No school, no problem

YMCA-YWCA offers day camp options

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When inclement weather happens and local schools decide to cancel, parents can be left without proper last-minute childcare options. That’s where the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA comes in.

For the last few years, the Y has offered special “Emergency Weather Days” camp for youngsters K-6, with the activities held in the Y’s Cultural Center (Old Y). With the freezing rain and blustery, snowy conditions experienced on Thursday, several area schools canceled classes.

“There’s been a need to offer child care in emergency weather situations when school is canceled, but the parents still need to go to work and don’t want to take time off or use vacation days,” said Deb Grove, who serves as the Y’s family sports director.

Day campers get to partake in any of the following activities: playing board games, reading, doing arts and crafts, and playing basketball and dodgeball in the gymnasium. Children must bring a sack lunch from home, but the Y does give out morning and afternoon snacks.

The program runs from 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on no school days, with parents or guardians responsible for dropping off and picking up the youngsters.

“We just try to keep them busy all day,” she said. “It’s a safe place for them to be.”

To be eligible to come to camp, parents must fill out the needed paperwork in advance.

“A lot of the kids that come to our Emergency Weather Days camp also participate in our Fit Kids Afterschool program, and our School’s Out Fun Days, which are for whole or half days when we already knew school wasn’t planned to be in session,” she said.

Grove said she sends out emails and text messages using a special app to let parents know when the Y will be hosting these camps.

“We’ll hold a camp as long as we have 10 kids signed up,” she added. “And we always have one adult per 15 kids to supervise.”

The cost to participate in the Emergency Weather Days camp is $27 a day for Y members, and $37 a day for non-members.

Openings are available for the Emergency Weather Days, Fit Kids Afterschool program and School’s Out Fun Days. The Fit Kids program uses the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards provided by the YMCA of the USA, and costs $7 per day for members, and $10 per day for non-members.

For families who may have difficulty paying for the camps, grant funding is available through DHS.

If the weather is severe enough for the YMCA-YWCA to close early, or to not open at all, the camps are not held. Any changes to the Y’s hours of operation or regularly scheduled events will be posted on its website: www.ymca-ywca.org and on social media.

For more information, contact Grove at: deb.grove@ymca-ywca.org or 641-752-8658, ext 212.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com