Help the Fresh Air Fund Host Children

It’s official – MaM’s foray into day camp this summer is half over. She’s signed up for nine weeks, and yesterday she went on her 5th field trip. It doesn’t seem possible, but she’s got four weeks of camp, a week of Camp Grandma, and then it’s off to first grade!

This summer, through day camp alone, she’s had serious swimming and rock climbing time. She’s learned all sorts of organized games, and has gone on five field trips. She’s having a great time, and she’s getting a good dose of indirect learning to boot.

I know not all kids get to have this kind of summer– but until I learned about the Fresh Air Fund, I couldn’t really picture the contrast. Imagine living in the city and never leaving. Never being someplace where you can run barefoot. Never enjoying a shady park, or the cool breeze of the ocean. Never playing outside without having to constantly look for cars. Always hearing sirens, trucks, and the sounds of the city.

The Fresh Air Fund helped nearly 5000 kids in 2010 alone by getting them to host families in the suburbs and countryside in thirteen states. They sent 3000 more to summer camp. They gave nearly 8000 children a summer vacation the children wouldn’t have had otherwise.

This year, the Fresh Air Fund needs 850 more host families to make sure each child has a host family
. Families can host for one or two weeks in their home, and the child travels to you. Currently, thirteen states (NE seaboard) are hosting. If you live in the right area and have it in your heart, please consider hosting. If you’d like to help in other ways, here’s a link to donate, and here’s a link to the microsite, with all sorts of banners, videos and information about this amazing program.

Do you have a few minutes to watch this video about a family hosting an eight year old from NYC? You’ll be glad you did!


Day Camp for Everyone!

It is now officially summer, although summer weather’s been making an appearance on and off for the past few weeks. Summer time means a lot of different things, and now that I’m a mom to a near first-grader, summer means day camp and swimming lessons. Earlier this spring, I waded through the sea of options for MaM. It’s been two weeks, and it’s going well, which is a huge sigh of relief (today’s sunburn and lost glasses not withstanding).She’s come home tired and happy every day, and she’s even run into a few kids she knows from church and from school. She’s loving the rock climbing and swimming every day, and doesn’t even mind the imposed “quiet time”. She went to sleep tonight with dreams of their field trip to the zoo tomorrow.

Not all childcare plans pan out the way you hope, though. and that is why I’m interrupting this blog post with a PSA:

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis offers programs for kids of all ages. I had the chance to speak to YMCA rep, Tangela Floyd, on the importance of the services the Y provides. She told me that their main goal is to keep kids of all ages busy while school is out. The YMCA is a dedicated to being accessible to all, so their fees are based on income, and financial assistance is available. Kids enjoy swimming, games and many other activities, all designed for them to have a happy and healthy summer, while their parents know they are in a safe environment. We talked about the challenge of finding a place for kids in the summer when parents are at work, and how it’s not easy. The Y can even accommodate young teens, because, as Tangela said, some twelve year olds can stay at home by themselves, and some really can’t. If you are finding that you need to make some childcare arrangements for the summer, see what the Y has to offer! There are still openings in their various camps around town.

Fine print: This is the first in a series of posts on what the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has to offer. Next week, I dive into their Aquatics programs.