OTTAWA — Swimming, making Christmas presents, playing sports and reading are activities youth at Putnam County YMCA”s Christmas Camp are participating in over the next two weeks.
Amelia Torres, 6, one of the camp’s 10 campers, played pool and painted a wooden box using brightly-colored paint with other camp-goers.
“I like to go to camp so I can see my friends. I … like to swim and do crafts at the Y,” Torres said.
Another camper, 6-year-old Henry Clinton, a first-grader at Ottawa Elementary, said it was his first year at the camp.
“I like coming to the Y and playing with Legos and doing my homework so I don’t have to do it at home,” Clinton said. He also likes to play sports at the YMCA.
Courtney Blair, YMCA youth coordinator, said the camp is in its third year and is for ages kindergarten through sixth grade.
Youth gathered around tables this week and used colorful paint to decorate wooden boxes that were donated that they will give as gifts or use themselves. They also watch Christmas movies this week and next to get in the holiday spirit.
“We originally started the camp because people don’t have sitters for their kids. Some of these kids come to us already for our after-school program, and we started the camp for them,” Blair said.
She said she wanted the students to feel they are involved and moving and will have a routine instead of sleeping in and playing video games. Youth are allowed free time where they can run around the gym and play tag, basketball and soccer.
There is time set aside to do reading and math worksheets to keep the students fresh on those skills.
Brittany Drummelsmith, a camp counselor for her second year, said she enjoys helping out at the camp.
“It is fun to see their creativity that comes to their mind, and their personalities come through,” Drummelsmith said. She said the camp allows the youth time to be social and meet others their age while participating in fun activities.
Aaron Baumgartner, the Putnam County YMCA’s CEO, said the Y is a good place for the youth to be to keep them engaged in arts and activities and participate in healthy activities.
“They can interact with one another, have fun with the camp counselors, and it will be a hoot,” Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner said he expected a large rush of new Y goers after New Year’s resolutions hit with people resolving to get healthy, lose weight and be more active.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.