By Rachel Wintermute
The nine-week summer camp program at the Princeton Family YMCA offers multiple camps for children and teens ages 4-15 years that range in activities in sports, crafts and more.
Zeger said the summer camp program attracts children and teens from surrounding areas including Lawrence, West Windsor and Cranbury, in addition to Princeton. The camp has even hosted children visiting America for the summer from countries like France and Japan.
Zeger said that the YMCA summer camp competes with other similar day programs in Princeton and the surrounding region, some of which may have cheaper rates. However, the Princeton Family YMCA can offer and extra assurance for parents, he said: they are accredited by the American Camp Association.
The YMCA first received accreditation from the ACA in 2009, when it met the approximate 300 health, safety and other standards to be nationally acknowledged under government-recognized camp regulations. The accreditation was renewed this year, after the YMCA passed a standard three-year revision from the ACA.
To meet these standards, the YMCA provides services like risk management training for all camp counselors and certified physicians on staff for campers.
In addition to the accreditation renewal, the YMCA has also fostered new relationships with local businesses.
For the first time this year, Princeton-based Terra Momo Restaurant Group will partner with the YMCA’s cooking camp. The campers will visit Terra Momo Bread Company on Witherspoon Street, as well as host a chef from the restaurant group at the Princeton Family YMCA location.
The summer camp program will also continue an initiative it began in a weeklong theme that revolved around community service last year.
“This year, one group a week will be doing a service project where they help give back to the community,” Zeger said.
Campers can choose their own method of service, like making peanut butter and jelly lunches for a food pantry or crafting for the less fortunate.
No matter in which camp a child had interest, families have the opportunity to apply for financial assistance.
“We’re able to serve individuals who might not be able to afford our camps,” Zeger said.
Zeger said that the YMCA awards approximately $40,000 in financial assistance for families in the summer camp program annually. He said other camp accommodations, like free before and after care, also help offset the costs of the program.
The YMCA summer camp program runs from June 25 to Aug. 24 in nine separate weeklong sessions.
More information is online at princetonymca.org.