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The Gateway Family YMCA

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Campers in Elizabeth Learn the Benefits of Gardening


Summer Camp keeps youth moving, learning and exploring

Elizabeth, NJ, September 06, 2015 --(PR.com)-- As part of “A Summer to Discover”, Summer Camp participants at The Gateway Family YMCA – Elizabeth Branch learn about gardening during a portion of their camp experience, providing many with their first opportunity to grow and eat their own healthy foods. So far this year, campers made “Seed Bombs” to take home (mud balls with clover seeds), tasted kale, ground cherries and basil and helped maintain the garden by watering and weeding.

“The goal of the Summer Garden Camp sessions is to introduce youth to how vegetables grow (For example, Tomatoes grow on a vine, and just don’t come in cans). Many times this may be a child’s first experience in a garden and/or seeing vegetables grow,” stated Mike Johnson, Director of Association Initiatives at The Gateway Family YMCA. “We also introduce various herbs such as basil, rosemary, dill and thyme and produce such as peppers, tomatoes, group cherries, squash, carrots, and kale. We planted two watermelon plants in the garden, with a goal of growing fruit and then sharing with the campers. We also planted pumpkin, hoping to have a “giant” pumpkin by Halloween.”

As part of Summer Camp, campers have picked and taken home basil, tomatoes and ground cherries. They have also helped remove dill plants to make an area for growing beets. The goal is to give the majority of the produce grown to Madison House, the Y’s emergency temporary housing for female heads of household with children and single women with critical shelter needs, while also providing the campers something to bring home to share with their family.

Attending Summer Camp allows children to discover new experiences, create lasting friendships and stay active, both in body and mind. Throughout the summer months, many children experience learning loss and weight gain without access to recreational and educational opportunities. To ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, The Gateway Family YMCA offers financial assistance to those in need, ensuring that all children have an opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Summer camp at the Y gives kids and teens an adventurous, active and healthy summer.

“YMCA summer camp supports the social-emotional, cognitive development and physical well-being of kids,” says Krystal R. Canady, CEO of The Gateway Family YMCA. “In our day camp, kids are in a welcoming environment where they can belong, build relationships, develop character and achieve – discovering their potential,” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.

A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for nearly 130 years. The Gateway Family YMCA continues to give youth an enriching, safe experience with caring staff and volunteers who model positive values that help build their kids’ character.

For more information, visit www.tgfymca.org/day-camp or contact The Gateway Family YMCA Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622.
Contact Information
The Gateway Family YMCA
Colleen Clayton
908-249-4811
Contact
www.tgfymca.org

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