CLOSURE UPDATE: Per mandate from Governor Polis, and because it is the right thing to do, our facilities are closed. Check here for COVID-19 updates. We are running emergency childcare for any family who needs care.

Letter From The CEO: July 2016

Jul 6, 2016, 09:35 AM by

Recently there was an article in The New York Times about the summer and how it is not as idyllic for some families as it is for others.

"Those who can’t afford camps or summer learning programs cobble together care from family members or friends, or are forced to leave children home alone. Self-care for 6- to 12-year-olds increases during the summer months, with 11 percent of children spending an average of 10 hours a week on their own," the writer posits.

My kids are lucky. I work at the Y, so we get discounted camps all summer. My kids have had full summers that they will remember for their entire lifetime.

However, day camp costs more than a couple of hundred bucks a week. Multiply that by 10 weeks, and you get a pretty large bill. For families in need, families that already have a tough time getting by, that's just too much. As the article says, "In summer, the lack of affordable child care and the achievement gap collide for lower income families."

As you may know, the Y offers financial assistance for families that qualify, and we like to say that we never turn a child away because of their inability to pay. But this summer is different. We are getting more financial assistance requests than we can handle. So far this summer, we are set to give away $80,000 more than normal!

Because many of our financial assistance families are requesting aid for multiple weeks, the need is adding up. So much so that we are now limiting the number of weeks that we can provide financial assistance to new applicants. So far, we can get each child into our programs with the help of financial assistance — just not for the amount of time mom needs us to take them.

That is a problem for us and for the community.

The economy is better, so everyone is working. That leaves kids at home alone during the summer, which is not good for them. Kids do shenanigans, and they suffer from summer learning loss, and they don’t eat or exercise well. Remember how we used to just toss our kids out the door and say, "Be back by dinner"? We don’t do that anymore. When we are at work and have no resources, we then tell our children to stay inside and do what? Screen time! The kids love that, but the rest of us know what that means developmentally. However, how do we blame the parents who are trying to pay the rent, role model a great work ethic and feed the kids? That's when nobody wins.

However, I can make it so everyone wins. I simply need your help. Please send a child to camp this summer. We are calling it Project 403, and it's a fundraising campaign that will run through the summer to help us support this increase in need. Every dollar donated will directly support our campers, and for every $200 we are given, we can send a kid to camp for a whole week. During camp, they are active, go on field trips, swim, have reading time every day and just have a lot of fun. You can donate online or at our front desks.

Email me if you have questions about the number of scholarships we get or what our needs are,

ymca-ceo-letterThank you, Chris Coker CEO/President of YMCA of Boulder Valle

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