School may be out of the picture for two weeks, but local children still have plenty of opportunities to continue their education over spring break.
Through April 4, local organizations will be providing a multitude of activities for children during what would normally be considered school hours.
This week and next, the Jamestown YMCA is hosting its spring break activities program from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Known as "Y Kids Spring Recess Day Camp," each day consists of a different activity, and several days feature off-site trips.
A group of students pause from playing basketball during recreation time at the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown’s spring break program.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
According to Gina Bloomquist, school age and family director at the YMCA, the day camp is an opportunity for children to experience new things while providing a convenient option for working parents.
"I think it's just a great place," she said. "(Day camp) is an opportunity for parents to have a safe place for their kids to be so they don't have to take off of work. (The kids) get to do some activities that they don't normally get to do. So we try to have some fun, exciting activities that will have the community want to come and join us."
She added: "One of the most important things is that a lot of these kids aren't able to go away for spring break. So it gives them something to do. But the number one focus is that they want to come and have some fun with their friends."
The various activities offered by the YMCA's day camp include Zumba exercising, Easter egg coloring and hunting, a pizza party courtesy of Honest John's, an obstacle course, swimming and a visit from members of the Erie Traveling Zoo. The day camp also includes trips to Splash Lagoon, Chuck E. Cheese, the Chautauqua Children's Safety Village and Jamestown Bowling Company.
Bloomquist said that the day camp accepts kids from ages 5 to 12.
"Usually they have to be in school," she said. "So anywhere from kindergarten through seventh or eighth grade, depending on what the age (of the student) is."
There are no activities scheduled for Friday, as the YMCA is closed in observance of Good Friday.
The Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown is also hosting activities over the two-week spring break period. This year's schedule features individually-themed days, with corresponding activities.
Dianne Woleen, assistant executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, also cited the affordable convenience of allowing working parents to leave their kids in a safe environment.
"Every area is well staffed, we offer a wide variety of activities and we serve a hot meal every day," she said. "So I think having those options for parents, especially those who are working, is very important. You can get in for $1 a day or $15 for a whole year. We really work to be bully-free-all of our staff are trained in anti-bullying and how to deal in conflict solutions. So we make all of those activities available in a safe, positive environment."
According to Woleen, the club welcomes any kids from age 5 to 18 into its spring break program, and can expect between 160 and 200 kids per day.
"It's important to know that the staff knows the names of almost all of those kids that walk through the door," she said. "So we're connected to them, connected to their families and parents feel safe leaving them here."
The themes for the club's spring break program include: pajama day, inside out day, crazy hat day, circus day, egg-citing day, western day, mismatch day, team sports day, crazy hair day and "last hurrah."
The program runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday during both weeks. For more information on these local spring break activity programs, contact the Jamestown YMCA at 664-2802, or the Boys and Girls Club at 664-2902.