Camp Hazen YMCA fall program helps parents struggling to manage work, virtual learning for their kids

Connecticut Families

CHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — A summer camp in Chester is extending their care options through the school year to help working families with their kids’ virtual learning.

“We know that families are struggling,” says Denise Learned, Executive Director of Camp Hazen, an independent YMCA camp in Chester. It’s offering a unique way to help working moms and dads handle virtual learning when school begins.

The program is called Fall Camp Care.

“It’s a way we can support them, take some of the burden off them and help their kids get school work done during the day,” explains Learned.

The local school district, Region 4, has opted for a hybrid model. So, on days when kids are supposed to learn from home, they can go to the camp instead. Learned says it’s like a supervised study hall.

“Most kids will be coming with their own Chrome Books or other laptops and we’ll be providing access to the internet,” she adds.

Staff – not educators – will assist kids in staying on track and contacting teachers with questions. Children from around the region – in kindergarten through 8th grade – are welcome in the program, approved by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

“We have kids coming from Saybrook, Haddam, Killingworth,” she explains. “We have one coming from Middletown.”

After lessons, students will enjoy all the camp grounds have to offer. “Whether it’s volleyball, basketball or soccer…we’ll keep kids outside as much as we can,” says Learned.

Summer day camp has gone well, servicing more kids than usual during the pandemic.

Abby Mikolinski, 10, loves her time here: “I didn’t know if my best friends from camp would be coming this year because of COVID but most of them did come…I hope the school year will be kind of normal because I like to be able to go outside and play with my friends.”

Learned says the camp is ready to pivot and adapt and do what’s needed to help folks through this uncertain time.

“This is a way that Camp Hazen can be a real important part of our community going forward,” she says.

The three-day program costs $210.00 a week which includes lunch and before/aftercare. Financial assistance is also available.

Click here for more information.

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