Marco Y camps blend creativity, learning and physical activities


Elementary school student Chloe Doxsee summed up the attraction of summer camp at the Greater Marco Family YMCA as being the opposite of school. By that, she meant there's not only plenty of fun and creativity in the social programs, but also the educational side.

"They made math into a game today," said Doxsee, who later unwound with young fellow campers on the final day of the first week of camp in a frenetic treasure hunt.

The object of the game was to find boxes hidden in and around the Y's airnasium. They were originally part of a totem pole to fit the week's "tribal" theme.

When found and opened, the boxes contained questions that the young campers had to answer. One, for example asked them to recite the Y's mission.

It is: "(putting) Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all."

Camps for K through 5th Grade students (as well as for middle school students at MICMS and at Manatee and Parkside elementary schools) run through the end of July, and school-age manager Charlene Garcia says things are running smoothly.

Campers cluster around boxes that made up a totem pole, and were later used in a treasure hunt.

"We're seeing a lot of new faces; the kids seem happy and they're getting lots of social interaction," Garcia said.

Schoolteacher Michelle Williams, she said, is ably handling the math and reading educational aspect.

Each camp week has a theme, the first of which was "Tribal," while this week's was the World of Disney.

Upcoming themes include Artful Antics, Wacky Spirit and Travel Through Time, each with related crafts and games.

Supervision is tight, with camp counselors Catera Isme, Chelsea Casabona, Kalli Jacobs, Victoria Rose and Allyson Maggio in turn under the supervision of camp director Irene Lopez and co-director Maria Gomez. Both are hands-on as well.

The Y's website invitation to attend camps also sums up their attraction for young students.

"(They) share one thing: they’re about discovery. Children have the opportunity to explore nature, find new talents, try new activities, gain independence, and make lasting friendships and memories," the site says.

In addition to on-campus activities, there are also plenty of field trips that include visits to the Naples Zoo, Delnor Wiggins State Park and the Naples Botanical Gardens.

Specialist camps are theater (with director Gina Sisbarro); a diabetic children's camp; Tennis & Splash; SCUBA and basketball. Prices are separate.

Marco weekly camp costs are $80 for members ($90 non-members), and full-summer options are also available. Drop-ins are also welcome.

Camps are closed July 4.

For full details on summer camps, or for the wide variety of programs and activities for youth and adults, visit (get the app for convenience) or call 394-3144.