Oskaloosa.com

May 15, 2013

YMCA focused on collaboration for youth

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA —

There's a lot going on at the Mahaska County YMCA.

Dawn Collins, Mahaska County YMCA executive director, said in 2012 they focused on solidifying relationships with agencies they collaborate with and developing new relationships, as well.

“I really enjoy working with others and with other organizations to more affectively meet our community needs,” said Collins. “I think everybody benefits when we can work together and share resources.”

There has also been work toward strengthening preschool programing locally, said Collins.

As they have done in the past, the Mahaksa County YMCA is focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

As far as youth development goes, the Mahaska County YMCA is combining their school-age program with Kids Korner this summer.

“So, our summer camp will be combined this summer and we're really excited about that,” said Collins.

Children involved in the summer camp will be at the former Webster school in Oskaloosa, where the Y's preschool is located. Campers will still go to the YMCA to swim, to Edmundson Park and the pool there each week, explained Collins. They'll also go on a few field trips through the YMCA.

“Every year we go to Adventureland, Russell Wildlife, the Science Center of Iowa and all different kinds of places,” Collins said. “We just have a fun, fun summer planned for the kids.”

It's not just Oskaloosa residents that use the Mahaska County YMCA. Collins said there are people from throughout Mahsaka County and surrounding counties that use their facility.

The YMCA also offers scholarships for families in need of assistance to pay for summer camp, said Collins.

A 21st Century grant will be benefitting the local area soon. Collins said the Y will work with the Oskaloosa School District and with Kids Korner with this grant. This will transform the after school programing that the Y and the school district have both offered in the past, said Collins.

“So, basically, we're taking both of our after school programs that we've offered before and taking the best pieces of those and creating a new program starting next school year.”

Collins expects the program to be successful because they are blending a few different funding streams. She also noted that some students will be able to be part of the program at no cost because of these funding streams. About 100 children will be served through this program, added Collins.

The children in the program will be in smaller groups taught by a number of teachers with a one to 15 or one to 20 ratio, explained Collins.

To learn more about the Mahaska County YMCA, visit http://www.mahaskaymca.org.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.