YMCA hosts Quest and Summer Scholars Programs

Students from low-income families often start school unprepared. Despite progressing at the same rates during the school year, gaps widen each summer and students fall further behind their peers. The gap culminates in low high school graduation and college attainment rates, limited job prospects and negative economic impact. This gap is referred to as the Achievement Gap, or Summer Slide.

Providing children with learning opportunities over the summer months is crucial to their educational success. Through the Greater Scranton YMCA’s summer learning loss prevention programs, QUEST and Summer Scholars, the Y makes a profound impact in combating the achievement gap. These programs allow the Y to provide children with the tools and resources they need to succeed at the start of their next school year.

“For years, the Greater Scranton YMCA has worked to combat the achievement gap and provide all children in our community with the tools and resources needed to continue developing academically during the summer,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Here at the Y, we understand the pivotal role summer learning programs play in the academic development of students and we are so proud to continue providing our community with these invaluable resources.”

QUEST is a learning program integrated into our summer day camp. The program serves all campers in kindergarten through eighth grades and is offered at no additional cost. QUEST is held four days per week. Week one includes pre-testing, weeks two through eight are program weeks and week nine includes post-testing. During each of the four days per week the program is held, children filter through different subjects and engage in hands-on activities.

Summer Scholars is a free research-based and research-proven five-week summer learning program with a goal to get elementary students on track to read at or above grade level by the start of their next school year. In some cases, participants will have the opportunity to exceed grade level expectations. This summer, the program is serving rising first and second grade students attending the Mid Valley and Dunmore School Districts. Breakfast and lunch are provided. Since the program began in 2016, more than 180 students have been served.

Summer Scholars includes 2.5 hours of literacy in the morning, followed by lunch and enrichment in the afternoon. Students also take trips to the Greater Scranton YMCA for use of the pools. The program is instructed by certified teachers, as well as Y staff.

QUEST and Summer Scholars are Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) approved EIO Programs. The programs are supported by the United Way of Lackawanna & Wayne Counties, Fidelity Deposit & Discount Bank, UGI Utilities, Peoples Security Bank & Trust Charitable Fund, Pride Mobility, the PPL Foundation and proceeds from the Annual Harry P. McGrath Memorial Golf Tournament & Dinner Celebration.

To learn more about summer learning loss prevention at the Greater Scranton YMCA, contact Trish at tfisher@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3130.

Grant Money to Support Aquatics Staffing at YMCA

Shown at a check presentation are from left: Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants & Scholarship Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA; Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton YMCA, and Frank Caputo, Grants & Communications Coordinator, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The Greater Scranton YMCA has been awarded a $14,000 Community Needs Grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. The grant will support aquatics staffing at the YMCA.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA was able to fully staff both pools in its facility and offer 283 swim lessons per session. Currently, the YMCA is only able to offer 183 swim lessons per session, a reduction of more than 600 swim lessons annually. The biggest loss, though, has been to our community, as learning to swim is one of the most important life lessons a child can learn.

This grant award from the Scranton Area Community Foundation will allow the YMCA to increase lifeguard pay rates with the goal of attracting more staff, as well as retaining existing staff who need a pay increase. Adding more team members to the aquatics department will directly impact the YMCA’s capacity to provide needed services to our community, including offering an increased number of life-saving swim lessons annually, making more pool time available to members and guests, and ensuring the resources are available to implement more youth, adult and family programming.

“It’s because of the generosity and support of community partners like the Scranton Area Community Foundation that the Greater Scranton YMCA is able to serve so many members of our community,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “We are confident this grant award will allow our YMCA to better serve our community through aquatics programming!”

For more information about aquatics programming at the Greater Scranton YMCA< contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 828- 3112.

Healthy Kids Day the YMCA

The Greater Scranton YMCA is hosting the Y’s annual Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, May 21, encouraging families to take a moment to help kids be kids and set them up for a summer of success. Sponsored by Howard Johnson  by Wyndham, the day-long event will feature activities such as a petting zoo, rides, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, a kid’s fun run and more to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home.

The event will take place at the Y’s facility, located at 706 N. Blakely Street, Dunmore, from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. The Kids Fun Run (pre- registration not required) will begin with the 3-5-year-old race from 10:30-10:40 a.m. followed by ages 6-9 from 10:45-10:55 a.m. and the 10-14-year-old race from 11- 11:10 a.m. Additional features of the day include a petting zoo, rides, vendor fair, face painting, healthy cooking demonstrations and more.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022, Healthy Kids Day is the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. The Y hopes to use the day to get more kids moving and learning, creating healthy habits they can continue while they’re away from the classroom. 

When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than during the school year. With all that’s going on in the world right now, Healthy Kids Day is a reminder to families that we can help ensure all children have access to what they need to reach their full potential, even during out-of-school time.

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:

High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend for healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.

 Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants—and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.

Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.

Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.

Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, and learning.
Locally, Healthy Kids Day is sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Community Bank, Johnson, Matrix Fitness, Rainey & Rainey CPA, Topp Business Solutions, Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates, Brucelli Advertising and NET Credit Union.
For more information, contact Brandon Whipple, Wellness Director, at bwhipple@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 828-3116 or visit the Y online at http://www.greaterscrantonymca.org.