This summer, many young people will return to summer camp. They’ll return to friends they’ve missed, counselors they loved as well as sports, games and silly songs. Some Naperville area preteens, however, will be embarking on an entirely new type of camp experience.
For two weeks in June and one in July, Naperville’s Fry Family YMCA is introducing Camp E.D.G.E. (Educate, Develop, Give, Experience). Camp E.D.G.E. is an opportunity for young people to gain volunteer experience, while learning leadership, team building, cooperation, problem solving and goal setting.
By volunteering with organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, The DuPage Children’s Museum and DuPage PADS, these young people will become aware of community and social issues like education, hunger, homelessness and the environment, and will have a hand in working to solve these issues. Along with service work, the campers will take part in team- building and leadership activities as well as activities like obstacle courses and orienteering that instill confidence and promote self esteem.
“Camp E.D.G.E. is a great opportunity for middle school kids to learn hands-on about giving back to our community,” noted Judy Ellertson, Executive Director of Fry Family YMCA and Y Sports Complex in a press release. “Having this experience will open their eyes and hearts as they see a broader picture of feeding the hungry, caring for others, green gardening and improving their environment.”
Since many schools and churches now ask their youth to complete service hours, Ellertson suggests this is “an excellent opportunity for a diverse experience that will prepare them well for high school and beyond.”
Camp E.D.G.E. sets up young people with a life-long passion for service, according to IdaLynn Wenhold, Executive Director of KidsMatter in Naperville.
Wenhold said that research shows when young people volunteer in their early years, they are more likely to volunteer later in life, especially when they serve alongside adult role models.
“Camp E.D.G.E. not only provides fun opportunities for growth and service, but it inspires them to make serving others a part of their lives,” Wehhold added.
The inaugural season of Camp E.D.G.E is sponsored by Naperville Bank & Trust and The Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise. Campers will join Sunrise Rotarians in the club’s annual Clean Sweep project, this year benefiting Little Friends.
Camp E.D.G.E. is now registering middle school students in grades 6-8 for the weeks of June 11-15, June 18-22, and July 9-13. Campers may register for one, two or all three weeks. Camp E.D.G.E. is a fee-based camp but scholarships may be available for families in need. No child is ever excluded from Y activities due to an inability to pay. Parents need to register their children for the camp before it starts.
For more information contact Fry Family YMCA Youth and Family Director, Claudia Langoni at email@example.com or call (630) 579-5704.