YMCA Day Camp is an experience every child deserves. And there's nothing quite like watching a child's face light up with the joy of discovering new friends, the pride of accomplishment, and the wonder that nature offers. Unplugged from the constant buzz of computers, television, video games, and cell phones, children find themselves at camp - making genuine connections with other children, rediscovering the fun in physical fitness, learning their own strengths, and finding their own voices.

Camp is one of the few places where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression, and true participation in a community environment. It is a valuable resource for giving children the value of belonging to a community of their own. "Camp connects children to authentic relationships that afford friendships, understanding, and appreciation for one another and the global community," says Joe Marciszyn, Y Senior Program Director.

Multiple studies have identified social development as the primary predictor of life success, including academic success, and have identified several critical skills contributing to life success. This research has concluded these skills include:

1) communicating effectively

2) ability to work cooperatively with others

3) emotional self-control and appropriate expression

4) empathy and perspective taking

5) optimism, humor, self-awareness,

6) ability to plan and set goals

7) solving problems and resolving conflicts thoughtfully and non-violently, and

8) brining a reflective, learning-to-learning approach to life situations (Ellas and Weissberg, 2000; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, and Walberg, 2004).

"Whether it is our campers or our staff I know of no greater institution to effectively meet these needs," says Joe Marciszyn, Y Senior Program Director. Peg Smith, CEO of the American Camp Association, recently claimed "the camp experience is well tested, viable learning environment that contributes to the overall health and development of children, youth, and adults."

Summit Area Y offers day camps for preschoolers, youth and teens, including teen leadership, teen trek, sports, and enrichment camps. All camps are run out of the Y facilities in Summit, Springfield and Berkeley Heights, and on location in Watchung Reservation in Mountainside.

For more information about our camp programs, financial assistance for camp, and to register online, visit www.summitareaymca.org or call Joe Marciszyn, Senior Program Director, 908-273-3330 x 148.

The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area's largest charities. No one is turned away from life-enhancing YMCA programs because of the inability to pay. If you need financial assistance, ask any Y staff member how to apply. If you can help us help others, visit our website www.summitareaymca.org