TAMPA - Summer camp is more than just a few weeks of fun at the Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA. It's about fun, but it's also about learning lessons they can use in life.
"This is a great place for a great family atmosphere," said Carlos Alvarez, director of program activities for the YMCA on Waters Avenue. "We have something for everyone, from swimming to basketball, and we have other ways to teach the kids. It's a great setup."
While the YMCA offers plenty of activities, Alvarez said the YMCA is offering something new this year. It is called the "Stop, Drop and Read" exercise. For every activity, the kids are urged to stop their activity and read for 15 minutes. The books are distributed by camp instructors and, after their 15 minutes, they go back to the activity. The Stop, Drop and Read sessions last for 15 minutes and are held twice during a one-hour activity.
This year, the YMCA is also starting an ISR program (Infant Swimming Rescue). It's all about teaching infants how to recover in case of an emergency.
"In Florida, you need to know how to swim or at least save yourself in case of an emergency," Alvarez said. "It's important to teach kids and we are looking forward to starting it."
The YMCA summer camp begin on June 10 and officially runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but parents can drop their kids off as early as 7 a.m. and pick them up as late as 6:30 p.m.
There are activities for everyone, ranging from athletic camps, aquatics camps, pre-school camp, and many more. A Princess Camp will be held for girls who want to spend a week living as a princess in a fairy tale, and young artists can register for the Painting Like Picasso program. There are plenty of other unique programs, and they don't stay within the confines of the YMCA. Field trips are planned for the Lowry Park Zoo, MOSI, and more are soon to be announced.
Alvarez said the summer program has only just begun.
"We have big plans this summer and it is going to be a huge success," Alvarez said. "It is going to be a fun summer."
For more information on the YMCA summer camp, call (813) 249-8510. The YMCA is at 8950 W. Waters Ave.