When organizers at the Fry Family YMCA began planning summer camps this year, they looked at how to engage 6th, 7th and 8th graders with a stimulating and rewarding summer activity. What they came up with was a way to build esteem, leadership and compassion in young teens while showing them the benefits of giving back to their community. Camp E.D.G.E. (Educate, Develop, Give, Experience) was born.
“Kids this age are typically pretty self-involved,” wrote camp director Sean Roe. “While that can be a good thing, they also can learn a lot about themselves by discovering the impact they can have helping others. We hope this program will help them grow as leaders and good team- players while they learn about the various needs in our area.”
The camp will allow campers to volunteer packing meals at Feed My Starving Children, work on the floor of the DuPage Children’s Museum, build lunch kits for guests of DuPage PADS, garden on the grounds of Naper Settlement and learn about sustainable living at the Green Earth Institute. Later this month they will join Naperville Sunrise Rotary in the club’s annual Clean Sweep program, working on home-fix up for a Little Friends group home in Naperville. In July they will help District 204 deliver refurbished computers to a number of schools across the District.
Sunrise Rotary is one of two organizations that stepped up to sponsor the new camp’s first season. “‘Service above Self’ is the motto for Rotarians. Sponsoring a program like Camp EDGE helps promote these young individuals with a Pay it Forward philosophy,” says Chris Kerstin, President of the Rotary Club of Naperville, Sunrise. “Through programs like Camp EDGE, we are enriching our communities, not only from the efforts of the participants, but through enriching their futures with volunteering experiences.”
Naperville Bank & Trust is also a first-year sponsor of Camp EDGE.
Campers will also challenge themselves with activities including canoeing, hiking and orienteering as well as team-building and creative problem solving games and activities. They will keep journals of their experiences and engage in discussion with adult leaders to reflect on their experiences.
“This is a camp to grow kids’ skills, their hearts and their souls,” said Roe. “We hope they will return to their schools, their friends and their families with a new outlook about who they are and what they can accomplish.”
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.
For more information contact Fry Family YMCA Youth and Family Director, Claudia Langoni at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 579-5704.