At a time when young people are dealing with such issues as anxiety, sadness and hopelessness, quality youth programs can make a big difference, says Bartt Pinchuck, the executive director of the MetroWest YMCA’s Outdoor Center in Hopkinton. “The Y in general, but particularly summer camp, plays a role in combatting that,” says Pinchuck, referring to mental health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There’s a need for kids to have positive role models in their lives, and we make sure our staff provide that.”
This summer, the Y is offering traditional day camps to three age groups and over 20 specialty camps in Hopkinton at its outdoor site abutting the Ashland Reservoir. “We have something for everybody,” Pinchuck says. “Our traditional camps include activities like a ropes course, archery, swimming, boating and arts and crafts. Our specialty camps go deeper into distinct interest areas like horseback riding, ceramics, magic and sports.”
Campers can participate from age 3 through 10th grade. The Y also has an inclusion program with staff who are “dedicated to integrating kids with special abilities into existing programs,” Pinchuck explains.
Camps are accessible to families of all income levels. “Nobody is turned away due to an inability to pay,” he adds. “That’s a big part of who we are as an organization. Our financial assistance program is especially important during the summer when parents lack child care.” To make it even easier for families, the Y runs buses throughout the area to transport kids to and from camp.
Once summer’s over, the 122-acre Outdoor Center remains bustling throughout the year with indoor and outdoor archery classes, a climbing gym, cooking classes, geocaching and other enriching activities.
“Whether kids come for one week or the entire summer, they’re sure to have a positive experience,” Pinchuck says. “One of the great things about camp is that campers return to join our staff team, and we get to see all the different directions they go in their lives. To know we played a part in that is exciting.”
To learn more, visit metrowestymca.org or call 508-435-9345.
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