a science program in Winston-Salem and Lindsey and Kiln are planning a night for parents and campers to wrap up the 10 weeks of camp.
This year marks the first time the YMCA has a permanent presence in Harrisburg while operating its summer camp, although the YMCA has ran a summer camp in Harrisburg for several years. Lindsey said the permanent presence in Harrisburg has increased the number of Harrisburg campers.
Lindsey is hoping that the continued presence of the YMCA in Harrisburg will get more people involved in the programs the YMCA offers and interested in things like summer camp.
“This is the first year I’ve been involved with a summer day camp,” Lindsey said. “It’s been really exciting and also a learning experience to see it all evolve. (Camp) is a fun filled, non-stop, high energy day of activities.”
• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.