New YMCA Camp FLY drives increased day camp enrollment in 2012

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee today announced day camp enrollment increased in 2012 due to the success of the Y’s new Camp FLY (Fun Learning for Youth) program. Camp FLY, funded in part by a $50,000 Wells Fargo donation, was launched this summer to help prevent summer learning loss in children ages 4 to 15 by weaving educational concepts together with fun activities to keep kids learning throughout the summer.

More than 420 day campers were enrolled at the Northside and John C. Cudahy YMCAs – where Camp FLY was offered – a 125 percent increase over 2011 enrollment at these Centers.

“Wells Fargo is proud to sponsor Camp FLY at the Y. Improving literacy for children and young adults is the gateway to self-sufficiency,” said Julie Behling, community support representative for Wells Fargo. “We are happy to partner with the Y to ensure all children have access to the tools they need to address the summer learning loss so many kids experience.”

A growing body of evidence shows that summer leaning loss is detrimental to schools’ educational efforts – particularly among lower income youth. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University shows the 9th grade achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged youth can be explained by what happens during the students’ summer months. The study shows that most students lose the grade level equivalent of two months in math skills and reading achievement over the summer. The Y’s program is being offered to help offset this gap at an earlier stage in a child’s education.

“Summer break means no school for most kids, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop learning,” said Bob Yamachika, president and chief executive officer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “At the Y, we know schools and parents alone cannot provide the support these children need. It takes a collaborative approach to maintain and grow children’s educational capacity over the summer months.”

The goal of Camp FLY is to ensure that children go back to school with the confidence to take on challenges, the social skills to function in large groups, and a desire for learning. The academic progress of campers will be measured later this month.

In addition to financial support, Wells Fargo provided volunteers who helped bring the Camp FLY curriculum to life by teaching financial literacy to the campers.

“Teachers, child care providers, camp counselors, Wells Fargo and other funders, and parents all hold one common belief: learning is good, and even more learning is better,” said Yamachika. For more information about Camp FLY, visit http://www.ymcamke.org/campfly.