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Summer options abound at YMCA

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Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010 11:00 pm

From a preschool Montessori program to a camp full of field trips for tweens and teens, there’s something for everyone at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA’s summer camps.

The YMCA tries to cater its programs to the needs of a variety of families, said Connie Nelson-Askew, executive director of the Ahwatukee Foothills branch.

“I think the Y is known for summer programming, and we really encourage people to come in and see what we have to offer,” she said.

Half-day character camps are available Mondays through Thursdays for children ages 5 to 12. Participants cycle through activities like crafts, fitness and swimming throughout the day, all of which touch on the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

“If you sit (kids) down and put them in a circle and say, we’re going to talk about caring today, they’re going to be bored,” Nelson-Askew said. “We really try to incorporate them into activities.”

Ahwatukee Foothills parent Maggie Barduson has been taking three of her kids to the Character Camp for a few summers. She likes the half-day format and that her kids can get in physical activity even in the hot summer.

Plus, she likes being able to keep all of her kids in one class.

“Many programs are so age specific that I can’t bring them all together,” Barduson said. “I can bring them all to the Y program.”

A traditional full-day camp will be offered at Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary School. Parents can drop off and pick up their kids any time between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. weekdays.

Kids in that camp will get involved in arts and crafts, games and listening to guest speakers, like officers from the police K-9 unit and reptile specialists, Nelson-Askew said.

And then there’s the field trips. Ice skating and roller skating trips are always popular, but Nelson-Askew anticipates the favorite trip this year will be Jump Street, an indoor trampoline park in Chandler.

For the slightly older crowd, there’s a camp packed with field trips. Kids ages 10 to 14 can stay busy during the summer with the Travel/Adventure Camp, which includes trips to places like Slide Rock, Sunsplash and laser tag facilities.

The teen camp is about serving the community, too. Teens travel to St. Mary’s Food Bank and complete a few service projects each summer, Nelson-Askew said.

If none of those options quite fits your liking, the Y also has month-long Montessori preschool programs, swim lessons and, for members, drop-in activities like dodgeball, youth fitness activities and arts and crafts days.

There are a wide range of schedules and costs for the different camps.

Character camps run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, either June 7 through July 1 or July 5 through July 30. Each session costs $250 for members and $300 for non-members.

The teen adventure camp is 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from June 1 to Aug. 6. Campers must sign up for individual weeks. It costs $154 for members and $167 for non-members most weeks.

For other offerings, schedules and prices, visit or call (480) 759-6762.

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