The Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA schedules a variety of summer camps for youngsters of all ages throughout the summer. Camps are designed for children in kindergarten, children in grades 1-6, and teens, who attend camps in Big Bear and Catalina Island.
The overarching theme of YMCA Summer Camp this year is “Above and Beyond,” and every week is designed to fit into that theme. One week was themed, “beyond your normal pet store,” and the kids visited the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar.
Children in grades 1-6 who attend the Y’s summer camp this year are participating in a program called Sparks. For 60 minutes per week, children gather in groups and focus on a project, such as writing a story or comic book, playing a sport or producing a theatrical skit. The idea is to spark different passions in the children.
“I really enjoy the Sparks program … [the children] see they have different interests. Somebody who regularly enjoys sports can learn they enjoy theater or something else,” said Mackenize Hunt, a second-year counselor at the camp.
Children in grades 1-3 are called Pioneers and children in grades 4-6 are called Explorers. Each Monday the Pioneers and the Explorers go to the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, where they spend two hours swimming. On Wednesdays, the kids go to an amusement park and throughout the week, they go on mini-field trips to Griffith Park, the beach, hiking in Malibu State Creek, and other venues.
This week, Explorers will go see the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach while the younger Pioneers will have fun at La Cañada’s inside wilderness gym at Buff Buddies, where the kids can climb rock walls.
Counselor Connor Lock, who attended YMCA summer camp when he was a child, is not bothered when the campers repeatedly ask what they’ll be doing next. “I like to see them when they are full of energy and can’t wait to go swimming in the pool, or they keep asking me on field trips, ‘Are we there yet?’ Because that was me at their age,” he said.