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In the Classroom: Summer shapes up nicely

Kids stay active and have fun at YMCA day camp.

June 29, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu, michael.arvizu@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson )

At Glendale YMCA's annual summer day camp, summer means getting out of the house and hitting the park on Fridays or going to Raging Waters, the Santa Monica Pier, El Capitan and Universal Studios on Wednesdays, in addition to activities at the campus.

"Our camp is three days indoor, two days outdoor," said camp Director Saleh Saleh. "It's a different environment. They get to actually be here and do what they want to do. Being in school all year, some of these kids don't come to the parks often. This is a perfect time for them."

The camp instills positive values in kids by teaching them good habits, like getting out and exercising instead of just sitting at home all day, he added.

The camp, which hosts up to 30 kids, features water games, free-play time and cookouts.

"I think it's going to be fun and exciting," said first-time summer day camper David Gedelekyan, a 6-year-old student at Columbus Elementary.

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Co-assistant director Tatevik Melkymyan said outdoor activities give kids the chance to be active outside of the YMCA. They can be rowdy and play as hard as they want without fear that they will knock something over, she said.

"Out here, they get along very well," Melkymyan said. "Most of them go to school together, so they know each other. Being outside, I think it gives them more energy."

The exercise also gives the students a chance to have fun, she said — the kids don't even know that they're exercising. And playing on a jungle gym is far more exciting than hitting a treadmill, Melkymyan said.

"I go to sleep really fast afterward," said YMCA summer day camper Mackenzi Berlin, 11.

Tina Mesropian's family doesn't frequent parks enough, she said, so they spend most of their time at the homes of family members. Being at the YMCA summer day camp allows her to spend time on the jungle gym with friends.

"We get to come to the park, eat hot dogs and pizzas," Mesropian said.

The YMCA summer day camp is one in a series available to students throughout the summer. The nonprofit also offers camps for youth and teens, and for potential counselors at Camp Fox on Catalina Island.

"Go out, have your fresh air, make friends," said camper Kirk Mardirosian, 9. "People who are over their weight, they need to get out and exercise."

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