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Lancaster YMCA pursues summer camp options with Maryvale

The Lancaster YMCA wants to enhance its presence with summer camp offerings at Maryvale.

High School Principal Thomas B. Stack said discussions with YMCA officials began informally last summer, with serious dialogue starting in November.

Noting that the school district focuses on “community partnerships,” Stack pointed to its strong bond with the YMCA as his basis for recommending the inclusion of a summer program. The YMCA already operates Maryvale’s after-school program.

The YMCA offers 51 different camp programs, such as young explorers, traditional day camp, sports camp and more, said Allison A. Lawson, executive director of the Lancaster YMCA.

For the coming summer, the YMCA plans to provide 17,000 weeks of camp to children throughout Western New York, Lawson said. That figure includes camp for 1,800 participants per week at 17 locations.

Stack said the goal this summer is to provide a camp for 50 Maryvale students between the ages of 5 and 15; Lawson said the program would be a traditional day camp.

“We would have a leader-in-training program and a counselor-in-training program,” Lawson said. “The children who participate typically move up to our staff, when they get old enough to work for the Y.”

One such person who moved up through the program is Caitlin M. Evans, who started at age 16 as a junior counselor and is currently a program director for the Lancaster YMCA.

Evans said the programs operated by the YMCA are intended to enrich children and offer them productive choices.

Programs are designed to encourage children to interact with others and providing opportunities to reflect on what they’ve learned, who they’ve met, the adventures they’ve had and activities they’re looking forward to. The camps are a week in duration.

“One thing that we make sure to focus on at our day camp is offering children an experience that they would not have otherwise,” Evans said.