Today, day camp is more vital than ever.

To deliver on the Y’s commitment to nurture the potential of every child and teen, Hamilton Area YMCA Day Camp programs now more intentionally foster achievement, relationships, belonging, and socialization. These tenets are essential dimensions of well-being that the Y cultivates through our day camp:

Discovering skills (Achievement): Campers experience achievement when they try different activities, learn what they like, and discover what they are good at.

Building friendships (Relationships): Campers have the opportunity to form healthy relationships with other children, caring adults, and role models, which helps them feel good about themselves and learn to get along with others.

Finding a place to belong (Belonging): Campers connect through significant camp traditions and rituals that create a sense of belonging, so they feel included, accepted, and part of a community.

Needing a place to unplug (Socialization): An added benefit to day camp is the ability to electronically unplug. A recent Washington Post report cites that average youth (ages 8 to 12) spend 42 hours per week consuming electronic media; for teens it is 63 hours per week. Far better than simply saying no to electronic usage, is to look for tech-free alternatives that include the following:

1. Physical activity

2. Face-to-face social connections

3. Strong role models who exemplify tech free behavior

There are many other opportunities that offer the ability to unplug, though it is for only short periods. It is likely that there is no singular experience better equipped to provide all of the above electronic alternatives more than day camp.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2L-qmGNGoE

With this emphasis on achievement, relationships, belonging and socialization, day camp at the Hamilton Area YMCA is more than a mechanism for keeping kids busy during the summer; it is an opportunity for Y staff to intentionally develop youth in a fun, engaging, and unplugged environment.

Hamilton Area YMCA, Sawmill Branch, 185 Sawmill Road, Hamilton. 609-581-9622. www.hamiltonymca.org.

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