Still time to sign up for Y summer camp

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016

During my time in Vicksburg, I’ve been lucky to experience first-hand an incredible asset to the Vicksburg and Warren County Community — the Vicksburg YMCA.

My wife Allison has worked full-time for the YMCA for the past two years, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to see the programs they provide for the community and the great people they serve.

My first interaction with the Y was actually in 2012 when I went with Allison to work at Warner-Tully YMCA Camp for a weekend. At the time, I wasn’t crazy about it, but as many now know, my feelings have done a complete 180.

Warner-Tully serves hundreds of children from Vicksburg every summer and provides scholarships for several children in our community. These scholarships and opportunities create confidence, integrity and social skills in children that studies show they’re not getting anywhere else these days.

The Y also positively impacts the community through the services and scholarships it provides in childcare, teen programs and youth sports. This year, the Y’s primary childcare site Purks YMCA filled its 100 spots within an hour of opening registration. Their other site, Wilkinson-Ver Beck YMCA, filled within two days.

With the success of its two usual sites, the Y took a leap and decided to open a third childcare site for the summer to help better serve Vicksburg. I had the privilege of seeing the third site open, and I can testify to the hard work put into making it happen. After countless phone calls and meetings with parents, the school district and the health department, they got it done and were able to provide more great childcare.

The Y also added another program to its list of those it uses to serve the community: the Christian Values Conference. The Christian Values Conference is held every year at Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA in Black Mountain, N.C. The conference is for teens entering high school through teens who have just graduated. It introduces teenagers to people from diverse backgrounds and gives them the opportunity to learn and grow in nature. Though it’s only the first year the Y has done this program, the 30 spots were full just weeks after the interest meetings.

After these summer programs are done, the YMCA will slide back into its youth sports and afterschool childcare, serving our community year-round. But it’s not too late to take advantage of some of their programs!

Warner-Tully YMCA Camp still has openings for girl campers in Session 2 (June 12-18) and openings for boy campers in Session 2 (June 12-18), Session 3 (June 19-25) and Session 4 (July 3-9). The camp is open to campers ages 6 to 16. The cost is $375 for members and $400 for non-members, but financial assistance is still available. Applications can be picked up at Purks YMCA off Clay St.

Whether resident camp is your thing or not, I guarantee there is something for you or your family at the Vicksburg YMCA. Don’t miss out on another community asset.

Austin Vining is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at austin.vining@vicksburgpost.com.