Something for everyone

Students enrolled in the Glendale YWCA's summer day camp begin each morning with a dip in the pool.

Later, after some free time, they do arts and crafts or play math and reading games in the nonprofit's new computer lab. Others shoot some hoops or play soccer. Whatever the activity, the focus of the camp is to keep the children active all day long, said camp Director Delie Bishil.

"A lot of people play soccer; I practice basketball," said Diego Ahmad, 8, of Glendale. "My mom usually likes me to go to camps. She doesn't always tell me why. And I really like Y camp."

This is the first year the Glendale YWCA is hosting a summer day camp, which is open to boys and girls ages 5 to 10. The camp's 10th and last session is Aug. 23 to 27.

The camp offers an opportunity for students to become physically and mentally fit, both areas in which children are lagging, Bishil said.

"A child loses almost six months during the summer vacation of what they've learned [in school]," Bishil said. "Four months out of the new school year are spent relearning information that they've lost."

The camp isn't just about sports. Students also learn life skills, such as sharing, being polite, team leadership and cooperation, organizers said.

"They're all learning not only to dribble a basketball, but also how to help their fellow [students]," Bishil said.

The reaction to the camp, Bishil said, has been positive. The camp begins each day at 7:30 a.m. when the YWCA hosts Before Care, a sort of day care that serves working parents. The campers are divided into two groups of older and younger children, which so far number about 15.

When the school year begins, the camp will become an after-school program offering the same sports and academic curriculum.

"It's great for them," said camp counselor Adis Khatchatourian. "A lot of future work skills involve computers. It's important for them to get a head start on it."

For camper Nico Narinyants, 9, the camp has helped him learn everything from math division to swimming.

"See, I didn't swim very well until I came here," he said. "This was my first swimming class. I did good."

The students spend so much time doing what engages them that most, it's hard to leave, Khatchatourian said.

"They're all excited to be here. Whenever they get picked up, they don't want to go home," she said.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World