Cassville YMCA kicks off summer with day camps

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Week-long camps featuring field trips start May 23

The Cassville YMCA will begin offering week-long summer day camps for area children throughout the summer, beginning on May 23.

The camps will run all summer, with the last day on Aug. 12, and will offer a wide range of fun, structured activities for children, and feature two exciting field trips each week, which are included in camp pricing.

Children from age 6 out of kindergarten through sixth grades are eligible to attend.

"Our camps are really good because we're the only camp in town that goes on field trips every week to take kids places that they don't normally get to go," said Rick Ragsdale, YMCA program director. "We explore the entire Ozarks region. We do two field trips a week, usually on Tuesday and Thursday. This year, some of the places we will go include the Amazeum in Bentonville, Ark., the Tulsa, Okla., zoo, Skyzone in Springfield, a Naturals baseball game in Springdale, Ark., canoe trips, and The Track in Branson."

Drop-off times begin at 7 a.m. and and pick up times are 5:45 p.m.

Two camp groups will be offered: the Rangers, which include completed grades kindergarten through second grades, and the Challengers, which include completed grades third through sixth.

Ragsdale said the camps provide structured activities throughout the day, and children will also get to visit the Cassville pool twice a week, which opens May 28.

"We do different activities with them through the day, and most of the time, [both age groups] do trips together, then separate off," Ragsdale said. "For instance, we'll go laser-tagging with the older kids, while the little ones play glow golf. Or, during the canoe trip for the older campers, the little ones will go to the Discovery Center."

Meals are as follows:

A free breakfast is served from 7:45-8:30 a.m., campers bring their own sack lunch, and a snack will be served at 3:30 p.m., all of which is included in camp pricing, which is $100-per-week for non-members, and $80-per-week for members.

Ragsdale said financial aid is available, as well as state-licensed aid for foster children. Families can also apply for a YMCA scholarship for up to 50 percent off of the non-member price.

Families have the option of attending one week, two weeks, or all summer long, as their schedule allows.

"We charge week-by-week," Ragsdale said. "We have some families that just sign up for the week we do the canoe trip, because they like that, but we have kids that come every day, and kids that come one week."

Ragsdale emphasized that the camp program cares for children and keeps them safe during the day in the same manner a day care would, but the difference is it more like a camp.

"We call ours a camp because we run it like a camp," he said. "We have themed weeks and go on trips. We have structured activities from the time they get there until the time they're picked up. Parents can drop their kids off and know they're fed, watched, and taken care of until they pick them up. So we provide the same service [as a day care would], we just do it differently. It's a camp experience."

Archery Tag and tournaments are also in the lineup for summer fun.

"It's basically like dodge ball with bows and arrows," Ragsdale said. Specific dates and details have not yet been determined.

For more information on summer day camps, call 417-846-1535. To apply, families should go into the Cassville YMCA and fill out an application to get registered.

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