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July 2017 Scripture of the Month

June 30, 2017

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” —  2 Corinthians 5:7

June 2017 Scripture of the Month

June 1, 2017

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” —  John 15:5

Four Easy Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

May 31, 2017

Keeping youth fully engaged throughout June, July and August can prevent what educators refer to as “summer slide”. This common phenomenon refers to the loss of math and literacy skills when young minds are not engaged outside of school. In fact, youth can lose up to three months of these skills during the summer, which means their back-to-school performance is behind where they ended in the spring.

Summer slide is especially common in low-income communities where access to reading materials is more limited. Organizations from across the country have risen to meet this challenge through the creation of innovative, evidence-based summer learning loss prevention programs that work to eradicate the achievement gap and help all youth have the #BestSummerEver.

As youth development staff and volunteers, we believe that all children have potential and that it is our responsibility to nurture this potential so  that all kids, regardless of household income, can achieve success in school and in life. Summer learning loss efforts make us truly responsive to the diverse needs of our community.

Even if you don’t take part in one of our YMCA programs, here are four great ways to keep kids learning and growing all summer long:

  1. Explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM): You don’t need a lab coat or a Bunsen burner to implement activities that help to promote critical  thinking. Have fun exploring chemistry in the kitchen, take your kids on a nature scavenger hunt at a local park or spark learning about polymers by mixing corn starch and water to make ooblek! Always be sure to encourage your kids to observe, question, plan and investigate, analyze and communicate findings as they engage in new activities.
  2. Read Together: The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants – and 30 minutes of reading a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library, or create a reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading and encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
  3. Master Mathematics: Practicing fractions through baking, learning about basic computation through cooperative game playing and creating art projects involving tactile math are just some of the ways to make math magical this summer. Even the youngest children can get involved by playing games that involve pattern and sequence.
  4. Become Global Citizens: Exploring the amazing diversity of our own community can lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of cultures, or attend a festival celebrating countries youth would like to learn more about.

Combining beloved summer fun with engaging learning keeps youth interested and engaged all summer long, so they return to school in the fall on track and ready to learn more.


Keeping Kids on Track This Summer

May 31, 2017

When school ends, many children from low-income families lose access to resources important for positive development such as nutritious meals, adult supervision and activities that keep them engaged mentally.

Time away from school can contribute to the academic disparity that exists between children from low-income households , who often begin school less prepared, and their peers. Without intervention, the gap – know as the Achievement  Gap – widens, and kids from low-income backgrounds fall further behind.

As a leading nonprofit for youth development, the Y works to help all kids reach their fullest potential, nurturing their positive social-emotional, cognitive and physical development. Through the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program, the Y provides literacy and enrichment opportunities so children can build their academic skills, develop greater confidence in their abilities and get a strong start to the school year.

Studies show that by fifth grade, children from low-income households are on average two to three grade levels behind in reading compared to kids from middle-income households. In contrast, children who participated in the Y’s six-week Summer Learning Loss Prevention program in 2014 gained between two to three months in reading skills. Ninety-nine percent of caregivers agreed the program helped increase children’s reading skills, and 98 percent said it improved children’s attitudes about school.

In 2016, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana served 100 kids through the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program. Other summer youth programs offered at our Y also incorporate these academic principles. To learn more about Y programs that help kids learn, grow and thrive during the summer, view this short video ».

Picnic at the Y This June

May 11, 2017

Join us on Saturday, June 10th from 12-3PM at the Dunigan Family YMCA for a day of summer fun with games and activities for the whole family. This members-only picnic party will feature carnival-style games like the Fishbowl, the Strongman, Javelin throw, Maze, Fishing Hole, Bean Bag Toss, Basketball Shoot, Dunk Tank, Cornhole, Beach Volleyball, and Disc Golf. We’ll be serving up festival fare like Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Snowcones, and Drinks to keep this carnival cool for the summer. Be sure to bring your chairs and blankets to enjoy the day! This members-only event is limited so register your family today before spots fill up! Register at the front desk or online by June 8th. We hope to see you there!

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