April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria summer camp program bigger, better

ELYRIA — Elyria’s first attempt at running summer camps for area youth last year proved successful and, with philanthropic donations totaling more than $65,000, this year’s program will serve more youth in more camps.

Registration for the camps began earlier this month, but on Friday, Mayor Holly Brinda said up to 940 children between the ages of 6 and 17 will have an opportunity to participate in free camps stretched over 12 weeks beginning in June.

“This is an example of the positive things that can happen when caring adults from all walks of life come together and combine resources and talents to ensure that our children have healthy, stimulating summer alternatives,” she said.

The Elyria Parks and Recreation Department will run the camps — Reach and Rise Summer Day Camp program — in conjunction with 15 community organizations and nine funding partners.

Each weeklong camp will include morning snacks, lunch and an afternoon snack. The camps will be run by counselors who are also teachers, teachers in training, or adults and college students with experience working with children. All counselors must pass a criminal background check and be trained in safety, health and subject content areas.

Brinda said the adult to youth ratio will be 1 to 8, with enrollment at each camp capped at 80 participants.

In its first year last year, the camp program served about 450 Elyria-area youth.

This year, Brinda said each partner strived to have something available to interest nearly every child looking for a camp opportunity.

“Our partners brought their best programming and personnel to the table and together we built on our strengths to create a remarkable, one-of-a-kind summer camp experience unique to Elyria,” she said.

The camps — full- and half-day depending on the specific camp — include swimming as well educational components. There will be sports camps as well as arts camps. NASA will offer three science, technology, engineering and mathematics camps that combine academics with Mars and moon exploration and rocketry problem-solving activities.

Participating organizations include Elyria Schools, Elyria Public Library, Lorain County Metro Parks, Lorain County Urban League, Elyria Chapter of the NAACP, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County, Elyria YWCA, Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, NASA, Horizon Activity Centers, Save Our Children, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Neighborhood Alliance.

Donations have come in from BASF Corp. ($10,000); 3M Corp. ($5,000); Republic Services ($5,000); K.E. McCartney & Associates ($2,500); Environmental Rate Consultants ($2,500); NASA ($11,144); Elyria Charities ($5,000); Nordson Corp. Foundation ($10,000); Nord Family Foundation ($10,000); Friends of Cascade ($1,500); and members of First Congregational United Church of Christ and other  individual donors ($6,400).

For more information regarding the camps, call Elyria Parks and Recreation supervisor Annette Solet at (440) 326-1503. Registration is first-come, first-served and is open to Elyria residents.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.