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Sewickley YMCA, Center for Hope team up for summer camp in Ambridge

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:17 p.m.

The Sewickley Valley YMCA and the Center for Hope have teamed up to provide the first Y summer camp for children in the Ambridge area, many of whom use the center's food pantry.

Two camp sessions will run for two weeks each, Mondays through Thursdays, for youths ages 8-17. Sessions will be divided between the YMCA at 625 Blackburn Road, where children will play games, sing songs, make crafts and swim, and the Center for Hope at 740 Park Road, Ambridge, where Y staff will lead children in afternoon games and activities.

The Center for Hope will provide lunch each day, and the Y will provide transportation.

The sessions will run June 17 to 27 and July 8 to 19 at a cost of $10 per family.

Karen Hallisey, the YMCA chief operating officer, visited the Center for Hope to see how the two facilities could work together, and this was the start of something exciting, said Sue Otto, Center for Hope co-director.

Partial funding for the program came from donations by Center for Hope board member Sylvia Dallas of Sewickley Heights and her husband, John Oliver, and Laughlin Memorial Inc.

Dallas, a former Y board member and elder at The Presbyterian Church, Sewickley, which also partners with Center for Hope, said donations from she and her husband will go toward busing children to the Y.

“Anything we can do to provide activities for kids out of school in the summer, when they don't have opportunities to do things, and to keep them busy is a worthy cause,” she said.

Todd Sacco, Laughlin Memorial Inc. trustee, said Laughlin also provided money for the buses.

Kelsey Rhea, Y communications coordinator, said the Center for Hope had an influx of children last summer who flocked there to escape the heat and get free lunches, and because they had nowhere else safe to go.

“The Sewickley Y saw this situation as an opportunity to help nurture the potential of these kids by offering them an enriching and fun opportunity for growth,” she said.

Otto said although children always have been welcome in the summer, this is the first time the center has participated in a summer camp program outside the area.

“This is an opportunity for our kids to get out of their community and socialize with other kids,” she said. “The Y realizes the center is a safe haven for these kids, and they care enough about their neighbors that they wanted to find a way to enhance it.”

Otto said the Y also is welcoming the older children, who have been offered leadership roles in the program.

“That might help our kids get jobs in the future. They can put that on their resume,” she said.

There are 30 spots per session, which will first be offered to children currently attending the center's after-school program, Rhea said.

The Center for Hope also will benefit from the Y's Good Deed of the Month program. The Y is collecting different items each month from June through August to help various nonprofits.

This month, the Y and the center are asking for donations of jelly. Otto said the center then can purchase the same amount of peanut butter and give both to the 200 families the center's food pantry serves. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be served at the center as well.

In July, back-to-school supplies can be dropped off at the Y, and in August utensils, plates and other paper products will be collected.

For more information about the camps, contact Dennis Pauley, youth and teen coordinator, at 412-741-9622, ext. 115.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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