Beginning Nov. 30, YMCA of the Pines will operate a full-day licensed childcare program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade at their camp facility located at 1303 Stokes Road in Medford for students on their remote learning days. Following a successful summer camp season with zero reported cases of COVID-19, the nonprofit is excited to launch a quality, affordable childcare program that parents can count on during the COVID-19 crisis.
Their goal is to bridge the gap in the community by offering a safe childcare option for families struggling to adapt to changing virtual and in-person school schedules. The on-site childcare is open to the general public and they plan to build on the success of their School’s Out Before and After School Program which offers childcare for students at eight YMCA partner schools.
The remote-learning program operates weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and YMCA of the Pines will provide an afternoon snack (students are responsible for packing their own breakfast/lunch). They will utilize indoor spaces for school work, arts and crafts, and other socially-distanced activities, and a few hundred acres of outdoor space for games, hikes, STEM activities and more.
Chief Operating Officer Greg Keresztury explains, “Families need our help now more than ever. Even though we are a couple months into the school year, many parents are still searching for a reliable childcare solution that fits their needs and provides a safe, supportive environment where kids can thrive. Our program not only allows children to complete their online learning, it also provides an opportunity for much needed physical activity, socialization and fun.”
Students will bring their school work and personal electronic device (Chromebook, iPad, etc.) and staff will assist with lessons in the morning and any additional homework in the afternoon. Students will receive short “brain breaks” in the morning where they can go outside to stretch, and on inclement weather days will have access to various toys and games for breaks.
The program will follow all current guidelines from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. School Age Child Care Director Becca Gutwirth stated, “Students will submit to a health screening daily, including having their temperature taken upon arrival.” She adds, “We will also follow extensive safety requirements such as limiting groups to 15 or fewer students, daily health screenings, mask-wearing and enhanced sanitization procedures.”
The nonprofit organization also recently launched a $50,000 fundraising campaign to help meet the unprecedented demand for childcare. Chief Executive Officer Mark Dibble shares, “We are seeking community heroes to help support this initiative. Due to increased ratios for staff, increased cleaning costs and longer hours, our cost per child is skyrocketing. We are fully committed to supporting families and their children, and we are actively seeking our community’s help.”
Registration is open and spots will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parents interested in enrolling their children should register online at ycamp.org/Register. State-sponsored financial aid is available to all families earning less than $150,000 per year. Families can apply online at childcarenj.gov/COVID19.
For more information about the childcare program, contact Becca Gutwirth at Becca@ycamp.org or 609-654-8225 ext. 1520.
About YMCA of the Pines
YMCA of the Pines is an interfaith, charitable association dedicated to helping children, teens and families explore, grow, thrive and ultimately become the best version of themselves. It is located on 800 acres off Stokes Road in Medford, NJ. For more information, visit www.ycamp.org, call 609-654-8225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.