Summer camp at Sampson Family YMCA in Plum continues
Alex Palumbi spent several summers as a child at the Sampson Family YMCA’s summer camp.
She played various games and made friends at the fitness and recreation facility at 2200 Golden Mile Highway in Plum.
This year, Palumbi and other counselors oversee the young campers enjoying those same experiences.
“I’ve always wanted to come here and help, especially since I used to be a camper here,” said Palumbi, 19, of Harrison City. “I just love working with kids. It’s going great so far. There have been little challenges here and there, but we have done well with it. (Camp) allows the kids to get their energy out, meet new friends and learn activities.”
Palumbi was a counselor in training the last two summers. She and leaders from other YMCA’s trained at Camp Kon-O-Kwee to become counselors. They exchange ideas for games and activities, learn various techniques to assist campers going through difficult situations, and become certified in CPR.
The YMCA camp runs Mondays through Fridays. It started June 10 and runs through Aug. 23.
Registration is still available. Families must be Sampson Family YMCA members to participate.
Camp is designed for children ages 5-14.
It costs about $200 per week for facility members and nearly $220 for program members.
Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There are extended hours from 6:45-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-6 p.m. to help working families.
There are new themes and special activities each week along with regularly scheduled swimming and games.
Several campers such as Nathan Storey, 8, of Monroeville said their favorite game is gaga ball, a variation of dodge ball that is played inside an octagon with a waist-high fence.
Players hit the ball at each other with their hands and are eliminated if it strikes them at the knee or below.
This is Nathan’s third summer at the camp and the second year for his sister, Devin , 6.
“It seems like they have nonstop things to do all day,” said their father, Jamie Storey. “They’re out here playing whatever they want to play. They come home completely worn out every day so I guess that’s a good thing. … They all have friends here, good counselors. Every day they come home they tell me they had fun.”
Michael Ginyard, 8, of New Kensington said he loves swimming and playing nine square, a modified version of volleyball. Players hit a ball in the air and they’re out of it lands in their square.
About 200 campers participate every week. They’re sometimes split into eight groups with two counselors per group. A nurse is on hand as well.
Philip Bender, 10, of Murrysville said he’s been at summer camp the past few years, and the people are what make it fun.
“I get to spend time with my friends,” he said. “The counselors are nice. … You can make friends. Kids are very welcoming to new campers.”
Other activities include soccer, arts and crafts, kickball and field trips to Keystone State Park and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Campers may learn a thing or two about STEM, science, technology, engineering and math, in between running around, hitting balls and swimming.
YMCA STEM leader Monica Sauk of Murrysville had children compete in Lego challenges, build water bottle volcanoes and build structures out of gumdrops and toothpicks. Those activities are indoors with air conditioning.
“It’s a nice place for them to come in cool off,” Sauk said. “Our kids need a break from all the physical activity, and we have some engineering-minded kids that really enjoy it.
“Kids are really into slime right now, and we have different slime recipes.”
Sauk said in previous years children had to sign up for STEM activities. Now, all campers take part.
More information about memberships and YMCA activities is available at pittsburghymca.org or call 724-327-4667.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .