SUMMER EXPENSES:9-week YMCA summer programs too expensive for some;Apr 17th, 2012 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
With summer rapidly approaching, many Plaquemines Parish parents are looking for affordable activities for keeping their children busy in the coming months. Unfortunately, there are few options this year for families on a budget.
Corey Buie, Superintendent of the Plaquemines Parish Parks and Recreation Department, explained that he would love to have summer day camps, but there is no indoor facility available that could house such an initiative, and would not want to keep kids outside all day during the brutal summer heat.
The parish’s YMCA locations in Port Sulphur, Davant and Buras are offering 8-week camps that will allow kids of various ages to participate in sports, art, culinary camps and more. The cost of the camp is $50 per week, however the organization is working on securing vouchers for parents in need of financial assistance.
“Each week has a different theme,” said Ariana Williams of the Port Sulphur YMCA. “One week may be food, the other may be music, the other may be sports.”
The Port Sulphur camp starts June 11, while the Buras and Davant camps start May 29. Williams said they will know if the vouchers are secured in the weeks leading to the start of camp.
The eight-week cost for a single child totals $400.
The Belle Chasse YMCA is also offering summer camps for various ages. There is a pre-K camp that runs June 4 – August 3 for 3 – 4 year olds who are potty trained. The cost is $100 per week for members. There is a K – 5 summer camp that runs from May 29 – August 10. Activities include sports, swimming, art & crafts, and several field trips (some field trips to out-of-parish locations cost up to $10). Cost for this camp is $100 per week.
For older children in 6th – 8th grades, there is a Counselor-In-Training Camp that according to Julie Olsen of the Belle Chasse YMCA, “allows kids to shadow counselors and gives them an opportunity to develop leadership and job skills, while still being able to do fun stuff like attend various field trips we offer.” Cost for this camp is $150 per week, or $1,350 per child for an 9-week session– a cost many parents find exclusionary.
As a single-mother of four, Brandi Ragas expressed concern in a Letter to the Editor, printed on page A-4, that there was no affordable summer camp options for parents, as the YMCA “only accommodates the wealthy or rich people in the parish.”
The Belle Chasse YMCA says they offer financial assistance for membership costs on a case-by-case basis, and can offer income-based reduced rates to qualified applicants. Interested parties should contact the Belle Chasse YMCA at 504.392.9622.
One bright spot in affordability is the Plaquemines Parish Library reading programs. The free programs will be held at all three branches in the parish: Buras, Port Sulphur and Belle Chasse. Visit your local library to learn how to register. The program begins June 11.