Children have alternatives to summer school

DOWNEY - Given that the Downey School District does not offer a summer school program for its students, many of them have become engaged in other educational and physical fitness activities. The most prominent activities this summer include YMCA sponsored events, library programs, park visits, and swimming in the Downey High School pool.The consistently popular YMCA offers affordable classes for children and teens such as gymnastics, ballet, swim lessons, jujitsu, taekwondo, hip hop, jazz and even yoga. These activities are geared toward helping the children who participate develop a positive self image as well as improving their overall physical fitness level. The summer day camp program that the YMCA offers brings together children from kindergarten through seventh grade to teach them the "six pillars of character" and facilitate their participation in weekly themed activities. The program allows the children to take field trips to the California Science Center, Disneyland, and a number of museums. Aside from the physical fitness benefits that the children enjoy from participation in the YMCA Summer Day Camp, they also learn social skills, team work, and group dynamics skills. The program is unique in that it exposes the children to many new challenges and situations that they may not experience during the academic school year. In addition to the aforementioned programs, the YMCA also enrolls children in the popular Camp Whittle. This camp includes a week long adventure in the San Bernardino Mountains, which encompasses all the typical camp activities, such as canoeing, swimming, hiking, and building camp fires. The camp also has a special program for campers ages 14 to 17 that allows them to go backpacking and rock climbing. The Downey City Library has funded its yearly "Let's Go Play" program that allows children to participate in crafts and water activities for free. This program also sponsors low cost events, such as the "Picnic in the Park" on July 17th and the "Splash Day" water balloon toss on July 30th. The library also encourages children to participate in their classes, which include Intro to Acting, Camera Tech, Chess, Creative Dancing, Drawing, Golf, Ice Skating, Bowling, and Martial Arts. Additionally, its yearly summer reading program has attracted many new patrons. On the first day of the program alone, there were 82 new library cards issued and 4,079 books checked out. Aside from helping children improve their reading skills, the program lets children attend theater performances and interact with one another to bolster their self-confidence and build social skills. Furthermore, the Downey City Library provides an arena in which middle and high school youth can give back to the community. Volunteers will have the chance to help the library with everything from its daily work to its special events, providing them with the opportunity to discover from a new vantage point the many wonderful opportunities the library affords its staff and patrons. The Downey parks have proven to be a popular place for children to go this summer. With weekly concerts in the park as well as a multitude of activities, children will never be bored for wont of plentiful entertaining pastimes. In particular, the Independence Park will provide children the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Skateboard Competition hosted by Madrid Skate. Other local parks include the Apollo Park, the Dennis the Menace Park, and the Rio San Gabriel Park. Despite the fact that school's doors are closed in the coming months, given Downey's ample variety of summer opportunities, its children will enjoy an educational and fulfilling vacation. For more information on Downey's YMCA and Library activities, visit www.ymcala.org and www.downeylibrary.org. respectively.

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12